CDM, CFPP of the Month - October 2021
Name: Stacy Arndt, CDM, CFPP
Job Title: Dietary Director
Employer: Volunteers of America - The Homestead at Montrose
Job Location: Montrose, CO
Years in Current Position: 3
CDM, CFPP Since: 2019
Why did you decide to become a CDM, CFPP?
Quest for knowledge. I wanted to make sure I was doing things right, by the book. I like to seek out webinars and educational material for new ideas and support
What are your main responsibilities in your current position?
I create the menu, manage the ordering and inventory.
Correspond between the various departments from dietician to bookkeeping
Create the schedule, manage staff hiring and appreciation
Organizing menus for satellite locations & catering
And I work the floor when I’m needed for cooking and aiding
How do you organize your time at work to make sure you accomplish all your responsibilities?
Priorities. I can’t change the hours I need to be on the floor but the rest of the day is mine to juggle in the musts. The sooner it is done the sooner it is off my desk and I am known to have a cluttered desk.
What is an example of an innovative way you have made change at your facility and how did you implement it?
I had to think fast during the COVID shutdown. It seemed like overnight we had to go from the dining room to in room service. We started with room trays on big baker racks and then transitioned into foam boxes. The foam boxes were great. We could write drink orders on the top with a cheery message to each resident. It was hard, but the residents understood and worked with us. We went from serving 160 meals at lunch with our satellite locations down to 30 in house residents.
What was your first job in the foodservice industry?
I worked at a small local restaurant in Montanan. It was a trend setter. California burritos in Montana. Fast casual. I worked there in college while getting my Architecture degree. I worked there for 2 years and when it went up for sale my husband and I bought it. We continued to run it for the next 8 years. My children were born during that time. They were raised on rice and quesadillas for breakfast.
Who has been your biggest mentor in food service and how have they helped shape your career?
I have had many cheerleaders in this career. I was just coming out of a divorce when I took this job as just a cook, one day a week. I wasn’t sure what I really wanted to do getting back into the workforce. The resident director had been the dietary director in the past took me under her wing and taught me everything she knew. Big emphasis on cleanliness and policy. Our regional dietician was my preceptor during my CDM course and she taught me the specifics and became a great friends. I know I can reach out to her with any questions I have and she has my back.
What are the biggest challenges you face in your position and how do you handle them?
Managing team members will always be my biggest challenge. Currently we are a team. We help each other and it is fun to come to work in the morning. If someone has an appointment or needs to pick up a child we make sure things get done. When employees become inflexible and just want to get the job done things do not flow well.
What is your favorite part of your job?
The residents. When working the floor I get to interact and get to know the residents. The pride I get in knowing what they like and having a smile on their face makes me happy. When moving into an assisted living facility many of them are making the transition of not cooking for themselves after many years of making their own favorites. We try hard to make the food as fun and appealing as well as healthy. We have monthly barbecues on the patio and a monthly resident choice meal as well as fun themed food on the holidays.
How do you stay up to date with current innovations and trends?
I read my ANFP forum each morning while going through my emails. I get great ideas and things I need to check up on with the forum. It’s a great outlet to ask questions when I need answers. I sign up for webinars when they pop up. Even if it is something I have learned in the past, a refresher is always good and many times it is a new concept or approach on the topic.
How do you envision the foodservice industry changing in the next few years?
I feel like safety will stay at the forefront. COVID isn’t the only health concern. We have upped our level of sanitation and social distancing practices I feel like we will continue these precautions for cold and flu seasons.
What is your advice to those just getting started in the foodservice industry?
It is a great career path. The more you know helps others and yourself. You are a caretaker, a caretaker of the people you feed. Your education not only keeps people safe, it is also their health and happiness.