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Recipe for success

Community members provide valuable input into Windsor Run menus

Created date

June 13th, 2018
Windsor Run’s three dining venues include the pub-style Tavern 1879.

Windsor Run’s three dining venues include the pub-style Tavern 1879.

Since opening day, Windsor Run residents have enjoyed delicious and healthy food options at the community’s three dining venues. Each menu item is fresh, made to order, and executed at the moment of service to deliver an exceptional dining experience, known as signature dining. 

“There is nothing better than a freshly prepared meal—a steak hot off the grill, stuffed shells from the oven garnished with fresh Parmesan and parsley, country fried steak straight from the pan to the plate with piping hot gravy,” says Director of Dining Services William Bremer.

“We prepare each plate exactly to the specifications of our residents—the right temperature, the right ingredients, and the right presentation.  For years, our residents have cooked their meals exactly how they wanted them. Now, they have earned the right to have someone else do that for them and to exceed their expectations.”

And all of the freshly prepared menu items are offered as a direct result of input provided by the residents themselves.

Planning and preparation

In the months leading up to the opening of Windsor Run, the community’s first residents were invited to participate in a series of focus groups designed to develop the menus for the community’s three dining venues—the traditional, sit-down restaurant, The Grove; the Woodside Café; and the pub-style Tavern 1879.

“We met with almost 200 future residents showing them demo menus and requesting feedback in the form of what they liked, disliked, what they felt was missing, and what they would like to see on the menus,” says Kevin Bunn, Erickson Living’s senior director of program management. “We built our first menus based on these findings.”

Some of the lessons learned at the focus group meetings included the addition of local side items such as collard greens and butter beans.

“We also learned that residents are not looking for traditional southern menus but rather a balanced menu representing diverse preferences,” notes Bunn.

After the focus groups concluded, participants were invited back to Windsor Run a few weeks prior to the official opening for the presentation of the final menu selections.

“Everyone was excited that the information they provided was incorporated into the menus,” says Bunn. “For example, we originally presented a grilled cheese on sourdough sandwich. The feedback we received said that a southern grilled cheese really needed to include tomato. We made the change and it was noticed.”

Feedback continues

Now that Windsor Run is open, community members will continue to influence their numerous dining options. With the three restaurants offering their own distinct menus, residents enjoy 50-60 individual options daily.

In an effort to keep each menu reflective of resident preferences, each month the dining services team will replace the least popular options with suggestions from the resident comment cards.

“The menus are also illustrative of the chef’s personality,” says Bunn. “We are not handing down corporate menus but rather providing our dining services teams the opportunity to be creative and reactionary.”

Additionally, 40% of the menu will change quarterly to accommodate the freshest, seasonal ingredients available. Windsor Run chef’s will also create four or five specials that, based on feedback, will either continue to be offered as specials or added to the menu for the long term.

“The specials provide a great venue for resident feedback,” says Bunn. “As residents try different foods, those they like best will become fixtures on the menus.”

Looking food forward

With the first month of dining under their belts, the Windsor Run dining services team is excited to continue to provide community members with restaurant-quality dining each day.

“There is nothing better than sitting down to a delicious, hot meal, cooked to your unique preferences,” says Bremer. “Our team is dedicated to ensuring that those meals are the direct reflection of what our community members want to see on the plates in front of them.”