Although Roger Least isn’t donning a chef’s coat in the kitchen, he contributes daily to the dining experience at Brightview Senior Living. As the Corporate Director of Dining Services, Least applies lessons from a career in hospitality to managing the vast Brightview dining team.
Least grew up in western New York, and his first job while in high school was waiting tables and working in a restaurant kitchen. He attended college in Buffalo to study communications and considered a career in radio. However, after school, Least moved to South Carolina and started working in the hotel industry. “I started working at the front desk; from there, it grew into my career,” Least said.
As Least moved up the ladder in the hotel industry, he worked in reservations, operations, and food and beverage. He took more of an interest in dining and worked with chefs to grow his culinary skills. Least was working at a hotel in Towson when a chance encounter with a guest led him to interview with Genesis Healthcare. In this role, Least’s passion for bridging the gap between hospitality and healthcare grew.
Least first considered applying to Brightview because of the language used in the job description. “It was very different from everything else, and I immediately knew this organization was different,” he said. Least was impressed with the company’s strong cultural values, and he was excited to apply his passions to improving resident’s lives.
In his current role, Least supports two Regional Dining Services Directors and 45 Dining Services Directors. In addition to aiding menu development and vendor operations, Least helps foster relationships among the dining teams. “We have a wealth of knowledge, experience, and culinary talent,” he said. “The directors can all benefit from learning with one another and having a relationship with one another.”
It is critical for directors to share their information because dining is an incredibly important part of the resident experience in all Brightview communities. “Residents absolutely mark their day by their meals,” Least said. “It gives them a level of consistency they don’t always have.”
Creativity in menu options and visual presentation is essential to the Brightview dining experience. “It’s challenging to serve out of the same kitchen and venue, so we need to make sure what we’re bringing to the table gets people out in the dining room and engaging in the social experience,” Least said. He encourages the teams to bring in their favorite recipes from their background to showcase on the communities’ a la carte menus.
Every community also has an active food committee so that the dining team can hear back from the residents. For Least, these committees are extremely important; his top customer service rule is genuinely listening and hearing feedback. “The root cause may not always be visible, and you may need to dig deeper,” he said.
Outside of work, Least remains a devoted hockey fan. Hailing from New York originally, he started playing ice hockey at age five, and he continues playing today. As the Corporate Director of Dining, cooking and baking for his family is also a huge part of his life. His homemade pizza and pies are some of his specialty dishes. As Least joked, “My wife married me for my apple pie.”
Brightview Senior Living builds, owns, and operates award-winning vibrant senior living communities in eight states along the East Coast: Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Virginia. We offer senior Independent Living, Assisted Living, Enhanced Care, and Wellspring Village®, a specialized neighborhood for people living with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. Schedule a personal visit to experience our communities firsthand.