Marketing Institute - Emily Asher

Marketing Institute - Coca Cola Headquarters!

Let me start out by saying that every aspect of the Marketing Institute was valuable. This past December was a wonderful learning experience, as well as an enjoyable one.

I feel that I benefitted from the conversations within the group concerning existing strategies, as well as what’s new and trending. I obtained new and important skills that should prove invaluable in educating our students about our dining programs,  along with options that are in use by other universities. I found the interaction and exchanging of ideas, regarding what others were doing, most helpful.

Marketing is always changing, so, the need to match our targeted audience should be changing as well. Branding, Communication Planning, Integrated Marketing, Social Media, and Photography need to continue to evolve in order to utilize the latest innovations. I look forward to implementing some of these strategies, enabling the promotion of our services to the student population with the best achievable results.

Our instructors, Jennifer, Lynn, and Ray did a great job. Special thanks to my Director Paula Amols for allowing me to participate in the Marketing Institute, also, thanks to NACUFS for providing such an interesting and informative session along with Coca Cola for a wonderfully positive environment for the institute. I’m definitely looking forward to attending more NACUFS Institutes in the future.


Emily Asher
Manager of Data & Communications
Murray State University

NACUFS Leadership Institute June 2016

Upon my arrival at the airport in Ohio, I was welcomed and greeted by Richard Clow. Richard’s personality and presence was wonderful. Richard represented a wonderful first impression and introduction to the Leadership Institute. Michele Stinson greeted everyone at the hotel, she was very friendly and welcoming.

The Institute was held at the Nestlé’s Corporate Headquarters in Ohio. Ms. Michele Stinson and Mr. Richard Clow, were the co-facilitators of the Institute. While at Nestle, we were able to try some items from their Stouffers, Chef Mate and the Minors brands. The hospitality and food experience provided by Nestle was amazing and I believe an amazing example in hospitality, which every company should strive for.

The speaker from the Effectiveness Institute was Mr. George Myers, he was an amazing instructor. I never attended an NACUFS Institute and the first day of class was a little intimidating for me. George made all of the classes entertaining, as well as very informative.

George covered many topics, however, there were three main topics that I was interested in implementing, that would better myself in my personal development as a Foodservice Supervisor.

The three skills were:

1. First, to use less of an “old” manager style of supervising. This could be obtained by building “new” style leadership skills, by working toward being more of a mentor, advisor, and facilitator. I can use information obtained from the Institute to try to focus on approaching my responsibilities and subordinates with more of a “new” leadership style.

2. Secondly, the largest topic covered by the Institute that I found the most helpful, was the behavior styles. It taught me to quickly assess the category that the individual would fall into, in a given instance. Making it easier to communicate effectively, making sure that yours and the individual’s personal needs are met. The ultimate goal is usually the same, however, the behavior styles strive to reach or understand that goal, using completely different attributes. Everyone’s style can and will change, based on the situation at hand. I was provided the necessary skills to adjust my approach with each individual, as needed.

3. Thirdly, the final topic that resonated with me, was to further develop my in the moment constructive feedback, mainly by asking for accountability from that individual. I can use the four steps that were presented in the Institute: starting with “I”, stating how I was feeling, explaining why I have that feeling and to ask for clarification on their end.

It was wonderful to have a wide variety of individuals from different areas of the food and hospitality business. With employment titles consisting of: directors, managers, supervisors, dietitians, executive chefs, catering, and training coordinators. I felt I was able to utilize the other participant’s professional experience to improve upon my own experiences. I would like to personally thank NACUFS, Nestle, and The Florida Institute of Technology for this incredible opportunity.

Britney Young

Dining service Supervisor

Florida Institute of Technology

FoodService Management Experiences

NACUFS Food Service Management Institute                         June 6-10                                Buffalo, NY

 The Food Service Management Institute (FMSI) was held in Buffalo, NY at the Rich’s Innovation Center. For 21 years now Rich’s has graciously hosted this event.  I had an amazing time while attending this institute. The curriculum was challenging at times, but that is the point isn’t it? To challenge ourselves and learn something new. To connect with people in our field and gain new perspective on food and service.

Mike Joseph (a.k.a. Magic Mike) and Amanda Harris were very welcoming and accommodating all week. They got everyone immersed into the idea of what it is to be in the business of Food Service. Julaine presented material on everything from organizational structure all the way up to menu planning and budget analysis. After this institute, I definitely have a new found respect for what my director does on an on-going basis with putting together a budget for our department.

Our team was given the task of adding a virtual residential dining to a campus with 6500 students on the current meal plan. This virtual meal plan did not currently offer “All You Care To Eat” and they were seeing a drop in declining balance sales. The board in our scenario had decided to tear down two of its residential living facilities and build a new one in their place. This new living facility would house 900 students and have a dining facility in close proximity. We were to come up with the specs and layout for this dining facility and basically build it from the ground up.

While this task was somewhat daunting at first, we started to brainstorm and our team began to really come together for the first time.  We worked very well together and everyone had such great ideas. In the middle of planning our residential dining facility, the FMSI team hit us with a curve ball and told us that we would be creating a menu for a Pizza operation and that we had less than 24 hours to come up with a name, menu, and pricing structure. We also had to come up with a product order and we would have to prepare our creations for approximately 100 of Rich’s team members the next day. Luckily we were able to stay in our current teams and come up with our “pop-up” Pizza concept.

