Senior living operator Franklin Park spares no expense in the construction of its properties in South Central Texas. Its newest community in Alamo Heights is no exception. Upon walking through the spacious lobby, visitors view an entryway that features a grand staircase reminiscent of a historic San Antonio estate.

So first impressions are usually … impressive. But they also continue to dazzle with a classic water fountain, outdoor courtyard and garden, grand ballroom, theater, billiards room, library with fireplace and a mansion-like ambience throughout the common areas of the community.

With room for 117 independent living and 64 assisted living residents, Alamo Heights is the fifth Franklin Park community in the San Antonio area, a district that CEO Luke Classen concedes has become highly competitive. Attracting prospective residents requires a truly distinctive feature, and he believes Crescendo is it.

Offered through FLIK Hospitality Group, Crescendo is a food service program designed to elevate resident dining beyond the ordinary, says FLIK Division President Jack Silk.

“Today, elevated experiences with a restaurant-style approach are a must,” he says. “High-quality, white-glove service from the dining staff is no longer ‘nice to have,’ but a ‘need to have’ to remain competitive.”

Crescendo — an exclusive program for Franklin Park — is named after a musical term because its designers want to create “a symphony for the senses” with its special meals. Classen reasons that if décor’s purpose is to provide a sensory experience, then food service also should be a critical part of that environment.

“We know that dining is not what most companies dedicate extra resources to, so to beat the competition, we focused on the sensory experience of dining — what does the resident see, taste, smell and hear?” he says. “Food is the common denominator of all our services — if we get the food right, the rest falls into place.”

Professional chefs prepare the gourmet-level meals, and FLIK’s team of food service experts includes nutritionists and clinicians familiar with the special dietary requirements of each resident. FLIK’s food philosophy is to make all meals from scratch, sourcing sustainable ingredients from local purveyors, with “nothing out of a box or can,” Silk says. “This is a food-first approach. We operate restaurants inside senior living communities.”

Interior design serves as a platform for the elevated dining experience, as guests can relax on couches, have a cocktail at the bar and socialize in a comfortable atmosphere. It is precisely the type of experience baby boomers appreciate, Classen says.

“They may not be quite ready to move in yet, but they are key influencers on their parents’ decisions,” he says. “This is a generation who changed society, and they won’t be happy with meat and potatoes.

They want the best-of-class level of food.” In implementing Crescendo, Franklin Park wanted to make a good food program a great one that matches the high-class aspirations of its properties, Classen says.

“Our food service program wasn’t broken,” he insists. “We just wanted to make it exceptional and Crescendo does that.”