Photo: Selection Group
Private residences for the elderly (RPA) are increasingly distinguished by the dining room. They develop programs and partnerships to attract customers, relying on both food and decor, and do not hesitate to use new technologies.
“All networks now have good construction offers; The residents’ questions then concern food: to know if they will eat well,” emphasizes Maurice Chartrand, chef at Le Groupe Maurice. After consulting with residents, he developed the program Fresh orientation which relies on market cuisine, with fresh and seasonal fruits and vegetables. The transformation is then carried out in the kitchens of the residences, which allows especially to control the amount of sugar, salt and fat – three challenges for the residents because they can lead to pressure or problems with the arteries.
“Our program was innovative when we started and with COVID-19 it paid off! We stocked in 2019 and were between 80% and 88% Quebec and/or Canadian product. If the pandemic affected prices, we had fewer problems with supply than other institutions because we were already buying locally and our business relationships had already been built”, insists Maurice Chartrand.
Proximity to suppliers also enables product development for the Group. For example, moose, venison or duck à l’orange sausage is made by a Montreal butcher for a barbecue organized at the residences this summer.
Photo: Groupe Maurice
Claude-André Mayrand, Senior Advisor for Public Relations and Corporate Communications at Groupe Sélection, also announces that collaboration is underway with food manufacturers to create recipes specific to the Sélection Retraite complexes.
He talks about partnerships as an opportunity to differentiate. Therefore, several were created: Kinélite offers, among other things, personalized nutritional monitoring for residents; Ricardo Media co-founder Ricardo Larrivee and nutritionist Isabelle Huot also participate with healthy and nutritious ready-to-eat meals.
Since last year, Sélection Retraite has also collaborated with the nutrition department of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Montreal. The goals are to develop and promote various forms of popularization activities in nutrition, to improve the balanced offer of nutrition in the environment of the elderly, as well as to reflect on the academic path of students and the possibility of contributing to the improvement of professional work. to connect with independent seniors.
“The RPA environment is competitive,” explains Claude-André Mayrand. It is certain that the food offer and the dining room, as well as other common areas, allow the Sélection Retraite complex to stand out. Our dining rooms with high-quality menus and neat decor look more like a restaurant than a cafeteria, which our tenants greatly appreciate. »
In terms of decoration, the dining rooms have an urban style that emphasizes the local context and have an avant-garde look with noble materials such as leather or stone, velvet benches, refined decoration with a focus on elements such as works of art or candlesticks.
Photo: Selection Group
Socialization through food
I regularly have people tell me, ‘We have a little problem: my parent has gained weight since being with you,'” smiles Groupe Maurice’s food chef. He explains that people who live alone tend to eat more when they are in an apartment. It also has repercussions on the autonomy of food: some cook more to share their recipe for a dish they could eat in the dining room.
“Our residents are more and more smart about food and on the alert because they are independent, so they still go to restaurants, they still shop… They have a lot of comparisons. With us, the meal plan is not included in the lease, so if I want to have customers, I have to seduce them as a restaurateur, so that they like the menu”, underlines Maurice Chartrand. He adds that currently more than 75% of residents eat on site, for lunch or dinner.
To ensure their satisfaction, annual surveys are conducted and every day the chefs go to the dining room to meet with them and record their comments. “On the one hand, we listen to them, and on the other, we look for the market, and to adapt it to the residences, specifies the food chef. Some had never eaten raw fish, so when I wanted to introduce them to the poke bowl, I started presenting it with only raw vegetables. »
Every two months they gather the chefs of Le Groupe Maurice to test new products and organize an activity every month Fresh orientation such as a gourmet dinner. “These are sporadic activities that bring satisfaction from both sides. Residents dress according to themes, for example white ball, and chefs adjust the program, let their creativity run free, which brings “wow” effects. »
Photo: Groupe Maurice
Comparison with restaurants
Maurice Chartrand cites several advantages of RPA dining halls, starting with the variety of menus offered within the same establishment: four different menus a day, seven days a week, on a minimum cycle of four weeks. He also highlights the presence of cooked dishes such as ham on the bone, duck pie, sarmica, beef bourguignon and veal blanket. “There are fewer and fewer of them in the traditional catering offer, which favors grilled meat and branded items: steak, chicken, fish… There are more and more chains and uniform menus, so people appreciate what we have. »
Like many restaurants and hotels, Sélection Retraite recently launched a pilot project in three of its complexes in Greater Montreal, installing BellaBot robots. Their mission will be to assist in the distribution of meals for lunch and dinner, while lifting trays in the dining room. The goal is to provide support to employees so that the service is more efficient and allows them to have more time to devote to the needs of users.
The group is also in the process of developing a mobile application that will provide users with information about the dining rooms, especially the daily menus. In the long term, various interfaces will be added to collect feedback, with the aim of continuous improvement.