Senior Living Uncovered – Dining In at Senior Living Communities That Feels Like Dining Out.

Undoubtedly COVID-19 changed everything we know about the hospitality industry, job security and crafting safe environments. If 2020 has taught us anything it’s that the future is uncertain. The pandemic displaced thousands of hospitality professionals across hotels, cruise ships, corporate campuses, sports and entertainment sectors. What remains is an incredible opportunity to harness these universal skill sets and bring hospitality-first service, quality care and inspired culinary excellence to the emerging senior living dining industry.

Even though the times ahead remain uncertain, one thing remains clear about the future of the hospitality industry – aging Americans will create senior living growth and the need for congregate residential settings will remain robust into the long-term future. Senior Housing News reports the industry will need an additional 1 million units on top of the existing 1.5 million by 2040. Such projected growth calls for the next generation of hospitality professionals to step into the future of Senior Living.

Mike Ryan, Chef Manager at Bethesda Terrace joins Unidine from sports concessions and entertainment center foodservice. His transition was prompted by mass closures of large performance venues. Mike saw an opportunity to change his lifestyle for the benefit of his family by entering an industry with set scheduling, boasting a greater work-life balance. Mike explains “Since transitioning my quality of life has significantly increased. I’m home for dinner every night, versus my previous schedule that began at 6pm and ended at 1am.”

Mike beamed with pride when he detailed the almost immediate opportunity for advancement in his role with Unidine, exclaiming “I really feel like I’m excelling in this new role. I’ve been promoted twice since I started. Best of all — I’m allowed the leeway to own the role and excel here. This move has undoubtedly been a good decision for myself and my family.”

Mike previously served as an Executive Sous Chef, a role he felt stuck in after 5 years. Upon transitioning into Unidine Mike was given the opportunity almost immediately to step into a more senior role. He explains “At Bethesda and in Independent Living I really feel like I’m allowed to own each guest opportunity. Previously, I felt very topped out, it was disheartening at times. Whereas now, I have significantly more freedom and resources to craft a custom experience for the communities I touch. That level of responsibility is very special to me.”

One of the many benefits to the Senior Living industry, is the assurance in its growth trajectory. The Senior Living industry will remain essential for tens of years to come. Mike explains “It gives my family and I great peace of mind to know that if you’re passionate about serving others and committing to the role with care and diligence,   you will always be essential.”

What makes Senior Living unique in comparison to other hospitality sectors is the opportunity for engagement and connectivity directly with the communities you serve. Often our teams are able to get down on a ground level and witness first-hand the results of their efforts. Mike speaks to this unique attribute here “I absolutely love the level of feedback and engagement I have with residents. It’s so satisfying when they thank me personally for my hard work.”

Facilitating trust between teams and the organizations they serve is a key marker of success. The Senior Living industry facilitates the freedom to craft memorable experiences that make a difference, with the assurance of every tool and support system to get them there. Mike explains “I really appreciate that within Undine I’m trusted to give input. For example I just curated a Resident Appreciation dinner where I had complete creative freedom on the menu, yet I know that Unidine’s support system is always there with needed resources. Best of all outside of Bethesda I get to collaborate with my culinary colleagues on things like the next fall and winter menu development.”

Unidine is experiencing marked expansion in tandem with the overall industry’s growth under our reputation as a best-in-class dining partner. Interested in joining a hospitality industry with rapid growth, opportunity for advancement and life-enhancing service? Don’t have experience in senior living; don’t worry we’re always looking for the next generation of hospitality professionals to join our team and enliven our culture of service excellence. See our open roles here:

About Unidine: Unidine operates in over 400 facilities and is the leading provider of food and dining management services for discerning clients throughout the United States. Since its founding in 2001 by President and CEO Richard B. Schenkel, Unidine’s success derives from consistent execution in four key areas – and exclusive focus on food and dining management services, a commitment to seasonal, fresh-from-scratch cooking, exceptional customer service and a corporate culture enlivened by each team member’s passion for culinary and service excellence. Unidine’s network of dietitians and culinarians leverage the latest research to support cultural enrichment and wellness strategies for senior living communities, and also exceptional service for hospitals, behavioral health facilities and corporations.

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