Glendale Senior Dining in Brentwood is cooking in its nicheBy MICHAEL COUSINEAU
New Hampshire Union Leader September 01. 2018 6:49PM
BRENTWOOD -- Dishes filled with freshly prepared chicken marsala rolled along an assembly line of kitchen workers in hair nets on Thursday.
Three times a day, workers load 260 trays for patients at the Rockingham County Rehabilitation and Nursing Center.
Glendale Senior Dining, headquartered in a Manchester industrial park, makes more than 2,000 meals a day at the county complex in Brentwood, for both the home and the nearby county jail and its employees.
Glendale took over food operations for the county last March.
"We just felt it was time to get some outside assistance to really take us to the next level, and they really helped us to do it," said Steven Woods, the long-term care services director/administrator at Rockingham.
Glendale runs kitchens at 30 senior care centers in five states, including eight in New Hampshire.
Glendale is a division of Cafe Services, which counts 1,019 employees, including 553 in New Hampshire. Another Cafe Services section provides corporate food service, including for a half-dozen Comcast locations.
About 45 people work at the Manchester headquarters, mainly executives and those working in finance and accounting, human resources and marketing.
Glendale itself has 300 employees, including 110 who work in the Granite State.
"We're paid a fee to run the business (at Rockingham)," said Todd Lindsay, director of business development at Glendale. "Food would never come off the plate if we had to make our numbers at the end of the month."
At the Rockingham center, patients in the rehab unit can call for room service. "It's like a hotel," Lindsay said.
Some nursing center residents with eating or swallowing difficulties require food in puree form while others need special plates to make it easier to lift food off them.
The cost of meals is included in residents' bills unless they eat at the cafe. The Rockingham nursing center charges $11,000 a month at the private care rate. Some residents are covered by Medicaid or Medicare.
The Water Tower Cafe, which opened in February at the complex, offers food for the public to buy. Nursing home guests and occasionally residents themselves will stop in to buy a snack or sandwich.
A nursing home resident for nearly five years, Marcia Roberts, 92, visited the cafe recently with her daughter, Sharon Bell of Northwood.
Roberts enjoyed her chicken salad sandwich and calls spaghetti and meatballs her favorite meal among her regular dining options.
Roberts, asked how she liked the food overall, said: "Some of it is all right."
Menus at Rockingham rotate about every four weeks with occasional special meals. Lobster was served twice over the past two weeks.
Woods said you're not going to make "everybody happy on every single meal."
"The food satisfaction is extremely high," he said. "I can't remember the last time a complaint found itself to me, if ever."
The food-service change followed $12 million in facility upgrades at the Brentwood complex, including the creation of short-term rehab center, renovation of two 54-room long-term care units in the nursing center, and renovating space to provide for the cafe.
In Westmoreland, Glendale since 2015 has provided food to Maplewood of Cheshire County, a county nursing home in Westmoreland with an assisted living wing.
Administrator Kathryn Kindopp estimated Glendale serves about 270,000 meals a year there.
Glendale provides "more of that family feel," Kindopp said. "You can tell they're not all about the money."