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Doing things right from the start – a winning recipe for Towner Crest

members of Towner Crest Culinary teamThe mission of Presbyterian Homes & Services (PHS), “to honor God by enriching the lives and touching the hearts of older adults,” is fulfilled when the actions of our employees demonstrate our stated values. In our continuing series, “We Will,” we introduce you to PHS employees who are living out these values and working together toward a better, brighter future for the older adults we serve.

Today we continue in our We Will series with a story from the Culinary team at Towner Crest in Oconomowoc, WI, in recognition of National Food Service Workers Week.

Just one year ago, Towner Crest opened its doors, welcoming the first residents with high hopes for a strong start in 2020. Now a year later and weathered by a global pandemic, Towner Crest has a story to tell that reflects the PHS value of Operational Integrity.

Operational Integrity essentially means we will “do what we said we would do.” Housing Advisor Amy Cahalane says, “People here are living full lives and not only surviving but thriving. It’s because of our staff who really take seriously that we are guests in the homes of those we serve.”

Towner Crest resident dining with cake and wineAs guests, the Towner Crest Culinary team pours creative energy into new recipes and service that will “wow!” residents. Nutrition & Culinary Director Mark Hammes says that they create as much as possible from scratch – “soups, sauces, gravies and bread.”

What’s extra special in all PHS is the uniquely sourced Towner Crest coffee. “We got to thinking,” said Mark, ‘Why don’t we roast our own coffee and come up with our own blends?’”

Now at breakfast, the Culinary team pours the freshest cups of medium-roast coffee, currently brewed and sourced from 50% Guatemalan and 50% Colombian beans. The aroma wafts over residents as they overlook the peaceful pine forest from the upper dining room. The coffee is so popular, some residents carry out packaged beans to brew in their apartments.

The team’s banana bread also gets rave reviews! New employee Veronica Ruleford introduced a welcoming program that delivers fresh baked banana bread to new residents. Ingrid, the daughter of a resident, gave Towner Crest a 5-star review on Google and noted, “One of the kitchen staff stopped in with baked treats to welcome mom as we were unpacking. She took time to explain all the meal options.”  

banana bread and Towner Crest coffee
    Google review
Mark credits the Culinary team’s strong start to early phone interviews conducted by the PHS Recruiting team. “They do a really good job with determining fit,” he says. “They get the core values down. Then they let the frontline managers hone in on technical abilities.” Mark adds, “Doing things right in the beginning saves you a lot of time down the road – instead of filling positions that are vacant in a month or two.”

“We’re looking for people who are teachable and servant-focused,” says Faith Fraijo, a PHS Recruiter —“those who can serve with compassion and are looking to make a commitment.”
And it shows: Rob Lahammer, VP of Engagement and Advocacy, says, “Towner Crest has employee engagement that is 4 times as high as the average senior community … and in the top 5 in all PHS!”

We at PHS are grateful to the teams at Towner Crest, Culinary, Recruiting and all employees who will practice Operational Integrity. Together we will take the time to do the right thing so our staff can lead with a strong start and continue to creatively “enrich the lives and touch the hearts of older adults.”

Do you know someone looking for more purpose in their work? Share the good news and the many opportunities to make a mark at Rated #1 employer in Minnesota by Forbes!

Further reading plus more in the We Will series:
Kind Regards: 'Mom feels she's living in a resort'
Towner Crest opens in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin
'Seeing is believing': Photos of loved ones on Facebook strengthen community during pandemic
Love of God, family and diversity inspire Nursing Assistant Samuel Mutuku

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