Supporting Community Philanthropy with Locally Grown Ingredients

Cura is proud to support the philanthropy of its communities, including The Sisters of St. Joseph at Baden, PA,  Faith, Field, and Feast on Saturday, September 18, 2021.  This annual evening of farm-fresh foods is sponsored and prepared by Cura.  The event proceeds to the Sisters’ community gardens, apiary, and henhouse, as well as our Sister St. Mark Garden Fund partners which donate to many of the area’s food banks.

Ingredients were procured locally, or straight from the sisters’ gardens!

A delicious smoked brisket of beef with a honey bbq sauce drizzle was one of the main courses. The meat was procured from Milk House Meats, a local butcher in Beaver Falls, PA. The honey used was sourced from Sister Lyn Szymkiewicz’s beehive!  Guests could also select from a grilled marinated pork tenderloin (Milk House Meats) with fresh apple chutney made from apples freshly picked from the property’s orchard!   A pan-seared duck breast with orange pan sauce, asparagus, and leek risotto was also served.  Fingerling potatoes and julienne vegetables accompanied these delicious menu items!

Another garden-fresh selection was a crisp arugula salad with red beets, tomatoes, and fresh herbs – homegrown in the Mother House Twin Trinity Garden.  You can’t get any more local than this!

Thank you to the following Cura team members who helped to create a perfect evening for all to enjoy a locally-sourced feast: Fred Blosat, food service director, Sisters of St. Joseph at Baden; Dennis Rivera, regional culinary chef; Jon Norris, district manager, Nettie Albohali, general manager at Indiana Regional Medical Center, Indiana, PA: Bill Delasandro, district manager; Kristy Sales, chef manager; and Nathan Cumberland and Michelle Luniewski, dining room servers.

Chefs Create Cultural Dishes

Today’s senior living and acute care chefs rival some of the top chefs in the country – and many are team members at Cura!

Regional Chef Dennis Rivera recently created a Mediterranean stew with coconut cornbread which was offered as a dinner special, a “sell-out,” to residents at Phoebe Berks in Wernersville, PA.  Chef Dennis is inspired by recipes he brings back from his trips to Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. Chef enjoys introducing culturally-inspired foods to the residents he serves!  And they certainly love it!

Chef Dennis also created a seared quinoa-black bean cake served with a sweet corn relish seen here.

At Urbana Place Senior Living in Brooklyn Park, MN, Food Service Director Levi Ellingson and his culinary team held an “Arm Chair Travel” event where residents explore different cultures from the comfort of their chairs!

September’s focus on Brazil featured Brazilian coffee, peanuts, and Brazilian kebobs with steak, sausage, and a variety of peppers with fresh pineapple on a bamboo skewer. The residents really enjoyed the event and said the kebobs were the best they ever tasted!

Chefs from Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America (PMMA) prepared special meals during a grand opening celebration at Aberdeen Heights in Kirkwood, MO.
A Brazilian-themed event featured an authentic menu…marinated flank steak with chimichurri, glazed salmon, Brazilian vegetable stew, and a delicious assortment of cheeses! More special events and grand opening celebrations to come from these new and vibrant communities we are proudly serving in Kansas and Missouri!

Hospital Administrators Partner with Cura: Acute Care FoodService Provider of Choice

 

Today’s hospital administrators recognize that food service is not their core competency.    Relying on the experts gives administrators the ability, and more time, to focus on their core business. 

Cura is proud to be that expert, and one that top healthcare networks select as the acute care foodservice contractor of choice to support their goals, while increasing patient experience outcomes!

COMPLETELY SATISFIED DRIVES PATIENT OUTCOMES

Cura delivers high-quality food and nutritional services through Completely Satisfied, its signature patient-centered care program where team members are visible and focused on each patient’s specific health and dietary needs, as well as their unique preferences.   This Patient Experience approach improves patient satisfaction outcomes, including increasing hospitals’ high-ranking Press Ganey scores, the most recognized national patient-experience measurement metric.

“It’s so much more than the food on the plate.  To be successful, hospitals need targeted services that understand the preferences and expectations of their specific patient population to drive outcomes.  In a Cura-managed location, our team includes someone specifically to focus on that.  The returns are far and away worth the time investment,” says TJ Alibrio, Managing Director of Growth.

