FnB Amenities in Multifamily and Senior Living Communities

by Christina Johnson

Community amenities are impacted any time we have a social or cultural change, such as new technology or a shift in health and wellness. The goal of community amenities is to connect residents to the property in a way that feels personal and unique. Properties that do that well will always have an advantage over their competitors. Amenities with staying power feel like a decision the targeted demographic would have made on their own if they only knew they could. One such amenity that has changed quite a bit over the last several years and can really make a property stand out is its food and beverage offerings, or FnB. 

Nothing else feels hyper local quite like restaurants do. The biggest trend in food offerings in multifamily or senior living developments is to connect them to the local community. This can be done with catering kitchens, demonstration kitchens, self-serve markets or events. The biggest key here is commitment because an empty kitchen or a market that is never well-stocked is an obvious miss. It also doesn’t necessarily have to be done with food. If drinks are more manageable, properties can achieve the same connection that way. Coffee bars have been a favorite in communities for years, but while bringing in Starbucks is nice, bringing in the neighborhood coffee house in an area that prides itself on great coffee is even better. Providing alcohol for events is great, but providing a locally well-known mixologist or stocking the bar with local beer and wine creates that extra connection. 

For senior communities, the FnB offering is even more important because that demographic is getting to a point where they want and need as much as possible onsite. When it works within the property’s program, full-service restaurants with multiple casual dining offerings are a huge asset to that age group. The connection to the location comes in the form of sourced ingredients, menus created by well-known chefs and food catered to specific diets. When full service doesn’t make sense from a budget standpoint, providing dining spaces where neighborhood restaurants can cater frequent meals or provide event services is a nice alternative. 

Another amenity offering we are hoping to see more of is community gardens. When we talk to our clients about personality types to consider, one that often comes up is the population we call “kindness keepers” or the curious class. They are the individuals who thrive in environments that promote personal growth or provide them with opportunities to enrich others. Community gardens can do just that while also appealing to other personality types, like “compressionalists” who appreciate the quiet calm of the outdoors or “market makers” who want to socialize and network. In a senior living community, the connection to the outdoors and the sense of belonging are real factors that improve physical and emotional health and aid in memory care, in addition to the benefits of fresh-grown food. 

While this is a moment of change for the hospitality market, multifamily and senior living can and should recognize it as their cue to innovate as well. 

Christina Johnson is the creative director of Phoenix- and San Francisco-based Private Label International, a full-service interior design studio that develops hospitality environments and lifestyle brand experiences for clients worldwide.

Photo courtesy of Private Label International

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