Gone are the days of old-fashioned tray line services, with limited selections and cold food. Instead, Culinary Services Group, LLC (CSG) is introducing a point of service dining program to our senior living communities known as decentralization.

Decentralization is the process of implementing multiple dining locations in a single facility. A decentralized dining program, allows the food service team to serve food from steam tables in various dining areas. Decentralization not only improves the quality of the food, but it also allows the residents choices they have not had in the past. One community who has happily embraced decentralization is Friends House. For a printable version of this article click here!

Tray Line Blues

When Chandra Kumar joined Friends House as the Skilled Care and Assisted Living Nursing Administrator, she was disappointed to see such an institutional style of food service. “Everything being served came up on carts and trays and very few people used the dining room. If someone wanted to make a choice when it came to meal time or if a resident didn’t like what they had, it would take 20 to 30 minutes to get a new meal and by then, they either didn’t want to eat or the food was too cold.”

The Many Benefits of Decentralization

CSG was brought in by Friends House in 2009 to run the dining program. One of the first suggestions we made was to eliminate the tray line food service. CSG not only decentralized service with steam tables in various parts of the community, but they also introduced menus and choices for the residents. CSG’s unique menu embraces the cultural differences and diversity represented by the residents of Friends House too. Chandra Kumar said “It really enhances the quality of life for our residents and in our setting sometimes there are so few choices, that food is the main driver. Being able to have a choice has made a huge difference.”

A True Partnership

“CSG is such a seamless part of our organization, the management team and the staff is very much a part of us. I sometimes forget they are a contractor,” comments Chandra. Members of the CSG team know the residents; they learn their likes and dislikes and make special efforts to ensure their satisfaction on a daily basis. Chandra says “I would absolutely recommend Culinary Services Group to anyone that is looking for someone to run their dining program, because they are not just running your dining program, they are really a partner with you and they become part of your team. I feel very strongly that they are dedicated to the residents and that is their focus.”

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A Unique Community

Friends House Retirement Community is a unique Quaker community located in Sandy Spring, Maryland. Home to both independent living and assisted living residents, the population of the community is very involved in the facilities’ day-to-day activities and food is a focal point. In fact, one of the most unique aspects of the community is its garden. The residents, plan, plant and maintain the garden where they grow herbs, fruits, vegetables and flowers. CSG chefs use fruits, vegetables and herbs from the garden to make many of the dishes served each day. For more information about Friends House visit www.friendshouse.com.

Special Thanks

CSG would like to thank all of the residents and team members who helped us to create this video including Chandra, Nancy, Jasmine, James, Bill, Hugh, David, Beth, Dorothy, Diane, Clayton, Kathleen, David and Marjorie. In addition, we would like to thank Friends House as a whole for inviting us into your community. Thank you too to Lee Emmons at Absolute Perfection for helping us create this wonderful look into life at Friends House.

Culinary Services Group

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