Additionally, Cura uses the Studer Group principal for communication, AIDET (Acknowledge, Introduce, Duration, Explanation, Thank You), which complements the AHNCARES model (Communicate, Acknowledge, Respond, Empathize, Solve). Using this type of communication tool enhances patient safety, mitigates patient fears, and improves the patient’s overall experience.

A PARTNERSHIP APPROACH

Cura’s partnership-focused approach has also resulted in leading patient satisfaction ratings for many of its clients, including the Allegheny Health Network (AHN), the Washington Health Network and St. Clair Health.  Cura aligns its Completely Satisfied Patient Experience Model with the goals of our hospitals, including AHN’s Operations Excellence Program.

 “Cura was selected by our organization because of its impressive track record of providing exceptional food and nutrition services in health care settings. The Cura team understands the preferences and expectations of our patients, staff, and guests – both in terms of nutrition and hospitable service, and their commitment to those values is critical to driving the highest levels of comfort and satisfaction among those we care for,” says Eugene Scioscia, MD, Allegheny Health Network’s Chief Patient Experience Officer.

Cura’s care for patients and guests has also been recognized by AHN’s RAVE, the “Recognized and Acknowledge Valued Employees” award. Cura’s team members were among the first non-AHN employees to receive the prestigious award that honors employees who provide exemplary care or service to a patient, a patient’s relative, friend, or fellow employee.   

HEALTH AND WELLNESS

Cura is selected for its reputation in preparing fresh, healthy food and high-quality service. As one of the first healthcare food service providers in the U.S. to eliminate trans-fatty acids from its menus, Cura’s executive chefs strive to prepare the healthiest dining options possible. Cura teams also make substantial commitments to promoting healthier lifestyles through BeWell, a platform designed to educate and help guests make eating healthy the easy choice when they dine with Cura.

Cura’s team members also partner with the nursing staff to uplift patient spirits through quality food and personal service, while instilling feelings of community and contentment, which is vital for well-being. Keeping the patient properly nourished helps facilitate the healing process. We want to create a memorable dining experience for all patients!

“We liked the opportunity to partner with a local organization that has a strong passion for food and people. Their great reputation for high-quality food, patient satisfaction, and service complements our vision to be the regional health care system of choice for patients, physicians, and employees in Washington, PA, and surrounding counties,” says Brook Ward, Washington Hospital President and CEO.

HOSPITAL EFFICIENCIES

Back-of-the-house efficiencies also drive patient outcomes. For example, patient satisfaction surveys have always ranked St. Clair Health’s team members, under the management of Cura, with excellent customer service.  But a new way of serving food enhances the patient experience at St. Clair Hospital in Pittsburgh, PA, where the team successfully transitioned from a traditional tray line to a POD system.

Pods are self-contained multiple serving units that deconstruct the traditional tray line into several smaller units.  A dedicated team member works at each pod assembling trays for specific hospital units or floors.  “The pods give our concierges ownership and responsibility for their trays, improving the delivery of food to patients and enhancing the overall patient experience!  The staff has embraced and loves the new system,” says Emily Guidash, MS, RDN, LDN, general manager of dining.

RETAIL EXPERIENCE

Cura consults on many café designs to reflect current restaurant and culinary trends.  Most recently the Cura team was honored to lend their experience to the café located in AHN’s new Wexford Hospital.  Cura’s experience in operating onsite restaurants and knowledge of industry food trends shapes this new café into a destination eatery!

The cafe is also open to the Wexford Health and Wellness Pavilion where patients and staff can enjoy the Fifth Avenue Deli serving Boar’s Head delicatessen style meats, cheeses, and condiments, the City Grill, and Spoon and Fork.  The Chef’s Palate action station will also host local and ethnic chefs from around town who entertain our guests with live cooking demonstrations, bringing culturally inspired foods to the table.

RESPONDING TO COVID-19

As the pandemic continues to increase food safety, Cura supports its hospital clients with its own Covid-19 re-opening playbook, a guide detailing enhanced health and safety protocols amid new safety guidance from national health authorities. Everything, from implementing enhanced hygiene to safeguarding employees, staff, patients and guests, is addressed within in the guide.

Creating a safe haven in all Cura-managed cafes is essential to health providers and staff. To help ease the strain that medical providers are under due to the pandemic, Cura teams repurposed cafeterias into pop-up grocery markets to support their nutritional needs, providing a convenient food shopping experience for them.

