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Hotel Style Service in an Aged Care Environment

This is a phrase I coined two years ago, as it was somewhat a new concept to apply to the Retirement sector and actually mean something.

The food service starts at the arrival of food right through to the return dishes to the kitchen and see if there are ways to improve the service and to work smarter. Every part of the service needs to compliment each other. For instance if the kitchen makes a great roast meal and it is delivered wrong, or not plated properly, or not served correctly, or served cold… the whole meal service is lost and the resident left disappointed. But once the staff are trained and realise the role that each will play to have that meal delivered the very best it can be, you create a winning formula.

The quality of the food service starts and ends with the kitchen so it is very important the person leading the kitchen has pride in what they do. Yes it is nice to be complimented about the food and a job well done, but first and foremost you must have a self- belief that you will provide the very best food service you can.

A lot of facilities now offer choice in their menus and offer a wider range of meal options which is so good to see. It is a challenge for a lot of kitchens, but the end result with a satisfied resident is well worth the effort. Being able to select a meal from several options enables the resident in effect to create their own daily menu and look forward to the meal service.

Due to demand a lot of facilities offer a café service with an upmarket feel. This is a step up and the food on offer is as you would expect to see at any café. It is a service to compliment that already in place, and can be aimed at the Independent residents and also the residents in Care.

Berry Crepe
Terikihi with Fries and Salad




Meals for the rest home and hospital residents is an area that requires a lot of attention. I congratulate any facility that provides a restaurant style feel and service, and works hard to get this right. It is a challenge to provide daily meals to residents to a high standard. Consistency in food standards and variety in meals are the key to ensuring resident satisfaction.

Puree meals have been an issue for a while, getting the right consistency of ingredients to create an enjoyable meal has been difficult for a lot of facilities. A bit hit and miss. It came down to interpretation of the cook or chef as to what would be served. NZSTA IDDSI standards have been introduced and adopted in New Zealand, this provides a better platform for understanding the needs of residents on alternative meals and beverage. Alternative meals can also be referred to as textured to suit the needs of the resident. It will create a better consistency for the industry as a whole. This is an area I have been promoting as I feel residents requiring alternative meals because of dysphagia or any other reason need more attention to make sure the meal is just right. Apart from making sure the meals smell good, there are various techniques to plating up a meal including moulding, scooping, piping and spooning. No matter what method or a combination used to plate a meal, if it is made with the intention of ensuring the food is its very best, it will be received with gratitude.

Cream Horn
Chicken Roast, sauce poured on separately









This is a great industry to be involved in, and I have enjoyed working with facilities to provide a better food service

Click here to visit Terence Austin’s listing on Eldernet

About Terence Austin

Terence Austin
Terence Austin is a London City and Guilds-trained executive chef and has owned restaurants and function centres in New Zealand. Eight years ago, a visit to his grandfather in a retirement village prompted him to move into the retirement sector with the aim of improving the food offering. He is now a consultant, helping facilities to improve their food and food service.