Fast-casual restaurants are flaming hot. In fact, the NPD group forecasts that fast-casuals are among the few dining styles that will see significant growth in the coming year. Baby Boomers are looking for dining experiences that mirror those they had prior to moving into senior living communities, leading more communities to adopt this format. Made-to-order stations in dining rooms and cafés, open kitchen concepts that closely resemble popular fast-casual restaurants, and more grab-and-go and heat-and-eat menu items that seniors can consume at their leisure are just some of the innovative offerings. One community in Colorado recently unveiled a casual café concept that features digital menu boards and an exhibition-style kitchen that evoke an authentic fast-casual feel.
Modern seniors enjoy the autonomy that comes with choosing what they eat and when. Expand your offerings by placing ready-to-eat or heat-and-eat meals in a grab-and-go area or in-house C-store. Start small with soups, pasta dinners and pre-made hot or cold salads for two that seniors, their families and friends can enjoy together during a visit.
Implement simple technology where possible to give your dining room or in-house restaurant a fast-casual feel. Digital menu boards, tabletop tablets and easy-to-use kiosks are three popular technologies you might consider.
You don’t need to make structural dining room renovations to evoke a fast-casual feel in your senior living community. Look for ways to prepare international foods in front of seniors where possible, such as fresh guacamole during a Mexican-themed dining event or Asian stir-fry with a variety of proteins and fresh vegetables.
Want more ideas for your senior living facility? Download entegra’s Top Ten Trends Paper for the Senior Segment.
Entegra Procurement Services regularly publishes blog posts on food trends and innovations in food services. Entegra is more than a group purchasing organization (GPO): Our team of procurement specialists implement strategic sourcing to bring the most value to your business. We help our clients, in many segments ranging from the healthcare supply chain to restaurant supply, to cut costs and consolidate their portfolios.