Cura’s pop-up grocery stores were extremely popular at Punxsutawney Area Hospital‘s café in Punxsutawney, PA, and Indiana Regional Medical Center in Indiana, PA, where the teams had stocked both cafés with much-needed grocery and other essential staples!  These mini store helps to decrease the number of times hospital employees go into a public area for only one or two grocery items.

Katie Donald, recruitment/public relations specialist, pointed out that in the hospital’s current operating model, some employees find themselves doing things outside of their usual job descriptions. She added that with this being outside what is normally asked of the foodservice department, their efforts do not go unnoticed, as there is a great appreciation for creating this option!

At Marion General Hospital in Marion, IN, sales soared at their grocery market which supported healthcare workers with an abundance of “at cost” offerings including fresh fruit, vegetables, and meats; dairy, pasta, sauces, soups, cereals & assorted dry goods!  In just three weeks, sales topped $10,000!  Marion expanded using its mobile POS system to offer the market to the other Marion General Hospital satellite locations.  Customers will fax in their orders and the team will package for them in advance.  What’s convenient about the “Drive-Up, Pick Up” system is that healthcare employees will select the time for “pick up”, slide their badge for payment, while the team loads their orders in their vehicles!

This commitment to hospitality, as well as dining and nutrition excellence, helps identify Cura Hospitality as an organically strategic partner for many healthcare networks and community hospitals!

Cura at Wexford Hospital Opens, Partners with North Hills Community

Cura’s culinary team celebrated the grand opening at Allegheny Health Network’s Wexford Hospital, a new construction, in the heart of Wexford, PA!  Cura began a seamless transition process earlier this year, where management teams worked collaboratively to reopen multiple dining venues across the AHN network!

At Wexford, our team ensures the highest food quality, service, and care to patients, staff, and guests with a brand-new cafe.. and new Chef Chris Culp who hails from the culinary staff of the National Hockey League’s Pittsburgh Penguins!

According to Jennifer Riley, Cura food service director at Wexford, “Chef Chris brings a unique experience as he prepared culturally diverse foods for players from around the globe like Russia, Finland, the Czech Republic, and Canada!”

The cafe is also open to the Wexford Health and Wellness Pavillion where patients and staff can enjoy Fifth Avenue Deli serving Boar’s Head delicatessen style meats, cheeses, and condiments, the City Grill, and Spoon and Fork. Sales soared during the first week, surpassing initial expectations!

The Chef’s Palette action station will also host local and ethnic chefs from around town bringing culturally inspired foods to the table.  AHN staff and guests recently enjoyed Indian foods including rice bowls such as bulgogi beef, butter chicken, curry vegetables, and vegetable samosas. Ingredients were sourced from Monsoon Kitchen and their corporate Chef Srini.

Another presentation was offered by food broker Mandi Foods representative who conducted a live sushi burrito presentation featuring wild-caught ahi tuna seared “Pittsburgh Rare” and stuffed with sushi rice, sweet chili sauce, cucumber sticks, julienne carrots, avocado, fried onions, nori, and shredded red cabbage with sriracha aioli!

For those looking for lunch on the run, Cura’s Tryon Market offers robust grab-and-go options including freshly made sandwiches and salads, fruit cups, Boars Head products (pepperoni & cheese, hummus & pretzels, hummus tubs), Panera soup cups, and mac & cheese cups, Hisui Sushi and yogurt.

Partnering initiatives with local favorites like Enrico’s delicious biscotti and Sarris Candies chocolate-covered pretzels and candy bars will be tempting for all!   The team will also partner with Shenot Farms and Soergels Produce so staff and guests can purchase fresh and seasonal produce from the cafe!

“The new hospital was much needed for the North Hills community. We are happy to provide our dining services and to give back to the community by inviting vendors to showcase their talents and products in the cafe.  They really like this idea and have jumped on as partners,” says Ms. Riley.

Moms in labor and delivery will be “Completely Satisfied” with a spoken menu, will be treated to a special meal during their stay, as well as a convenient to-go pizza kit for mom’s first night home!

More excitement to come from this terrific team!

Outdoor Dining Keep Residents Safe, Socially Engaged

As summer weather continues, the team at Summerville at Presbyterian Communities of South Carolina supports Chef Eileen’s al fresco grill nights on the Village Cafe patio for residents, family & friends!  These weekly events keep residents safe and socially engaged for only $9.50 per person while pandemic restrictions prevent indoor dining!

