Crazy Enough for Catering? A Look Into Catering and Fine Dining Management
As a Hospitality Management major, you spend your time at USF taking countless classes on the hospitality industry. You learn how to optimize revenue in hospitality companies, how to excel in providing customer service, how to develop into industry professionals and there is even a course on creating our own restaurant.
These hospitality courses are all designed to help us learn and acquire the many different skills needed when entering and working in the hospitality industry.
Starting as freshmen, we take professional development courses to learn how to interview, how to network and hold ourselves as professionals. The hands-on experience this major provides is astounding, as we have real-life hospitality experience as opposed to solely learning in a classroom.
Business 487, Catering and Fine Dining Management is our senior capstone project, and is the epitome of a hands-on learning course that gives us the opportunity to put all we’ve learned at USF to the test.
This course is known among hospitality majors as the best and worst class you will ever take. The stress, lack of sleep and absolute insanity, mixed with a wonderful sense of teamwork, hospitality experience, and excitement makes this one of the most unique classes at USF. Throughout the semester, students learn the ins and outs of event planning by working together to plan and execute four separate events. Students are provided with a budget and given a few weeks to put together the best event they possibly can.
Each of the four events has a group of managers responsible for the Front-of-House (FOH) and Back-of-House (BOH). This includes two Dining Room Managers, a Chef, a Sous Chef and a Controller. These five students make all decisions for the event with the help of instructors Jeff Scharosch and Executive Chef Jean-Marc Fullsack. Each student is assigned a managerial role for one of the four events. With the help of fellow classmates, student managers have the opportunity to plan menus, experiment with different recipes, decorate event space, learn how to serve and even learn how to bartend, all while learning how to budget and manage employees in the process.
Most recently, the students planned and worked the Downton Abbey themed Dean’s Dinner on March 5 in the Handlery Room on the Lone Mountain campus. Celia Pellegrini, a Dining Room Manager (along with Simone Aguilar) explains, “The Deans Dinner requires a lot of organization. Simone and I learned how to organize tasks and people efficiently so that everything was in place by the time start of the event. We learned how important training is and that communication is crucial. Overall, this event turned out amazing, but would not have been possible without everyone’s hard work!"
The absolute chaos that takes place during this course is an extremely accurate depiction of what life is like in the industry. The hospitality industry is an incredibly fast-paced, busy and exciting industry to be in, but it takes a lot of time and training to keep up with it all, which is why I feel this class is the perfect hospitality management senior capstone project. We develop the skills we will need to successfully become a part of the industry. Call us crazy, but the fast-paced, stressful, busy work environment is exactly what we as soon-to-be full time hospitality professionals want.
The Hospitality Management major as a whole really goes above and beyond in preparing students for life as a hospitality professional. Chef Fullsack, who has been teaching this course for 17 years states, “The Business 487 class is the cornucopia that brings together all that the students have learned in their hospitality classes and uses it to challenge themselves to become the very best that the program has to offer. While creating and executing the catering events in this class, students end up forming friendships and memories that will last a lifetime. "
As my senior year rapidly approaches, I am becoming more and more excited to start the capstone project, standing next to the friends I’ve made at USF, experiencing the industry we love and gaining knowledge that will last us a lifetime. It’s the perfect way to send us out in to the industry and set us up for success!
To view pictures of Dean's Dinner: https://www.facebook.com/