A Generous Serving of Fun

Theme buffets and puzzles add spice at one retirement community.

FoodService Director, Ridgecrest Restaurant, Riverwoods Campus, theme buffets, menu word searchesLEWISBURG, Pa.—At the Ridgecrest Restaurant at 430-resident Riverwoods Campus, a senior living community in Northeast Pennsylvania, several initiatives have been implemented to bring a little excitement to the dining experience. Under the direction of Gary Verruni, general manager at this Metz & Associates account, residents have grown fond of new elaborate theme buffets and menu word searches.

“We wanted to add a little excitement to dining for our residents,” Verruni said. “So we started running a lunch buffet every Wednesday in our café. The menu varies from week to week. We’ll do a tailgate party, a taco bar, a breakfast-for-lunch buffet, a pizza buffet or a 24-foot Italian sub buffet. We’ve also done a polar bear picnic, where we set up our outside barbeque grill in front of the café windows and grilled in the middle of winter.”

Verruni said one of the most popular buffets is the prime rib and seafood buffet, which is done the second Friday of each month. The buffets have proven to be so popular, that Verruni has expanded the program to Friday buffets several times a month and Sunday brunch. Menu items for the prime rib and seafood buffet include barbeque baby back ribs, seafood alfredo with clams and shrimp, southern fried chicken and cornbread, garlic mashed potatoes and oysters shucked to order. He adds that participation is higher on Wednesdays because of the buffets and the excitement they bring. “It’s not the same old thing,” Verruni said. “And it’s not the typical soup and salad bar, so residents really feel like it is something special.”

FoodService Director, Ridgecrest Restaurant, Riverwoods Campus, theme buffets, menu word searchesThe Wednesday lunch buffets, now in their fourth year, are $5.95 and, according to Verruni, have become a great selling point when giving tours to potential residents. 

Another way Verruni and his staff add a little something extra to resident dining is by creating menu word searches. Verruni creates word searches, which are also done on Wednesdays, by taking the day’s menu items and hiding them in the word search. Another variation has been to put the foodservice staff’s names in the puzzle. Residents submit completed puzzles and five are selected at random. Those five people win a free lunch buffet the next Wednesday.
 

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion
nacufs award

Ohio University Director of Culinary Services Rich Neumann was on Wednesday evening awarded NACUFS’ 49th annual Theodore W. Minah Distinguished Service Award, the association’s highest honor.

Neumann’s foodservice career began as an undergraduate at University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point. After his first day as a student cook, he says, his production manager wanted to fire him because he was striving for perfection, not—as she put it—“now and fast.” But he kept with it, eventually moving up to student manager. “If I had quit, I would not be here today,” he says.

During...

Sponsored Content
iced coffee foodservice

From International Delight ® Iced Coffee and STOK Cold Brew.

As temperatures soar, consumers look for any way they can to cool down. Much of the time, that means sipping on a cold beverage. And for the many patrons looking for a pick-me-up, iced coffee is a go-to choice, as it wakes them up and cools them down.

It’s no surprise, then, that iced coffee is a growing opportunity for operators. In Technomic’s 2016 Beverage Consumer Trend Report, 59% of consumers say they ordered iced coffee at least once in the past month from foodservice locations. With demand continuing to...

Industry News & Opinion

Oxnard Union High School District in Oxnard, Calif., is ending its meatless Mondays initiative due to cost and a lack of participation, the Camarillo Acorn reports.

Meatless Monday , which was offered on Fridays during the most recent school year, was the least popular lunch day during the week, according to school officials. The district hopes that the menu change will encourage more students to purchase school meals and help eliminate the $2 million deficit in its nutrition budget.

While 61% of students in the district qualify for free meals, only around half eat at the...

Ideas and Innovation
hc dining large

When students at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia return from summer break in August, they will be greeted with a revamped dining option located in the university’s Hill College House. Along with having air conditioning for the first time ever, the updated 300-seat eatery will include expanded hours, flexible menu offerings and a new method of managing waste. Here’s an inside look.

Expanded options

Hill House’s new dining hall will feature several self-contained stations, including a Mongolian grill, a pizza and pasta concept called The Grotto, a chefs’ table, a...

FSD Resources