Check out a recent menu: Grilled ribeye steak with shitake mushroom and onions, tequila lime marinated Pork tenderloin with sweet and sour slaw, roasted sweet potatoes and root vegetable medley cranberry maple roasted brussels sprouts. And for dessert – tempting grilled pound cake with lemon berry cream!

Chef Eileen is always innovating for her residents.  Her show, Cooking with Eileen, is widely popular with the community!  The show features Elieen and her team conducting live culinary demos featuring healthy, fun, and easy-to-prepare food that are streamed to resident apartments!   From creating the best-tasting tuna avocado salad in Summerville, a make-your-own mug cake, to a traveling cook-out where Eileen and team drove their grill on a flatbed throughout campus, Cooking with Eileen is a showstopper!

The culinary team at Presbyterian Senior Living’s St. Andrews Village in Indiana, PA, also gave healthcare and personal care residents a sense of home!  Thank you to Sohel Ahmed and Tiffiany Davis who grilled all the traditional favorites, including complimentary meals “to order” for all staff to enjoy on Labor Day!

Student Team Members Build Careers with Cura!

Student Workers Build Healthcare and Hospitality with Cura

The hospitality industry is larger than one might think and sits within the wider service sector.  Food service management companies like Cura are competing for the same talent in restaurants, hotels, catering…basically any business that has customer satisfaction as one of its core functions.

It’s a challenging time within a tight labor market, but Cura’s recruiting efforts continue to be strong, especially with high school and college team members who are able to successfully serve our residents, patients, and guests.  At the same time, these young adults discover and gain experience in rewarding careers both in healthcare and hospitality!

According to Cura Managing Director of Growth TJ Alibrio, we are proud of our student workforce, many of whom are studying healthcare in college and applying what they learn on the job or are in high school and exploring their interest in healthcare or hospitality careers.  Healthcare dining services are a great starting point to discover their passion.  “It’s a win-win for us, as we are able to provide a work experience that supports their healthcare areas of study, while we recruit and potentially retain these individuals who may consider senior living careers with Cura!”

JILL COTTRELL, Woodbury Senior Living, Woodbury, Minnesota

Jill Cottrell, a recent high school graduate, and Cura nurses’ aide, was recently selected as the recipient of Care Providers of Minnesota’s Rising Stars!  

Jill discovered her love in caring for the elderly as a high school sophomore while working with our Cura team as a dining room server.  Now a caregiver, Jill has served the residents at Woodbury Senior Living in Woodbury, Minnesota for the past two years!

During a peek in COVID cases, Jill helped to transport COVID-positive residents to the community’s COVID units.  Jill does not turn away from discomfort and suffering.  Her strength is compassion for others, figuring out ways to connect with all residents – whether it’s playing the ukulele for residents or performing a wheelchair dance, she attempts to halt the terrible effects of isolation. Residents are always delighted, smiling, clapping, and happy to retire to their rooms.   Now seeking a degree in business administration with an emphasis in healthcare administration, Jill’s goal is to make a difference in Senior Living and enhance the residents’ experience.

 

LAURA BEECHER, Birchwood Senior Living, Forest Lake, Minnesota

Laura Beecher owes a lot of her success to Cura Hospitality, a company she states is an ‘awesome place to work.’   Laura shares her story here…

“I was working as a part-time evening dietary aide at Birchwood Senior Living in Forest Lake, Minnesota, out of high school while I was taking college courses.  As new positions opened within the Birchwod Senior Living community, I applied for them.  As a company that promotes from within, I soon became the receptionist, then a scheduling coordinator, and next human resources intern.  I eventually accepted a job within Birchwood Senior Living at our corporate office as the human resources assistant.  Once I gained all the knowledge and skills I could, I was promoted to manager back at my home location, Birchwood.

“I’m fortunate I started working at Birchwood early on because of the connections I’ve made along the way, and I still tell people to this day, my favorite job I’ve ever had was working in the kitchen at Birchwood!”

