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Highlights of the NOVEMBER 2013 Issue




• NACAS On-Campus Hospitality College Foodservice Excellence Award Recipient
Rita LaRue


On-Campus Hospitality has again partnered with NACAS to present the third annual College Foodservice Excellence Award. The award recognizes a higher education foodservice professional who has gone above and beyond to make the dining experience of his or her customers — students, faculty, staff and guests — the best it can be, and has greatly improved food service on the campus or in the industry in general.

This year's recipient of the award, presented on Oct. 27 at the Hyatt Anaheim Marriott in California, is Rita LaRue, Senior Associate Vice President for Drexel Business Services at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pa. In her five years in the position, sales per year have risen from $11.8 million to $27 million per year.

On-Campus Hospitality spoke with LaRue to discuss her career, her current operations and the future for them.

OCH: How do the foodservice operations at Drexel differ now from when you first arrived on campus?

LaRue: When I first arrived on campus in 1994, there was a dining center and a coffee shop, and that was it. I had culture shock in general when I came to University City in Philadelphia. Being from San Francisco, I found there was very little here, considering there are three major universities — the only place to get coffee was the 7-Eleven or the Wawa! By 2007, when I took over Business Services, the campus had five food locations to serve 20,100 undergraduate and graduate students, as well as faculty and staff, and it was evident that modifications and additions were in dire need and operations needed to be adapted to suit the growing, diverse student body and the eclectic Millennial generation.

As Drexel moved from a commuter campus to a residential campus, I developed the 5-Year Campus Dining Master Plan. The plan's mission was to enhance the quality and variety of food services at Drexel, and to redefine campus dining with emphasis on contemporary dining options, new and renovated dining locations, sustainability initiatives, organizational stability and financial success.

One of our biggest challenges was that our residence halls are on the north side of campus and our major dining center, which seats about 550 students, was on the opposite end of campus, so we needed to focus on convenient delivery of service to the residents. I took a small convenience store and grill attached to one of the residence halls and, taking advantage of an already existing infrastructure and therefore decreasing building costs, developed the Northside Dining Terrace, a 5,000-square-foot location with seating for 140, featuring a Chick-fil-A, Currito Burrito, Tsunami Sushi, Subway and a new market — all selected based on feedback from students and data compiled from market research. The Dining Terrace was an immediate success, outperforming expectations by grossing $2.5 million in its first six months and increasing overall customer dining satisfaction by five percent. ...

Read the complete RITA LARUE INTERVIEW ...



CONCESSIONS & CATERING: Getting Ready for the Game


Kevin D'OnofrioPreparing all of the food options — both concessions and catering — is a daunting task. Now throw in a tornado warning, the fact that it is homecoming weekend, and the government — your employer — is in shutdown, and you are not sure if the game is going to happen.

That is exactly what happened when On- Campus Hospitality asked Kevin D'Onofrio, director of Food Service for the Directorate of Cadet Activities (DCA) Culinary Group at the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. (USMA), to keep running diaries of catering and concession preparations for the Army Black Knights' game against Eastern Michigan University on Oct. 12, 2013.

Catering Diary
Catering for Friday, Oct. 11 &
Saturday, Oct. 12: 46 Functions

Friday, 4 Oct.

  • Managers meeting to discuss football events for game
  • Reviewed tailgate menus and adjusted menu items for Superintendent’s tailgate
  • Met with USMA officials for preliminary weather call and inclement weather plan
  • Reviewed contracts for specialty requirements (flowers, linen, desserts, liquor, etc.)
  • Started working on tailgate map and locations
  • Worked on inventory to begin orders next week
  • Transferred food from walk-in cooler to other locations due to cooler at Eisenhower Hall going down
  • Spoke to clients and booked new tailgates
  • Took reservations for community tailgate at First Class Club
  • Accepted and posted payments
  • Arranged delivery of meals for Army Football team to stadium prior to bus departure (away game, Oct. 5) ...

Read the complete CONCESSIONS DIARY ...


WORLD CUISINE: Elon Goes Global


Lakeside Dining HallWith a diverse student population representing 48 countries and 72 percent of students participating in a study abroad program, offering a variety of international cuisines at Elon University in North Carolina seemed only natural.

“Our university is looking at exposing our students to more diverse or global aspects,” said Brad Moore, director of Planning, Design and Construction Management at Elon. “We are looking at environments, but in this particular case, we are looking at different foods, a representation of cultures from all around the world.”

The school is currently building what it calls a Global Neighborhood, which has five residence halls and a Global Commons Building. “There will be foreign language learning communities in these buildings,” he said. “Our International Studies program will be part of that building. It is really a way to expose our students to more diverse and global aspects.”...

Read more ELON GOES GLOBAL ...




Peter WallinSince an early age, food has been an important part of life for Peter Wallin, executive chef at the College of Wooster in Ohio.

“When I was a child, I was exposed to traditional Swedish food,” he said. “My father was first-generation Swedish-American and my mother was second-generation English-Welsh. We did a lot of traditional foods in the home, and a lot of smorgasbords. My mother was quite an avid cook. On my father’s side of the family, my aunt was a baker and chocolatier extraordinaire, so I kind of got brought in. Another thing, too, is that my mother was an early feminist, and she wanted to make sure all three of her boys knew how to cook and do for themselves.”...




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