Unidine Lifestyles provides comfort and nutrition to residents of senior living communities
The dinner table is where many families gather daily to tell stories, provide support, and share some laughs. It’s a place where memories are made and bonds are built. The desire for a good meal and a memorable dining experience doesn’t fade as we age, and it’s common for the tastes, sights, sounds, and smells of the right dining experience to trigger recollections of past meals.
Unidine understands the importance of these types of memories. It’s why the company’s Unidine Lifestyles brand was created. Centered on a dedication to unparalleled hospitality experiences, Unidine Lifestyles specializes in serving senior living communities.
Speaking to BOSS, Unidine’s Founder, President, and CEO Richard B. Schenkel explained, “Our strategic dining management solutions revolve around each community’s unique needs and their residents’ lives. As a part of our comprehensive approach, we partner with senior living communities to help their residents live happier, healthier, and more fulfilling lifestyles. It’s about providing customized hospitality experiences that can flex to align with residents’ wishes and evolving needs throughout the continuum of care.”
Meeting the Needs of a Diverse Population
In senior living communities, the “wishes and evolving needs” of residents can be widely varied. From independent living and assisted living, to skilled nursing and memory care, Unidine’s top priority is creating memorable dining experiences that meet the needs of every resident.
After strategizing new ways to meet a broad spectrum of needs and a growing senior population, the division formerly known as Unidine Senior Living Culinary Group was rebranded as Unidine Lifestyles in early 2019. The move expresses both Unidine’s commitment to satisfying its customers to the fullest and its objective of changing the perception of senior living. Long gone are the bland retirement communities of the past, replaced today by ones that offer top-notch dining and exceptional service. Whether residents want the comfort of feeling at home or a dining experience that rivals the local restaurant scene, there is something for everyone.
Although the rebranding suggests a forward-looking approach to the company’s partnerships with senior living communities, not everything has changed. Schenkel points out, “Despite the name change, Unidine’s core culinary philosophy, culture, and values remain intact and as strong as ever. We continue to operate a close-knit company and our clients feel at ease knowing that they will still receive the same responsive, professional service and dedication to excellence that they have come to expect from Unidine.”
Personalization and specialized care, especially for a population with diverse needs, requires a business model that is primarily focused on the customer — a strength of Unidine Lifestyles. Schenkel continues, “Whether it’s remembering how a resident takes their morning coffee or celebrating a 70th anniversary with a replica of the wedding cake, it’s about making memorable moments. We tailor our offerings to residents’ evolving health needs across the continuum of care. For residents with dietary restrictions and healthcare needs, we leverage our robust resources and technology with culinary artistry and clinical expertise. We create dining programs for their specific needs to support clinical outcomes.”
The Fresh Food Pledge & Memory Fare
A good diet is a vital part of aging well. Several recent studies have found correlation between nutrition and wellness plans and the ability to manage or ward off chronic conditions such as dementia, Alzheimer’s, coronary disease, diabetes, and depression. Unidine boasts a manifold approach to helping senior living communities care for residents with health concerns.
The Fresh Food Pledge is signed by all team members and promises that all food will be made fresh from scratch using only responsibly sourced ingredients. This everyday commitment ensures that the food lives up to Unidine’s high standards while at the same time allowing its talented staff to express their creativity and passion creating unique dining moments.
Of course, dietitians are also a vital part of the Unidine team, collaborating with the chefs by staying current on the latest trends, research, regulations, and innovations that can meet the specific dietary needs of residents. An example of such collaboration is Memory Fare, which helps residents with cognitive decline maintain a better quality of life.
Schenkel elaborates on the unique aspects of the program, “Memory Fare was created to improve the quality of life of residents with cognitive decline. This program was developed using evidence-based research and promotes brain health without sacrificing flavors or freedom of choice.”
One way of meeting the specific needs of clients is by using data and analytics to discover ways to improve food and beverage selections, operational processes, service speed, and culinary concepts. Data that is collected helps Unidine better understand its customers and their demographics to create menus that really resonate.
To Schenkel, data and analytics are a vital part of the business, “The insights we generate go beyond what’s selling inside our cafes and dining rooms. We gain an understanding of what’s going on in the local community. What cuisines are most prevalent? What offerings are unique? What’s the up-and-coming flavor our customers will be excited for? It’s our aim to provide the insights that point of sale alone simply cannot.”
A Culture of Care
Unidine Lifestyles would not be successful without a solid company culture. Team members, tasked with serving 250,000 customers every day, drive the company’s success in a challenging field. The backbone of the company’s culture is The Unidine Way, compromised of the firm’s customer-centric mission, vision, and values.
Schenkel sums up the company, speaking of its culture, “As the ethos of our company, The Unidine Way defines the way we work, the dedication we provide, and what our clients can expect from every team member. It keeps us grounded and ready to serve. When you’re our customer, you are at the center of everything we do. It’s a hallmark of doing business with Unidine and a value that is deeply ingrained in our culture and energized by every team member. It’s more than just good customer service — it’s the heart of who we are.”
Founded in 2001, Unidine exclusively provides food and dining management services for senior living communities, behavioral health organizations, community hospitals, and corporate environments. Unidine’s success is derived from consistent execution in three key areas: a commitment to scratch cooking with fresh, seasonal, responsibly sourced ingredients; exceptional customer and client service; and a strategic approach to our client partnerships.
By embracing a culture of Diamond Service, the creativity, passion, and expertise of its team members are leveraged to deliver dining and hospitality programs that inspire customers and exceed client expectations.
As a result of its phenomenal growth and success, Unidine was named to Inc.'s 500/5000 list in 2006, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, and 2015. Unidine was also recognized by Boston Business Journal Pacesetters as one of the fastest growing private companies in New England in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2012, and 2015.
Corporate: From full-service cafes and coffee bars to catered meetings and stocked micro-kitchens, Unidine curates the solutions that showcase their clients’ culture and commitment to employee satisfaction.
Healthcare: By leveraging hospitality service and the latest technologies, Unidine optimizes the performance of their clients’ foodservice department to create better experiences that meet patients’ needs at the bedside and impact reputational scores.
Senior Living: Building an individualized solution that works for clients’ communities starts with learning about their unique needs. It’s how Unidine creates customized hospitality experiences that can flex to align with residents’ wishes. No matter their lifestyle, dietary needs, preferences, or level of care, Unidine’s clients and customers can expect consistently high level of attention, responsiveness, and distinctive service.
Behavioral Health: Supporting long-term positive outcomes through fresh-from-scratch culinary programs and nutrition education while rebuilding patients’ physical and mental health.