At Phoebe Berks in Wernersville, PA, Cura employed dedicated student workers like Alyssa Dzurkovich, 19, a server and dietary aide for the past two and a half years.  Alyssa is one of 19 high school student servers from Conrad Weiser and Wilson High Schools who during the COVID shutdown, were employed to assemble 1,000 meals, prepared fresh, and delivered to resident doorsteps daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Alyssa and other student dining workers continue to make a difference in the lives of the residents, helping them to remain positive and giving them cheer during this challenging time. They are drawing pictures on take-out containers and sending messages of love and “miss you” to the residents.

Although staples and other grocery items are available for purchase through dining, student workers even fulfilled the grocery lists of 90 residents shopping for specialty food items at the local Redner’s.

“The residents are very sweet people.  They thank us by writing us notes or messaging backSeeing their positive faces makes me feel good,” says Alyssa.  “Having touched the lives of so many who need so much help during a crisis of unprecedented proportions, I’m leaning toward some type of social work.”

After 15 long months, residents at Presbyterian SeniorCare’s Longwood at Oakmont in Verona, PA, were thrilled to finally be able to dine “in person”.

According to Mary Kay Grippa, Cura general manager of dining, the pandemic was challenging for the staff who prepared and delivered 100 boxed lunches and 300 dinners daily to five neighborhoods spreading across the 60-acre campus.  “We were fortunate to employ many college students who were able to work because they were learning remotely.”  Of the 134 hourly staff members, 65% are college students who are majoring in nursing and healthcare from schools like the University of Pittsburgh, Duquesne University, Penn State University, and Clarion University.  Ms. Grippa even employs a nursing home administration major who enjoys working with residents in the memory support neighborhood.

Though residents were excited to come in the dining room, they were especially happy to see and visit with our student workers like Leah Ford, Syracuse University student, and Carly Glover, The University of Pittsburgh student (pictured here)

Waste Nothing Approach Helps Cura Chefs Cut Waste; Inspires Creative Recipes!

 

Each day in the United States approximately one pound of food per person is wasted. This equates to 103 million tons (81.4 billion pounds) of food waste generated in America in 2017, or between 30-40 percent of the food supply, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Food waste is a global challenge and as an organization that is all about food, we believe it is our responsibility to work towards positive change.

So, what can food service management companies like Elior North America and its member brands like Cura do to help?

Elior North America adopted a ‘Waste Nothing’ approach to help our kitchens become aware of the food waste they produce and then work to reduce, rescue, and redirect it from the landfill.

We start in our kitchens where pre-consumer waste including overproduction, trim waste, expiration, and dropped items, to name a few, can be reduced.  This also applies to our dining areas, where operators can better manage waste on the salad bars, steam wells, self-serve deli stations, and misordered products.   Post-consumer food waste can also be reduced through smaller portions, going trayless and promoting awareness programs to our residents and guests.

‘Waste Nothing’ tools are also offered to our teams to help them get started.  First, our locations register on the ‘Waste Nothing’ site.  This helps operators to identify action plans and optimize the success rate of the location’s waste tracking. Operators can purchase waste bins designated to dispose of all food production waste.  At the end of each day, before teams dispose of their food waste, the amounts are measured in quarts. Food waste is logged each business day and kept at the dining station in a safe place in order to use the following day. It’s that easy!

As hard as we may try to reduce and rescue, there will be some food waste our kitchens just can’t avoid. Here’s what our teams are doing to save waste from our landfills:

COMPOSTING:  To further enhance sustainable efforts, vegetable waste and wood material (cardboard, leaves and woodchips) are composted on-site and returned back to the gardens for natural fertilization. If onsite composting is not an option, we encourage our teams to contribute to local composting efforts.

FEED HUNGRY PEOPLE: Food banks take non-perishable foods, but some prepared and perishable foods are donated in your community.   Cura chefs take it one step further by donating their time and resources to community gardens whose clients are food insecure.

OUTSOURCE TO RECYCLE.   Cura may work with disposal services that, for example, recycle fryer grease in a safe and environmentally sound manner.

FEEDING ANIMALS:  With proper handling, food scraps may also be eligible for donation to feed animals.

A clever “Rescue Recipe” contest was also launched to get our teams excited about ‘Waste Nothing’.  This friendly competition not only inspires Cura’s chefs to cut waste, but it also promotes creativity, transforming perfectly good ingredients into new and delicious recipes that are added to our menus!

Read more about Cura’s Chefs in FoodService Director Magazine here!

