I read an article this past week about several Pennsylvania retirement communities, including some continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs or life plan communities), that are opening up their dining facilities to the public. While non-residents are jumping at this new restaurant option, the eateries’ open-door policy benefits the retirement communities and their residents too.
A plus for the locals
Many of the retirement communities’ restaurants featured in the article have a casual, comfortable atmosphere with an emphasis on healthy, locally sourced fare. They provide a variety of menu options, and many have seasonal offerings, all at competitive prices.
Local families are taking advantage of these communities’ restaurants for a wholesome dinner out. Nearby office workers enjoy stopping by for a quick breakfast or coffee, and workgroups can grab a tasty bite for lunch. The dining services team at some communities even offer catering to the larger community.
>> Related: 5-Stars: Dining Options Evolve at Many CCRCs
Benefits for the communities and their residents
For the retirement communities, opening their dining establishments to the public is a savvy business decision and also a resident satisfaction choice.
The communities are able to create additional revenue and additional economies of scale by serving the public in their dining facilities, as well as taking catering orders. They also are able to showcase their food quality and selection to potential future residents who come to eat there.
Residents enjoy being able to invite friends and family to come dine with them on campus. As I’ve written about before, there are also advantages to creating intergenerational dining opportunities where residents can interact and connect with members of the local community.
A trend for the future of CCRCs
Retirement communities, including CCRCs, are finding innovative ways to integrate with the greater community. Opening their dining facilities to the public is just one example that is already happening in many CCRCs.
Some communities invite the public to take advantage of their on-campus walking trails and gardens. Others are renting out their meeting spaces or banquet rooms to the public for a nominal fee. Still others are opening up their wellness center and pool during certain hours.
But this all ties into the future approach to senior living and the philosophy that CCRCs and other retirement communities should not be walled off from the world. In fact, they should welcome in their local neighbors—after all, CCRC residents and “the locals” are all a part of the same larger community. By sharing resources and experiences, bonds are created that benefit everyone.