29 August

Retirement Communities Going Above and Beyond

Synergy Restaurant Consultants | Menu Development
Senior dining trends

Assisted living, retirement homes, active senior communities – all terminology referring to communities with a minimum resident age, typically starting at 55, and this demographic is booming. According to the US Census Bureau, the number of Americans ages 65 and older is projected to nearly double from 52 million in 2018 to 95 million by 2060. The demand for senior living facilities and communities will continue to grow.

And with that ever-growing demand comes more options as consumer preferences evolve. These days, it is not uncommon to find senior lifestyle communities that are much like resorts, equipped with high-end amenities like movie theaters, fitness centers, salons, and restaurants. Of course, not all retirement options are this glamorous, but focus on improved food choices provided at these homes and centers is on the rise. Traditional meal options won’t make the grade for today’s more active and food-savvy seniors.

Consumers not yet living in senior living communities often have concerns about menu fatigue and uninspired foodservice.  Savvy residential operators are addressing concerns proactively to attract retirees with dining options that cater to their unique tastes and needs while offering a restaurant-quality experience and opportunities to socialize. Surveys show that retirees looking to join a senior living community are interested in having a variety of foodservice options from which to choose including cafes, restaurants, food halls and retail markets. They also want more access to snacks and room service.

At Garden Spot Village in New Holland, PA, you’ll find four unique restaurants (plus a Starbucks) each with a distinct menu and style—from table-side service to casual dining. Over in Westport, CT, Maplewood Senior Living offers residents locally-sourced ingredients from their own farm as well as other vendors. Yes, it’s senior-living with garden-to-table cuisine! Finding that they were behind the times, Elim Park in Cheshire, CT has recently overhauled its dining and common areas to give seniors a unique and engaging multi-restaurant platform experience. The building footprint expanded by 5,000 square feet, providing space for the new Springhouse Bistro and the Elim Park Baking Co. bakery café, connected through a common seating space that ties the concepts together and creates a sense of community. 

Other senior food trends to look out for

  • Skilled chefs heading up the kitchen and delivering unique meal choices
  • Open kitchens to elevate the dining experience and provide transparency in food preparation
  • Food trucks to bring an array of culinary options
  • Individualized attention for those with special food preferences, dietary restrictions or food allergies

Dining options and foodservice strategy can differentiate one senior living community from the other. We’ll be on the lookout for more of these trends as the aging demographic increases and becomes choosier. If you operate a retirement or senior living community and would like to learn how you can improve your foodservice operations or restaurant menus, please contact Synergy.

Menu Development