The new Westwoodsdining.com online ordering application is generating tons of excitement at Presbyterian Senior Living’s Westminster Woods at Huntingdon senior community in Pennsylvania. Recently created by the onsite dining team of the community’s dining services provider Cura Hospitality, it makes it easy for residents and staff to do things like order food, view menus and make reservations. Meanwhile, the addition of the technology also streamlines labor and staff efficiencies for Cura.
Developed in late 2021, the site is now successfully used by 90% of Westminster Woods independent living residents for placing orders on their tablets or smart phones, an impressive adoption rate that is a direct result of workshops led by the Cura team to help residents ease the transition from an order by phone system.
“Step-by-step, we took them through the process from how to create an account, log in, navigate the menu and place an order,” explains Cura Director of Dining Services Paul Sprowls. “We also provide a tablet in the dining room so residents can place orders there, or if they have questions about the system, we can help them to troubleshoot.”
The high-tech tool has created significant buzz in the community.
“Since WestWoods Dining was introduced, residents are sharing rave reviews,” says Resident Dining Chair Sandy Loughlin. “Expanded dining hours better fit our busy lives; flexible (a la carte) ordering lets us have light meals when we want; and more sides, soups, and starters let us customize our meals. The lessons from staff to introduce the program were a huge help in flattening our learning curves while the outreach of caring neighbors supports residents who occasionally struggle.”
With only the nominal implementation costs, the technology replaces a person who previously received and tracked food orders by phone.
“We purchased a standard laptop and printer designated to WestWoodDining.com,” Sprowls explains. “A chime alerts the team when a new order has been received, and allows us to track sales, record what items are popular, the number of times residents have logged on, or just viewed the menu.”
Residents can also select from dine in, pick up or curbside, as well as choose the exact day and time to receive their freshly prepared meals.
“This also helps us to streamline back of the house operations, and decreases the need for additional staff,” Sprowls observes.
Friends and family can even log on, a valuable option for those concerned about elderly relatives’ health and well-being.
“For example, we have family members who live two states away and want to make sure that their independent living mom or dad do not forget to place their dinner order,” Sprowls relates. “Some of them will order their family member’s meals a week ahead of time. This helps them to make a connection with mom and dad and gives them a way to feel like they are helping without physically being there.”
Ordering ahead of time also benefits the Westminster Woods staff as they also are able to use the system to order in advance, decreasing wait times for getting their lunch or dinner food orders while increasing the time they can spend enjoying it.
WestWoodsDining.com features the week's current menu and the following week's menu for the community’s Garden Cafe and Commons Dining Room outlets. Residents can use the system to easily place online orders for the grill, for Daily From the Hearth Specials like sundried tomato raviolis with crab cream sauce or for options from Cura’s Always Available specials menu, such as grilled chicken breast or vegetable lasagna. The online order service also covers grab and go entrees, a la carte sides dishes, desserts and beverages. Cura also offers Always Available grab and go items like bags of potato chips and quarts of milk.
Residents who still prefer a printed menu have the option to print them out at home, which decreases the cost to print multiple sets of menus for circulating in the dining room.
Cura plans to offer the Westwoodsdining.com platform to the other Presbyterian Senior Living communities it manages at the Long Community at Lancaster in Pennsylvania and Glen Meadows in Baltimore.