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Keith Brown sees bright future for dining services

Recently, Salina Presbyterian Manor partnered with Cura Hospitality to deliver dining services.

“We’ve been through a lot of changes during my time here, but this is by far the biggest transition,” said Keith Brown, dining services director. “We’re definitely hitting some bumps along the way, but we’re adjusting as quickly as we can.”

Keith wants Presbyterian Manor residents and their families to understand that the move is not a cost-cutting measure, but part of an effort to improve dining services in all PMMA communities.

“It’s important to note that the decision to bring Cura in was based on resident and family surveys, which had low scores for dining services,” he said. “We’re doing this for them and not for any other reason.”

Cura has been providing dining services support to congregate living communities for more than 25 years. Keith says that some of what they bring to the table include fresher menus and more professional nutritional guidance. They can also provide staffing support for larger events.

However, Keith notes that Presbyterian Manor is not yet at full capacity with Cura.

“They’re still trying to fill out all of the communities and figure out what the needs are,” he said.

Prior to the Cura transition, Keith and the dining services team worked with a menu-planning company that also offered nutritional guidance. However, a lot of his time was spent managing the clinical side of dining services. Within the new system, he’ll be able to focus more on the preparation and presentation of residents’ meals.

“I’m passionate about food, and now I will be able to put more of my focus on the kitchen and work with my staff to prepare meals, as much as we can from scratch, and also to focus on the way we’re presenting the food,” he said.

Going forward, Keith will work directly for Cura, but he retains the dining services director title and the close relationships he has built at Presbyterian Manor.

“The dynamic hasn’t really changed,” he said. “I’ve got a handful of staff that have been here for five-plus years with me. My switching over to Cura hasn’t changed anything about those relationships or the relationships I have with residents.”

Keith says he’s grateful to his staff for the hard work they’ve put in during the transition. They have all had to fight through staffing shortages, which have been widespread throughout the food service industry.

“Being short staffed and trying to run a new program is challenging, but there’s also never a good time to do certain things,” he said. “I’m just trying to keep staff and residents cool-headed while we go through these changes, because, ultimately, it’s going to benefit the whole community.

“There are positives coming for everybody. I’m still confident that Cura is going to be a good partner for Presbyterian Manor.”

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