Unidine is Named One of the 5 Best Food Service Management Providers 2024

In this month’s issue of CIO Bulletin, we proudly feature Unidine on the cover, delving deep into the heart of this remarkable company’s journey.
Unidine is named One of the 5 Best Food Service Management Providers 2024 02

Dining frequently stands out as a key factor influencing residents’ decisions when choosing one community over another. In the constantly evolving landscape of food service management, one company consistently raises the bar in terms of innovation, culinary excellence, and unwavering commitment to wellness: Unidine. As a market leader, Unidine, epitomizes the essence of an integrated partnership, offering comprehensive hospitality solutions that yield impressive results, making selecting the right partner a decision that is met with ease.

Founded in 2001, Unidine identified a distinct gap in the market—a need for tailored dining management services focused on fresh-from-scratch cooking and an unwavering dedication to service excellence. This vision became the cornerstone of a company that would redefine culinary experiences across various industries. In this month’s issue of CIO Bulletin, we proudly feature Unidine on the cover, delving deep into the heart of this remarkable company’s journey. We explore its unique value proposition and the benefits it provides to its clients and team members.

Freshness, Quality, and Culinary Integrity

A steadfast commitment to fresh-from-scratch cooking is at the core of Unidine’s enduring success. Unidine’s boutique and specialized approach to culinary services empowers the company to cater to its clients’ unique needs and preferences. Whether elevating menus to accommodate discerning clientele or championing nutrition and wellness, Unidine’s programs empower communities to embrace change, choice, and customization.

Central to Unidine’s success is its Fresh Food Pledge, the guiding principle that commits to delivering meals crafted from fresh, responsibly sourced ingredients from local vendors whenever possible. This commitment upholds the company’s philosophy of culinary integrity, ensuring guests have delicious menu choices that match their lifestyle while incorporating sustainable practices into their partnership—promoting environmental stewardship while never compromising on flavor.

As a result, Unidine maintains high culinary standards and offers several tangible advantages. Firstly, a fresh-from-scratch approach significantly reduces the costs of food purchases compared to pre-prepared alternatives. Unidine’s executive chefs train culinary team members in scratch cooking and curating menus using the whole of ingredients throughout. For example, Unidine purchases whole chicken rather than buying multiple types of cuts. This allows the culinary teams to incorporate the freshest protein in their dishes while using the remainder as a base for stock or incorporating flavors into complementary items. In addition to better-quality end-products, having nearly 100% product utilization reduces the amount of product waste. Secondly, using fresh, responsibly sourced ingredients dovetails seamlessly with Unidine’s sustainability efforts, including reducing its carbon footprint.

A Holistic Vision of Nutrition and Wellness

With improved health and longer life expectancies, retirement and senior services have transformed significantly. The population now seeks a more active, fulfilling, and social lifestyle, emphasizing wellness initiatives and personalized experiences. Similarly, in healthcare models, focusing on nutrition and wellness can significantly improve health outcomes and positively impact the continuum of care. This emphasis becomes crucial as aging adults may require modified diets when transitioning from more independent care models to specialized assisted or long-term care.

Notably, Unidine surpasses traditional food service management by adopting a holistic approach to nutrition and wellness. This comprehensive vision includes several initiatives:

Grab-n-Go: Unidine’s team of nutritionists and culinarians understand the importance of on-the-go nutrition, especially for active adult communities or those who prefer alternative dining options. Unidine offers Fresh&Good, providing fresh, on-the-go options in micro and mobile markets. These meals are prepared fresh, granting guests greater choice and empowering residents and clients to access wholesome, convenient meals to match their active lifestyles and schedules.

Plant-Forward Choices: Unidine responds to the growing trend towards plant-based diets by offering a diverse range of plant-forward options. These options cater not only to vegetarians and vegans but also to those desiring healthier choices, promoting overall health and wellness.

Puree Program: Unidine’s culinary, nutrition, and wellness teams skillfully execute menus to include texture-modified or pureed dishes. These cater to individuals with specific dietary needs due to difficulty chewing or swallowing or other clinical diagnoses that impact the dining experience. Unidine’s unique Puree with Purpose program ensures that texture-modified food retains its nutrients and flavor, providing delicious and nutritious meals for all residents, regardless of their dietary limitations.

