Dished: The 5 Things Senior Living Needs to Be Marketing About Dining

“Senior living communities today are expected to offer fresh, healthy foods along with convenience.”

This is the finding of a recent EcoLab survey conducted among American adults who have sought a senior living solution either for themselves, or for someone they know.

And while senior living operators have recently turned a serious and new eye to their dining programs—whether that means incorporating restaurant-style dining into their communities, hiring celebrity chefs to help overhaul their menus, or simply taking a closer look at how on-site options compare to those outside of the community walls—there are still some must-haves that outweigh all the others when it comes to food in senior living.


EcoLab found that the vast majority of senior living shoppers expect a fresh salad bar on site, while more than three-fourths said fresh baked goods and desserts were expected. An on-site pub was a nice-to-have, with just shy of 20% reporting they expected to see one in their senior living community of choice.

Senior living communities are getting up to speed, but these five must-haves topped the list for shoppers among the survey findings this year, and SHN has found them across communities we visited this year. The percentages noted reflect the proportion of respondents who expected the following to be present in the senior living community of their choosing.

1. Fresh salad bar – 82%



At Oakmont Senior Living’s Capriana of Brea, Calif., residents have daily salad options, sometimes including items grown in the community’s on-site vegetable garden. Photo by Tania Tululie

2. Bakery/fresh baked goods and desserts – 78%


Also at Capriana, baked goods are made fresh daily. Photo by Tania Tululie

3. Meal delivery to my apartment – 71%


At Kendal Corporation’s Admiral at the Lake in Chicago, entrees are made to order for delivery to residents’ units. Photo by James Kruml

4. Coffee shop / bar – 66%


At CCRC The Clare in Chicago’s Gold Coast, residents have access to an on-site coffee shop that is open daily. Photo by James Kruml

5. Grab and go bistro/cafe options – 55%


At The Admiral, residents can choose to dine at the community’s formal dining room by reservation, or a more casual bistro option that opens daily. Photo by James Kruml

Written by Elizabeth Ecker

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