Passion project

What I've learned about people in the industry.

In my two-plus years covering the non-commercial foodservice industry, I’ve learned a lot. But one of the great things I’ve learned is that the people who work in this field are, by and large, passionate people who love to share what they are doing to help others.

In my two-plus years covering the non-commercial foodservice industry, I’ve learned a lot. But one of the great things I’ve learned is that the people who work in this field are, by and large, passionate people who love to share what they are doing to help others.

Howard Rosenberg, executive director of food service at the 320-bed Sea Crest Health Care Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., is a great example of this. A couple of months ago, Howard invited me to tour his facility, which is one block away from the famed Coney Island Boardwalk.

I’m no stranger to nursing homes—my grandfather lived in one for seven years—but at Howard’s facility food is no longer an exercise in patience for both the residents and staff. At many nursing homes, my grandfather’s included, there are a handful of nurses who are trying to assist the entire dining room. After his stroke, my grandfather was one of the residents who needed help opening containers and cutting meat. When a family member was not there to assist, he had to wait for the nurses to make their way to his table to help him. Often, that meant that his food was cold and he no longer wanted to eat.

Howard saw this happening at his facility and made a change. In 2007, at his old location, Sans Souci Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Yonkers, N.Y., Howard implemented a new program called Independent Tray Service. The idea is simple: give residents packaging that they can open. All beverages are served in pre-portioned cups with a slot for a straw. Condiments are in pre-portioned soufflé cups. Bread is packaged in plastic bags with fold-over seals. When Howard moved to Sea Crest, he brought the program with him.

Howard says the change in mood in the dining room has been dramatic. He says residents can now enjoy their food without waiting for assistance. To demonstrate his point, Howard took me to meet a resident named Lee. Lee is 40 with cerebral palsy, which makes it virtually impossible for her to open up containers and packaging.

“Lee is very independent,” Howard says. “She won’t let the nurses help her with anything. You’ll see her in her wheelchair coming down the hall and she won’t let anyone push the wheelchair for her. But she couldn’t be independent at mealtimes and that bothered her.”

“It’s easier to do thing on my own,” Lee told me about the change since implementation of Independent Tray Service. “I don’t have to wait on the nurses to figure out that I need help.”

That story lights up Howard’s face. It’s not the first time he’s heard it, and I’m sure it won’t be the last time either. But you get the feeling watching Howard that it’s moments like these that are the reason he does what he does.

To learn more about the Independent Tray Service, watch a video here.

Keywords: 
menu development

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Hutchinson Middle School in Hutchinson, Minn., invited students to help serve lunch in an effort to encourage their peers to try new, healthy recipes, Hutchinson Leader reports.

The students, who are part of the school’s Students in Action Club, created posters to advertise the new meal and helped serve it to students during lunch.

The school’s kitchen manager, Janet Schmidt, said that around 37 more students than normal got in line to try the meal. The school plans to have students from the club help serve lunch once every month.

Read the full story via Hutchinson...

Industry News & Opinion

In an effort to trim costs, the country’s largest senior living company laid off 100 staff members, including regional dining services directors, reports Senior Housing News .

Not all employees who were laid off will technically leave the company, Senior Housing News notes, as some will be reassigned to alternative positions. Brookdale recently posted third-quarter earnings that fell short of analysts’ expectations and that the company’s CEO called disappointing.

At the end of last year, the Brentwood, Tenn.-based company employed 53,000 workers on a full-time basis, and...

Industry News & Opinion

After receiving mixed feedback from parents, Randolph County School District in Asheboro, N.C., is inviting parents to tour the district’s kitchens and cafeterias to see how the food for school meals is made, Fox 8 reports.

School officials say that the tours, part of the district’s first Food Day for Parents, will give parents an inside look at the upkeep of the facilities, as well as enable them to sample some food and see how the district is upholding USDA guidelines.

Officials also hope that the tours will provide them with more guidance on what parents and students are...

Industry News & Opinion

After fielding complaints from parents and students, Sodexo is launching an initiative to improve dining services at Emerson College in Boston, the Berkeley Beacon reports.

The initiative will kick off this month with an event dubbed Fresh Start, marking the start of several moves aimed at improving service—including the hiring of a new executive chef, the addition of a second sous chef, and retraining current staff on food preparation and presentation.

Members of the Emerson community will also be able to share feedback through the introduction of monthly forums, as well...

FSD Resources