Enriched Foods: Unidine believes food should appease hunger and nourish the body, especially in health and senior care settings. As such, their signature approach, Fresh Benefits, offers fortified menu options, such as super smoothies or enriched snacks, to those in need of higher calories and protein in place of costly, less desirable commercial supplements used in many senior living and long-term care communities as well as hospitals and healthcare. Fresh Benefits foods provide an extra layer of nutrition, ensuring every meal contributes to residents’ overall well-being. Additionally, Unidine offers FreshBites, a program combining art and science to support the nutritional needs of residents with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. While dementia affects all aspects of life, the inability to eat independently is often a catalyst for disease progression. Weight loss often occurs due to:

Fresh Bites is a multi-pronged approach that supports the nutritional needs of residents with Alzheimer’s and other dementias by incorporating visual menus, enticing aromas and meal displays into its service to elicit positive response. And for residents that find it difficult to remain seated, Unidine’s team of dietitians and chefs incorporate the innovative approach of transforming everyday menus into nutritionally dense bite-sized portions in edible vessels that can be easily consumed without utensils.

Unidine’s pledge to culinary integrity and hospitality-forward experiences puts flavor, nutrition and service at the heart of its programs and operations. Their approach is simple: Wholesome meals, innovative menus and engaging team members with the proper training and resources to produce higher quality offerings and improve well-being for all.

A Commitment to Excellence Beyond Cuisine

Unidine’s dedication to excellence extends far beyond its culinary offerings. The company invests significantly in its team members, equipping them with the necessary tools and training to excel. Daily line-ups include service training and diversity-focused initiatives, ensuring that team members aren’t only employees but integral parts of the service team.

The visionary leadership team has played a pivotal role in shaping Unidine’s culture and guiding its growth. CEO Dan Natterman brings a unique perspective, fostering an environment where Unidine is not just a workplace; it’s a place where people want to work. Dan firmly believes that an organization’s most significant competitive advantage is its team. Maintaining a robust culture of service is crucial for driving results. Leaders throughout the organization emphasize team members’ professional development, providing mentorship and training necessary to help them achieve their career goals. While mentorship and coaching are invaluable for employee retention, the organization also supports and integrates various diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives and team member recognition programs.

As a result, Unidine has successfully retained top talent. This retention enables greater consistency in meeting expectations and ensures knowledgeable teams that can better support clients’ individual business goals and cater to a more discerning clientele. Unidine isn’t just about providing outstanding culinary services; it’s about creating an organization where employees are motivated, engaged, and proud to be part of the journey.

Infrastructure Balanced by Customization

As a division of CCL Hospitality Group, a sector of Compass Group USA, Unidine has access to a wealth of resources, enhancing its ability to serve clients effectively. Working closely with client leadership, Unidine tailors its services to align with the community’s brand standards and translates data and trends into actionable strategies.

A critical aspect of building a healthy partnership involves consistent review meetings to assess past and current results and plan for future growth. Unidine’s Client Excellence team maintains clear and frequent communication, ensuring regular interactions to support what matters most to clients and residents. Quarterly business reviews allow Unidine’s leadership and clients to evaluate effective strategies and make necessary pivots to meet critical business objectives. These frequent discussions and embedded communication tools enable clients to move forward with confidence, knowing that the dining team aligns with the culture and goals of the community. This confidence in the management team provides clients with the opportunity to focus on other business functions, keeping residents’ needs at the forefront.

Another notable advantage offered by the scale of CCL and Unidine is a nationwide resource optimization team, ensuring consistent operational oversight. This team eliminates potential gaps in managerial coverage during transitions or hiring processes, fostering consistent service and seamless communication between clients and Unidine’s leadership.

Exceeding Expectations and Driving Results

A crucial aspect of building a healthy partnership lies in the consistency with which the organization drives results and plans for future growth. Unidine excels in supporting essential business areas and stands out as a proactive, people-focused partner. Unidine prioritizes the quality and integrity of its clients’ dining programs while also keeping financial commitments in mind. The company’s financial experts possess a deep understanding of budget management.

While the CCL parent organization provides supporting infrastructure, Unidine maintains its unique and recognizable programming, values, and operating structure. This approach allows clients to experience the personalized attention of a small company, coupled with added benefits and insights. Unidine’s “best of both worlds” approach empowers the company to meet clients’ specific needs and devise customized solutions that achieve desired results. And by adhering to a hospitality-centric philosophy ensures that patients, residents, clients, and team members remain a top priority.

In conclusion, Unidine’s story is one of resilience, innovation, and an unwavering pursuit of quality, wellness, and service excellence. Unidine is nurturing communities and businesses across the United States while fostering a workplace culture that promises more culinary delights and innovative solutions in the years to come.

About Unidine

Operating over 450 facilities across the United States, Unidine is the leading food and dining management service provider. Since 2001, Unidine’s success derives from consistent execution in four key areas – an exclusive focus on food and dining management services, a commitment to scratch cooking with fresh, seasonal, responsibly sourced ingredients, exceptional customer service and a corporate culture enlivened by each team members’ passion for culinary and service excellence. Unidine’s network of nutritionists and culinarians leverage the latest research to support cultural enrichment and wellness strategies for senior living residences, hospitals and behavioral health facilities. Learn more here.

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