As director of Culinary and Nutrition Services at Hebrew Rehabilitation Center in Boston, I make it a priority to meet with residents, patients, employees and other customers face-to-face to gather feedback and comments on our culinary offerings and target areas that may need improvement. Frankly, in today's world of electronic communication I am somewhat old fashioned and find that personal connection with customers and employees has served me well over the years.
When I hear the phrase “it takes a village,” I immediately think of our team in Culinary and Nutrition Services. With more than 120 staff members on different shifts, we’re responsible for delivering delicious and nutritious meals day in and day out. On average we serve 40,000 meals every month.
We are evaluated by the plate of food that’s in front of every single person we serve, and we work to ensure that each resident’s meal is consistently served at the right temperature, texture and presentation. Just like every other service industry, our customers expect certain things when it comes to their dining experience.
We are a team that’s made up of staff that are very visible, from our food servers and cashiers, to those who carry out the behind the scenes work, like our team of dietitians, stockroom helpers, receiving personnel and dishwashers, to name a few. We all depend on one another to help ensure that the customer’s experience is a pleasant one.
Sometimes our team is faced with challenges along the way— late vendor deliveries, equipment failures and breakdowns, or being short staffed, but we always pull out all the stops to deliver meals that please and satisfy. How do we achieve our goals? Constant communication within the department, listening to our customers, and relying on our creativity are some of the ways we help give our customers the quality food they come to expect.
The next time you sit down to enjoy a meal that someone has prepared for you, think about all that goes into preparing it. From farm to table, we’re the “middle men.” Or as I like to say, “the many people beyond your own plate.”