he senior capstone course, HSP MGMT 4985, offered annually during the fall semester, hosted a dinner series throughout the fall semester. This was Instructor Phil Dreshfield’s first semester teaching the course since joining the faculty in January 2015. The course is a five-credit, writing intensive course that also involves an experiential lab.
Students work in teams to develop a branded, pop-up restaurant theme for their assigned dinner series night, but the students also work independently on individual writing assignments. Students are required to work a night in the front of house, a night in the back of house and fulfill a customer service component during the course.
Attendance to the events varied, with the most popular night attracting an estimated 100 guests. Pop-up restaurant themes included: Oktoberfest, Coast to Coast Burgers and an Elegant Taste of Missouri.
“Some of the things [students] learn that I think are referred to these days as ‘soft transferrable skills’ are they have to learn teamwork and work ethic,” Dreshfield said. “They also have to learn that not 100 percent of the times do things go 100 percent well, and I think that little taste of the real world is absolutely essential to part of their education here at Mizzou.”
Along with fulfilling tasks during the event, students have to plan the menu, test recipes and come up with ways to market their night beyond the general ads produced on the CAFNR websites.
“It was up to each one of this year’s six teams to create a marketing plan that matches their brand,” Dreshfield said. “It’s the big picture that tries to take all that they have learned during the years they’ve been here, including the business and marketing courses, and come up with a means of promoting their own event.”
Overall, students walk away with a well-rounded understanding of the restaurant management experience.
“[Students] literally have no choice but to walk away with an appreciation for management abilities. They really do walk away at the end of the semester with an idea of what management is really about when it comes to operating a live, executable event.”
In the "back of the house," Senior Daniel Wismann transports food into a serving pan.
Hospitality Management student Sarina Kirkpatrick displays sides during Nov. 10 dinner.
Student Sarina Kirkpatrick prepares to serve guests.
Students wait on guests during Oct. 20 dinner in Eckles Hall.