We have so many happy, repeat customers here at Top Chef Meals (and we're so thankful for you all!), but for every success, there are just as many “picky” parents who have rejected the switch to home delivered meals. Are our parents REALLY that picky or is it something else? While it's true that our sense of taste and smell change as we age, making us like or dislike things differently than we once did, it doesn't make us quite THAT picky. Through follow ups we have conducted with these "picky" parents, what we've discovered is that the real culprit is not the food but the presentation and lack of knowledge on how to successfully heat the meals properly.
As a caregiver (son or daughter of an elderly parent), we often think that just by getting nutritious food to our parents, that our parents can take it from there. The reality is that our parents are often resistant to change until we actual SHOW THEM another way. This is best accomplished by actually being there with them to show them how to pre-defrost the meals as our instructions recommend, and then how to best reheat the meals in the oven or the microwave. Unlike frozen TV dinners, Top Chef Meals allows you to customize every component; as such our heating instructions are guides that must be tailored for each microwave wattage or oven characteristics to get the best and tastiest product. Also, realize that we season our meals to the lowest common denominator because the elderly have a wide range of taste sensitivities as their taste buds have changed as they age. What may be way too spicy for one senior has no taste at all to another. Thus, we recommend you help your parents understand this, and help them understand how to augment the seasoning to their individual tastes.
So what do you need to do? Well, if you live close enough to your parent, then try to be there to help them "try-out" the meals for the first time. If you live too far away then, at the very least, insist that you help them throughout the process as they prepare their first meal by being on the phone with them and talking them through the defrosting the night before and the preparation the day of eating. Definitely instruct them to "re-plate” their meals, either before or after heating, onto one of their own dinner plates. This makes the meals seem less strange and more inviting, and helps them gain acceptance. Of course, later, as they become more familiar with Top Chef, they can skip this step if they want to save on having to clean the plate, but many of our clients regularly re-plate every meal for aesthetic reasons.
And when it comes to ordering, what tends to happen most with the 70% of our clientele ordering for a parent, is that they will go ahead and order online for their parent because 1) the parent often feels more comfortable going over the menu with their loved one rather than with us and 2) if the parent is low-tech, they find it easier in general. Plus, this way the caregiver can easily re-order past orders, etc., and set up their account to deliver to the parent. Another bonus? This way caregivers receive emails and texts letting them know when their parent's orders are being shipped, so they'll be able to keep track of everything.
This is how you get less “picky” parents and more happy parents who are eating well and continuing on the road to keeping healthy. It's all in the familiar connections. Have questions for us? Give us a call at 800-616-8044 or email us! Bon appétit!