 

Cura’s Enhanced Safety Practices

 

Cura Celebrates National Safety Month

As Cura teams begin to reopen hospital and senior living cafes and dining rooms, our operators continue to keep our residents, patients, and guests safe!

During June’s National Safety Month, Cura, a senior living and acute care dining specialist, was one of the first food service contractors to step up with a fully developed COVID-19 playbook and video training series to educate all staff.  According to Cura’s Executive Safety Sponsor Michelle Doleniak (MA, RD, LDN), many of the changes we have made to our foodservice operations will continue, and be adopted as the new “normal.”

For example, seating arrangements in the dining areas changed in conjunction with the social distancing guidelines.  “Although we have lifted restrictions on the number of guests that can sit in the dining areas, other safety steps continue to be followed including the installation of plexiglass barriers at cash register stations, the removal of salad bars, and eliminating self-service stations,” she says.

Cura repurposed these “help yourself” stations by pre-portioning and pre-packaging to-go containers with salad leaf base, smaller ramekins of toppings, from diced grilled chicken to fresh veggies and beans. These areas are frequently wiped down. So, guests are making their own salad, just in a slightly different way.  “It still has the appearance of the salad bar, but it’s safer,” Ms. Doleniak says.

In other Cura-managed cafes, made-to-order salad bars are staffed with servers who stand behind a salad bar line (and plexiglass barriers) with silver bowls, ready to mix individual salads, all of which are visible—at a distance—to the customer.  Chefs have even developed planograms for staff, so if a customer selects a composed salad, all the components are easily tossed together in the right portions. This allows for a level of customization—and conversation—that corresponds with the comfort level and safety of each customer.

The expansion of grab-and-go programs, like Cura’s Heat at Home, continues to be a popular alternative for those who prefer to dine in the comfort and safety of their homes. Packages are labeled with reheating and food storage instructions to keep consumers safe.

Cura also alerts consumers to what food should be refrigerated or kept frozen; keeps food temperature logs; and has proper hot and cold holding equipment to transport food and keep at the appropriate temperature out of the temperature danger zone.

In addition to delivering a safe dining services experience, Ms. Doleniak talks us through Cura’s rigorous cleaning and sanitation protocol that meet regulatory guidelines and prevent cross-contamination and foodborne illnesses.  “We partner with Ecolab for approved cleaning processes by location.  We also have a strategy for more frequent cleaning, and ensure we are using the appropriate and “safe” cleaning chemicals that meet the CDC guidelines.”

At press time, Cura is celebrating many of its successful re-openings safely!   Enjoy a 15-month journey from a Cura-managed community.  The team’s spirit was never diminished during COVID.  In fact, they came together and rallied when their residents needed them most!

After 15 long months, residents at Presbyterian SeniorCare’s Longwood at Oakmont in Verona, PA, were thrilled to finally be able to dine “in person”.

According to Mary Kay Grippa, general manager of dining, the pandemic was challenging for the staff who prepared and delivered 100 boxed lunches and 300 dinners daily to five neighborhoods spreading across the 60-acre campus.  “We were fortunate to employ many college students who were able to work because they were learning remotely.”  Of the 134 hourly staff members, 65% are college students who are majoring in nursing and healthcare from schools like Pitt, Duquesne, Penn State, and Clarion.  Ms. Grippa even employs a nursing home administration major who enjoys working with residents in the memory support neighborhood.

Reopening dining also presented its obstacles. The goal was to eliminate high-touch areas, such as the salad bar and beverage station.  The scatter system food configuration lends to further eliminate the need to touch anything.  Residents can visit the station of their choice and verbally make their selection to the dining server.

During the reopening celebration, residents could visit all stations that offered fresh-dough Margarita pizza, made from scratch andouille and corn chowder soups, and design their own deli.

Residents also enjoyed a summer salmon and berry salad with a lemon vinaigrette.  The most popular was the action station where Executive Chef Ryle David prepared a Mediterranean chicken and pasta, and grilled favorites to order!

The Perked Coffee bar and barista is also open energizing residents with freshly brewed coffee, espresso, cappuccino, chai, lattes, smoothies, and milkshakes. 

Though residents were excited to come in the dining room, they were especially happy to see and visit with our student workers who are applying what they learn in school,” she says.

