A Hospitable ‘Home’ for HM Students

Mizzou Campus Dining Services hires many graduates

Over the years, Campus Dining Services, or CDS, has sought to enhance the breadth of the team by hiring staff with various talents and skill sets. As they work to build up their specific food knowledge and increase nutrition and special diet assessment talents, they are focusing on hiring registered dietitians. One trend they also are following is hiring hospitality management alumni, and watching them thrive.

“As we have reviewed our talent pool in the past few years, we aim to hire employees that can assist us in meeting our business goals, and to present more of a ‘restaurant’ atmosphere in our operations,” said Susan Dayton, Manager of Computing and Recruiting Resources. “Hiring Hospitality Management graduates has been very beneficial. The graduates of MU’s Hospitality Management program that have joined our team have brought a great deal of talent and understanding of the business of restaurant management to the mix. Their understanding of menu mix, profit and loss, trend evaluation, and knowledge of the campus and our customer base has all been very beneficial.”

Hospitality management graduates on the CDS team include Justin Fontenot, Syed Hasan, David Carter Lawson, Kara Pennington and Melissa Riggs. 

Pennington, 2002 MU graduate and assistant manager of the Student Center CDS facilities, is among the graduates who found thriving employment at their Alma Mater. She has worked for CDS for 11 years now, and “has enjoyed every minute of it.

“The Hospitality Management program at MU had several classes that have prepared me for my career,” Pennington said. “There was a class where we focused on budgeting, and another class which required us to create a restaurant of our own. This class was my favorite because it took you through every step of creating a restaurant and then at the end of the semester you actually got to see your restaurant come to life! I also feel like I have more of a connection with student staff, especially when they are trying to handle the stress of classes and a part-time job.” 

Riggs, 2004 graduate and manager of Starbucks, Wheatstone Bistro, and Bookmark Café for CDS, has just recently joined the CDS team. Riggs worked at The Cheesecake Factory for nine years before joining CDS in 2013.

“I love working here because of the purpose of the team,” Riggs said. “At CDS, we are here for the faculty and students. I get to teach student employees skills for the future. As a former MU student, I also feel like I understand the system. I know the hot times, prices students are willing to pay, and what kinds of products the students want.”

Melissa Riggs, a Mizzou graduate of the Hospitality Management Program, is the manager of Starbucks, Wheatstone Bistro, and Bookmark Café. She has just recently joined the Campus Dining Services team. Melissa Riggs, a Mizzou graduate of the Hospitality Management Program, is the manager of Starbucks, Wheatstone Bistro, and Bookmark Café. She has just recently joined the Campus Dining Services team.

“I very much enjoy working with students, and helping provide work experiences for them to develop skills that will enhance their academics and assist them in gaining employment after graduation,” Dayton said. “The university also provides a great opportunity for me to continue tapping in to the newest technologies and work theories, which provide an exciting vehicle for my continued learning and growth.”

Dining on campus offers a variety of quality choices to fit any schedule and please all palates. CDS’ award-wining staff provides top-notch service across campus in inviting facilities, according to the CDS website. Mizzou Dining Plans simplify and enhance campus life by saving time and money. Their mission is to nourish the Mizzou spirit through good food, happy people, comfortable places and their vision is to be known for our commitment to excellence and passion for people. Across campus, you will find numerous coffee houses, convenience stores and retail cafes.

The Hospitality Management program at the University of Missouri develops students to be responsible citizens and successful, ethical hospitality leaders in today’s global community. The curriculum is strongly centered on management skills developed in courses that integrate theory and practice across a variety of employment settings.