Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

AUG 2019

Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazines is an industry resource connecting foodservice operators, equipment and supplies manufacturers and dealers, and facility design consultants.

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40 FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES AUGUST 2019 In every case, when acquiring an existing operation with limited or tra- ditional single-venue dining, Bobbitt says his team's rst goal is to nd ways to carve out underutilized spaces and create alternative venues, adding a small cafe, a grab-and-go operation or a coffee bar wherever possible. Watermark's growth more recently centers on new-build, upscale retire- ment and continuing care projects in which venue diversity is incorporated from the start. "We're getting ready to open a new community that will have ve dining venues, from a coffee bar to upscale private dining," Bobbitt says. "That level of diversity is a rst for us, but it's being incorporated into several of our new communities. We're doing it by downsizing, making the spaces more intimate and targeting them to a particular concept." No.2 e , ke e When River Landing began transitioning away from its traditional buffet-driven dining model, the culi- nary team introduced a small selection of a la carte options. Burdette says resident satisfaction quickly went up because residents were able to order what they wanted, how they wanted it. Since then, the culinary transforma- tion within the community has only accelerated. Core menus now change seasonally and daily; weekly specials highlight local ingredients and fresh- catch seafood. Indeed, fresh foods cooked to order are now par for the course in many modern senior living opera- tions as the pendulum swings away from institutional-style programs and instead toward chef-developed menus executed by well-trained culinary teams in kitchens designed for a la minute cooking. All of those things, after all, are what incoming residents enjoy in the broader market and what they expect to enjoy in these environments as well. "We no longer have menus with 30 to 40 items on it that cycle in and out and never change," says Watermark's Bobbitt. "Rather, we offer a combi- nation of seasonal items that rotate maybe quarterly as well as a diverse selection of nightly specials. And there are many, many opportunities for customization." Ader notes that while menus are changing most dramatically in the luxury end of senior living, traditional comfort foods continue to dominate in many mainstream operations. The difference now, he says, is a much stronger focus on culinary skills, fresh ingredients and restaurant-style, a la minute preparation. And whether high-end or mainstream, virtually every new-build facility now includes venues with exhibition cooking and A 2,500-square-foot garden at Hacienda at the River ensures a farm-to-table experi- ence, with residents helping to tend the garden. Photos courtesy of Watermark Retirement Communities Dining options at Hacienda at the River's skilled nursing facility include the full-service Clubroom (shown) and a patio courtyard cafe.

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