Dining team members were equally excited to serve their residents in person.  “Just talking to residents face to face was awesome.  I also had the pleasure of introducing myself to new residents, who never experienced anything but a food delivery due to the pandemic.  I walked them through the dining room and our concepts.  Speaking with residents and making a connection with people – good or bad – I want to hear from them.   It’s how we learn to enhance services to residents.  This is why I got into this business,” Ms. Grippa says.

 

Nanticoke Promos Increase Sales by 20%

No need for a tropical vacation, just visit the café at TidalHealth’s Nanticoke Memorial Hospital in Seaford, Delaware for island fun where the team recently treated staff with a luau party to celebrate Memorial Weekend!  The team holds these extravagantly planned and executed themed events which helps to increase sales by 20% on “payday” Thursday before any holiday,  enticing those to splurge on delicious eats at the cafe!

According to Tanyell Moore, general manager of dining, the island theme was also the first special event in celebration of the cafe’s reopening!  “We wanted to go all out, so the team came up with creative ideas like a tiki bar, a corn hole toss to win a free cup of coffee, and a tropical-inspired menu!”  Customers enjoyed crab cakes with homemade coleslaw at the Bravo Station, grilled corn dogs, funnel cake fries, boardwalk fries, hand-breaded coconut chicken tenders with Pina Collada sauce, homemade pineapple upsidedown cake, and bread pudding!

“The promotion was successful as staff definitely want to come in, sit and spend more time in the café.  They also participated in the games, enjoyed the decor designed by staff,  and island music,” says Ms. Moore.

Past events celebrated Asian foods where customers enjoyed a hibachi bar with squash, chicken, beef, and fresh veggies.  The hot line served potstickers and spring rolls.

For the July 4th holiday, dining will host a Hollywood theme where the cafe will be transformed into a 50’s drive-in theatre.  Shakes, burgers, popcorn baskets, and signage from the movie Grease will take guests back to sock hops, retro diner decor, and food!

“The goal is to consistently offer something new and unique for the customers to keep them engaged and excited about dining!” she says.  The dining team also accommodates third-shift employees during special events.  “We package meals to go for them so they feel like they’re a part of the festivities.”

Longwood Reopens after 15 Months; Residents Excited to Dine in Person

“Pictured: Welcoming residents back are Leah Ford, Syracuse University student and Carly Glover, University of Pittsburgh student.”

After 15 long months, residents at Presbyterian SeniorCare’s Longwood at Oakmont in Verona, PA, were thrilled to finally be able to dine “in person”.

According to Mary Kay Grippa, general manager of dining, the pandemic was challenging for the staff who prepared and delivered 100 boxed lunches and 300 dinners daily to five neighborhoods spreading across the 60-acre campus.  “We were fortunate to employ many college students who were able to work because they were learning remotely.”  Of the 134 hourly staff members, 65% are college students who are majoring in nursing and healthcare from schools like Pitt, Duquesne, Penn State, and Clarion.  Ms. Grippa even employs a nursing home administration major who enjoys working with residents in the memory support neighborhood.

Reopening dining also presented its obstacles. The goal was to eliminate high-touch areas, such as the salad bar and beverage station.  The scatter system food configuration lends to further eliminate the need to touch anything.  Residents are able to visit the station of their choice and verbally make their selection to the dining server.

During the reopening celebration, residents could visit all stations that offered fresh-dough Margarita pizza, made from scratch andouille and corn chowder soups, and design your own deli.

Residents also enjoyed a summer salmon and berry salad with a lemon vinaigrette.  The most popular was the action station where Executive Chef Ryle David prepared a Mediterranean chicken and pasta, and grilled favorites to order!

The Perked Coffee bar and barista is also open energizing residents with freshly brewed coffee, espresso, cappuccino, chai, lattes, smoothies, and milkshakes.  Guests and residents can also enjoy breakfast sandwiches, bagels, English muffins, pastries, fruit, yogurt, and parfaits.

Though residents were excited to come in the dining room, they were especially happy to see and visit with our student workers who are applying what they learn in school,” she says.

Dining team members were equally excited to serve their residents in person.  “Just talking to residents face to face was awesome.  I also had the pleasure of introducing myself to new residents, who never experienced anything but a food delivery due to the pandemic.  I walked them through the dining room and our concepts.  Speaking with residents and making a connection with people – good or bad – I want to hear from them.   It’s how we learn to enhance services to residents.  This is why I got into this business,” Ms. Grippa says.