By Bill Harris
Dining Liaison, Resident Advisory Council
In February 2018, along with three other residents, I was elected to serve on the nine- member Riderwood Resident Advisory Council, or the “RAC.” I was appointed by the RAC members to serve as the chairperson of the Dining Liaison Committee (“Dining Committee”) which is made up of two residents from each of the independent living neighborhoods of Riderwood.
The Dining Committee meets monthly with various representatives of Riderwood Management Dining Team (“Dining Team”). In preparation for the monthly Dining Committee meetings, members will have first met with their respective neighborhood dining room manager and possibly other Dining Team representatives.
The purpose of those meetings with representatives of the Dining Team is to share and discuss with them the residents’ concerns that have been expressed to the members as well as other items of concern such as proposed personnel changes, menu modifications and other relevant dining services concerns.
The goal of the Dining Committee to is serve as an effective voice between the residents and Riderwood management. The members of the Dining Committee are Sally Porter and Ed Wachtman for Village Square; Joan Galasso and Diane Blumenthal representing Montgomery Station; Beverly Hawkins and Jim McEnroe at Town Center and Regina Cohen and Ellen Schmidt for Lakeside. They are all effective in not only communicating concerns expressed to them by residents, but also offering their own thoughts and contributions in helping to enhance our dining room experiences. I’m fortunate to have such a great team to work with.
The Riderwood Dining Team is headed by Jeff Kimbell, Director of Dining. Based upon our ongoing working relationship with Jeff Kimbell and various members of his team, including, Scott Monfils, Assistant Director of Dining Services, Chad Wisner, Executive Chef, the managers, supervisors and other dining room, kitchen and wait service personnel, we know that the Dining Team staff’s objective is to continually focus on how to improve and best serve the overall dining needs of our residents and guests.
With the recently completed repositioning of the Town Center lobby area, including the new Seasons dining area, with improved acoustics and seating, the introduction of the Bistro and its extended patio and the new Seasons Lounge and carryout area, many changes have been introduced not only to the physical spaces, but also to the menus in order to offer more dining options to our residents.
We, as well as the Dining Team, welcome and appreciate your continual input on all aspects of your dining experiences, including wait time, comfort of the areas, food quality and selections, menu enhancements, and responsiveness of staff members. We want and need your comments, whether constructive criticism or complimentary kudos. However, whenever there is an issue or concern during your dining experience, always reach out to the dining room manager or supervisor on duty in order to address that concern right then and there. I would also encourage you, from time to time, to fill out one of the comment cards that are usually on your table. The RAC Resident Concern or Suggestion Form that is available at all the front desks, can also be used. It will be delivered to me for followup. Of course, you can always talk with a RAC member, especially someone who is serving on the Dining Committee. Our dining facilities are so important to our well- being at Riderwood. They not only help to provide some of the daily nutrition that we need, but also serve as familiar and friendly venues for us to break bread and interact with other residents, family members and friends .
Finally, I want to give you a good recommendation. Being originally from New Orleans, I can tell you that the kitchen makes a pretty good pot of Louisiana Gumbo every now and then. So whenever you see it on the menu and want a little spice in your dining, check it out. Better yet, if you haven’t done so already, sign up for the Riderwood Benevolent Care Fund Gala “Night in New Orleans” scheduled for Saturday, September 23, 2018 at Maryland Hall. And as we say down home ,Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!
What factors determine the formula for the annual increases in
There isn’t a strict “formula” for determining annual increases. In general, increases in monthly fees are determined by forecasting all operating costs (wages, benefits, utilities, real estate taxes, food, marketing, etc.) against the operating margin necessary for financial viability. This is determined in partnership with the Riderwood Board of Directors, who ultimately approve the budget annually.
There is a great deal of concern for the pressure of increased costs to residents when Social Security cost of living increases are minimal. The costs used to determine Social Security increases are different than those needed to manage a CCRC. We do everything we can to keep our monthly fee increases to a minimum, controlling costs to the best of our ability. We also know that our monthly fees are extremely competitive in our market for the value we provide.