Research shows that dining area cleanliness is a stronger predictor of engagement and satisfaction than quality of food or service in the dining room.

Holleran, the nation’s premier research and consulting firm serving aging service providers, has discovered a key insight for improving resident satisfaction and engagement when it comes to dining services. A clean dining area is the most important culinary factor contributing to improved satisfaction and engagement – even outweighing the quality and the temperature of the food!

The Holleran team discovered that survey results showed a significant relationship between the degree to which a resident feels the community’s dining room is clean and their engagement and satisfaction with the community. Remarkably, for every 1 point improvement in this area (on a 1 to 5 scale), there is an 11.2% increase in overall resident engagement and satisfaction across all levels of long-term care.

“Dining service scores are typically the lowest scores in our Benchmark,” says Katelyn McCauley, Research Analyst and Project Manager with Holleran. “While new dining programs, menu upgrades, or cosmetic updates may be necessary in the long run, communities can make an immediate impact in their dining rooms by focusing some extra attention on the cleanliness.”

This discovery was made possible thanks to Holleran’s proprietary Benchmark, which includes the opinions and views of more than 96,000 Independent Living residents, all surveyed within the last 24 months. By analyzing this data, Holleran’s researchers are able to find correlations that both reinforce commonly held beliefs and shatter preconceived notions about living in a retirement community.