Cora Fake's ePortfolio

Executive Summary
Professional Development Experience
Cora Fake
Nutrition and Food Service Management

During the summer of 2011, I took part in a Profession Development Experience (PDE) at Harvard University Hospitality and Dining Services (HUHDS) as an intern through the National Association of College and University Food Services (NACUFS). They are one of the largest departments within Harvard University and one of the oldest collegiate food service in America. HUHDS has nearly $56 million in annual food service revenue and ranks third among self-operated college food service departments in the country. They serve an average of 27,000 meals a day during the academic year. In order to serve their customers they employ 650 culinarians and customer service professionals. They also have support professionals in the areas of marketing, finance, human resources, IT, and purchasing. There are four main divisions serving the Harvard Community: Retail Dining, Crimson Catering, Residential Dining and Crimson Cash.  I had many supervisors because I worked at various facilities throughout my PDE but they all reported back to Rudolf Gautschi who is the Director for Residential Dining.

I constructed one learning objective, along with activities that I could participate in to enhance my learning and methods to prove my accomplishments. My objective was to learn the skills needed to manage different dining service facilities – from catering to residential and retail dining. I planned on working at different facilities for “hands-on” experience, interviewing managers to understand the difference between residential, retail, and catering, attending different planning meetings, and attain a certification in allergy awareness.

My responsibilities changed from location to location depending upon where they had me stationed. For instance, I was stationed as a cashier, checker, and as a general service employee. All of which have different responsibilities. Yet throughout the entire experience I was expected to at least maintain a professional attitude at all times, ask questions, take daily notes on what was learned and on all discussions, and assist fellow employees, supervisors, and managers where needed.

I had one main project given to me by my supervisor at Annenberg Dining Hall. My fellow intern and I were to conduct a job analysis and create a report of procedures and policies fulfilled by the salad and pantry preparation workers. The purpose of this project was to standardize the policies and procedures in the panty and salad position. We finalized our project by writing up a job description report that may be used for future job applicants.

I had a smaller project that consisted of writing a week’s menu for Annenberg Dining Hall. This project took into consideration the amount of proteins, vegetarian options, grains and fruits the dining hall is supposed to incorporate into their daily meals. This was very interesting because they do not follow the recommendations given by the USDA’s food pyramid. They follow what the head of the nutrition department suggests. Apparently the Harvard Nutrition Department has done studies that have shown less meat consumption (than is recommended by the USDA food pyramid) is better for you. When this was brought up to the USDA they did not want to change it because it would hurt the meat business. So instead, HUHDS follows what the head of the Nutrition Department proposed.

Coming into this internship, I had knowledge of the retail side of food service industry outside of a campus setting as well as in a campus setting. I also had taken a class called Food Service which exposed me to the different aspects of college and university food service industry. During the internship, I got to have hands on experience of retail, residential, and catering services. At the end of my internship, I felt I had a greater understanding and appreciation for the software and processes used to make sure these restaurants can function properly. I also gained and appreciation for people who do basic jobs such as general service. These jobs required you to refill pans of food on a line for students. Although this may seem rather simple, when you are feeding almost 4,000 students a day it can be quite an experience.

Future Plans
As a result of my PDE, I have come to recognize my likes and dislikes along with my strengths and weaknesses. Retail is where I really seem to excel and feel most comfortable at and so I concluded that this is the path I would like to continue following. I also found that residential dining was different yet something I could possibly do if need be. I found residential dining to be a little bit more impersonal when it comes to customers, yet challenging because of the quantity of food and people. On the other hand, I found that I did care for catering at all. Catering is a lot more detailed oriented and particular. Catering requires you to be more up to date on all sorts of trends. You cannot be knowledgeable about just food trends, but you have to know fashion trends. Although I can see the importance of this in retail and residential, it is absolutely crucial to catering. I found it tedious and meticulous.

I found that many of my classes have become useful to me. Particularly my Food Service, Principles of Management, Computer Applications, Human Resource Management, and Applied Mathematics for Management classes were proven to be particularly helpful. Through this internship, I was able to see many things I learned in class put into action in a real life situation. I saw managers deal with employees in good and bad ways; I saw how revenue and profit play a large part in a business, and saw and used inventory software to name a few examples. If a student were to do an internship like mine, I would suggest they take all the courses listed above. At the bare minimum, they should at least take Food Service.

In conclusion, I feel like this PDE has revealed to me many opportunities within the college and university food service industry. I do not feel that I would be prepared to enter into the field right now but I do feel as if I am better prepared than I would have been if I did not do this internship.

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