A taste for something new
Ashby Ponds adapts dining plans for more flexibilityBy Kelly A. Shue
“One of the great things about Ashby Ponds is that you only have to use your kitchen if you are inclined to do so,” says Nancy Eisenbise, a community member at the Erickson Living community in Ashburn, Va.
That’s because the Blue Sky Restaurant and the Robin’s Nest Café offer convenient, affordable, quality dining options right on campus.
“Providing our community members with many healthy, nutritious, and delicious menu options is the goal of the Ashby Ponds kitchens,” says Susan Fix, director of dining services.
Waste not. Want not.
Adding to their freedom of choice, community members are now able to choose how many meals they enjoy at Ashby Ponds each month as part of the new flexible dining plan.
“We have always offered one meal a day as part of the monthly service package,” says Fix. “However, if someone did not use their meal, they could not use it the next day or use it for a family member or friend. This will no longer be the case with the flexible dining plan.”
Ashby Ponds’ flexible dining plan includes two options. The first option allows community members to keep their current one-meal-a-day plan, with one important change: they can use these meals any way they want during the month, perhaps choosing to enjoy two meals one day or saving a meal or two for visiting family members.
The second option provides 20 meals a month with the same flexibility.
“People who choose the 20-meal version receive a $60 credit on their monthly service package, an added plus in today’s economy,” says Fix.
Breaking bread together
“We opted to stay with the [monthly] meal plan and enjoy the ability to use the flexible meal plan as we have needed,” says David Johnson. “It has worked well for us, and we have used the meals for ourselves and for extra family and friends who may be visiting.”
David’s neighbor Sharon Harvey also chose to stay on the traditional monthly meal plan.
“I seldom eat out, and I enjoy the food that Ashby Ponds serves,” says Sharon. “On the rare occasion I do eat dinner out, I can always eat breakfast or lunch here or invite a friend or family member to join me another day at no cost. The [monthly] flex plan is the perfect choice for me.”
Sharon points out one of the most lauded benefits of the new plan: the ability to share allotted meals with guests.
“I stayed on the [monthly] plan and find that it works well for me,” says Barbara McArdle. “If I have extra meals left over, I invite my daughter, her husband, and my grandson over for dinner. They enjoy these meals immensely.”
Flexibility to change
Even more appealing, community members may change their plan on a quarterly basis—a benefit especially important for those who know ahead of time that they will be out of town or eating out frequently.
“My wife Kit and I appreciate the fact that we do not have to stick with the same number of meals each month,” says Jud Conner. “At first, we each chose the 20-meal plan. This worked out well because we ate out a lot. For the second three months Kit chose the 20-meal plan while I kept the full [monthly plan] so we could host a gathering of friends.”
“My husband Charles and I choose the standard [monthly] meal plan for the first half of the year,” says Nancy. “We will then opt to reduce one of our meals to the 20-meal option later in the year because we know that we will be away from time to time due to vacations and holidays.”
Couples at Ashby Ponds need not choose the same meal option.
“The ability for a couple to sign up individually works out super well,” says Nancy. “We receive a receipt at each meal with the number of available meals left for the month. That is a great asset.”
Catering to individual needs
“Offering the Ashby Ponds community flexibility when it comes to dining is important,” says Fix. “No one wants to feel like they are wasting money or food. The new flexible dining plan enables everyone to make individual choices based on their own needs.”
“We think the plan is great,” says John Kraft. “My wife Dottie and I like to travel and are usually away from Ashby Ponds five to ten days a month. The plan’s flexibility enables us to make up for our days away by enjoying lunch as well as dinner. We love it!”