Where Do You Start to Create a Well-Run Senior Living F&B Operation?


In today’s environment of rebuilding census, hiring and retaining the best people, cost cutting, and supply chain concerns (just to name a few), one of the things that our senior living leaders can often overlook is the need to build a strong foundation for their food and beverage operations. Often those who oversee the operation on a daily basis are so close to their business that they don’t see the opportunities for improvement – the proverbial “blinders”. Because of this, operations can get stagnant or even worse, begin to fall off.

So how do we counter this?

It all comes back to identifying the critical areas that need to be monitored, creating the expected standard and a process to maintain consistency and accountability. Here are five areas that every senior living leader can begin reviewing to assess their needs in creating a well-run F&B operation:

1) Resident/Guest Experience
Many senior living operators do resident satisfaction surveys on the overall resident experience within the community, but these are usually no more frequent than quarterly to avoid survey fatigue. This won’t work in a dining operation because you need instantaneous feedback to make adjustments and provide coaching. Maximize your dining committee to institute a resident driven survey system, and implement regular daily/weekly flash surveys.

2) Product Quality
We are focused on using resident feedback to improve our menus and our offerings. But another quick and easy way to ensure that we always have a quality product going out the door is to implement a line check process. We are often afraid to add paperwork and tasks to our daily operation to avoid bogging it down, but this one is a must. Make it a recordable process and make sure every employee knows how to do it.

3) Financial Performance
If you are reviewing the financials at the end of the month to see how your F&B operation did, it’s too late. While many operators don’t produce financial statements until the end of the operating month, food & beverage leaders have to have a system for managing their labor and food costs daily. Implementing a system or technology to assist with monitoring these areas will let you stay in front and make important financial decisions. Share these with your team to let them know where they can assist in keeping costs in line.

4) Staff Training & Development
Training and development is a key area for food & beverage managers to assess. Are required certifications up to date? Are your daily and weekly trainings being attended, especially if you do them on night and weekend shifts for part-time employees? Regularly assessing your training status, and adjusting your needs here, will help you stay in front of any quality or service issues.

5) Food Safety & Sanitation
Food safety and sanitation is an obvious and critical area of assessment. The key here is to conduct the walkthroughs regularly, but sporadically. Do your food safety audits at varying times of day, and on different days of the week. Doing this will allow you to find any area where staff are less attentive and will identify training needs. It will also help you better understand who your food safety champions are. These employees can take frontline ownership in ensuring that everyone knows and executes food safety as a regular part of their job.

The most important aspect of building a well-run operation is to have a quality management processes and mindset in place to hold everyone accountable for success and consistency.

Like these ideas? To learn more about how you can work towards a stronger foundation for your F&B operation, feel free to watch the recording of our webinar, “A Proactive Approach to Consistent Senior Living F&B Operations”.

Trestle Hospitality's Aaron Fish

Aaron Fish

Founder & CEO

Trestle Hospitality


Aaron Fish has nearly 30 years of hospitality industry experience, spending time in the industry with a singular focus on the customer experience. Having gained experience in some of the top hospitality organizations in the country, (such as such as Marriott Hotels, Aramark, and The Broadmoor Hotel to name a few) he brings a keen attention to building customer-focused operations to the senior living industry. From Dining Room Manager to Senior Vice President, Aaron has spent his career creating best-in-class experiences for the residents and guests he serves. He does this with an eye towards innovation in concept design, as well as implementing a combination of best practices, system development, and quality training for all levels throughout any organization.

Aaron holds a B.S. in Hospitality Management from Kansas State University and an MBA in Marketing from Baker University.

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