FMSI allows us to not only grow in our field but also in our relationships with those in our field.  I love attending the conferences but I never really feel like I get a chance to really get to know my colleagues. This institute allowed me to work side by side with 6 other individuals that represented different aspects of food service and gave me a greater picture of what is taking place in universities across the nation. Friendship is probably my biggest take-away from this whole experience.

- Amy Crump


NACUFS Food Service Management Institute                         June 6-10                                Buffalo, NY

I can only imagine the discussion that took place when my application to the NACUFS Food Service Management Institute was reviewed, since my foodservice experience is limited to having been a hostess 35 years ago, in high school. 

Prior to attending FSMI, I had no idea what HACCP was or how to pronounce it, wasn’t exactly sure what an impinger was (though I’d signed a few purchase orders for them) and thought that a 3-compartment sink allowed 3 people to wash dishes simultaneously.  As an assistant vice chancellor with oversight for Vanderbilt University’s dining operation, my perspective of foodservice was through the lens of budgets and operating reports, along with front-of-house dining experiences.  I thought that the opportunity to attend FSMI would yield a deeper understanding of essential foodservice operations, so that I could better support and advocate on behalf of our amazing dining operation.  Fortunately, I was chosen for the program and emerged with greater respect for our dining team, as well as a greater knowledge and appreciation for their work and dedication. 

The 21 years of experience in hosting FSMI is apparent in every aspect of the program.  The lessons and materials are timely and relevant, the scenarios are realistic (with surprises!) and the capstone project provided hands-on experience to drive home the learning outcomes achieved in the classroom. 

I had the pleasure of serving on Team Retail, along with an incredibly talented group of foodservice professionals.  The goal of our first team meeting was to develop a mission statement for our virtual concept.  Though we were sleepy and hardly knew one another, we galvanized as a group and created a vision for our concept, from which we developed our mission statement.  There was an immediate feeling of safety in the group and respect for each other’s ideas.  Throughout the week, our personalities and talents came through and we had an appreciation for the contributions that each member brought to the group. 

Throughout the week, our instructors utilized a variety of teaching styles as we learned about organizational structures, financial reporting and analysis, forecasting and pricing and my favorites, menu engineering and cost controls.  There were hands-on applications for marketing and merchandising, food presentation and menu development.  Magic Mike had us laughing while we learned and Julaine was thorough and patient as we covered the lessons on budgeting, forecasting and reading and interpreting operating reports.

I had a bit of an “aha” moment as I learned about HACCP – my office is at the start of launching a project to create dashboards for dining management, to help them monitor and control expenses.  I realized that just as there are critical control points to monitor for the health of our students and guests, there are critical control points that must be monitored for the health of our financials.  Using HACCP as an analogy for financial monitoring (FACCP!) will put the concept in familiar terms for our managers.  This will result in a far better understanding than using financial terms like KPIs, benchmarks or metrics.  Thanks to FSMI, I can now speak a bit of foodservice management language!

On Thursday, just as we thought that we were hitting a groove on our retail project, we found out that we had 24 hours to write a menu, order ingredients, develop a budget and pricing, order equipment and open a sub shop – yikes!  Once again, we pulled together as a group and kept one another on track, even during the surprises.  My eyes were opened to the level of orchestration involved and when the doors opened, we were ready!  Our meatball subs were a hit and we were pleased at the level and quality of feedback we received.

By the time that Friday arrived, our team felt great about our presentation and our concept.  However, many of the folks in our group had not done much public speaking.  Finally!  An area where I had more experience!  In addition to the lesson and practice exercise that we did as a class, I shared some of the techniques that I use prior to speaking.  Everyone did so well!  I was proud of each member of the team and honored to stand with them. 

FSMI was a profound experience for me and I am so thankful to Julaine and Magic Mike, and our facilitators and mentors, whose tireless efforts were noted and appreciated.  Thanks also to Rich’s for all that they do to make the FSMI possible and to NACUFS, for investing in the craft of foodservice by developing the talents of those who have a passion for nourishing and building community.

- Laura Nairon 


Southern Regions Presidents Message

Dear Southern Region Members,

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Membership Survey.  Your feedback is vital as the process to chart the future progresses.   You will continue to see the development of stronger programs and services to the members as NACUFS continues to transition to ONE NACUFS. 

With the addition of a New Year, I hope everyone is ready to “Race into the Future!”  The Regional Conference, in Murray, Kentucky on March 20 – 22, 2016, is quickly approaching.  The education sessions and networking is sure to be a winner.  The vendor showcase offers plenty of opportunity to see the latest trends.  The entertainment will be mesmerizing!  Be sure to register today.  I look forward to seeing everyone in beautiful Murray!

Deadlines!  Here are a few that you will want to jot down…2016 Institute applications are currently being accepted.  Please apply or encourage your staff members to apply to these outstanding, one-of-a- kind educational workshops.  Deadline is March 4!

Share your ideas and promote your campus by submitting an entry to the Loyal E. Horton Awards.   The deadline is April 1, 2016.

Mark your calendar for the annual National Conference this summer, July 13 – 16.  The conference falls a little earlier on the calendar this year but will be nothing short of a great conference in Anaheim, CA.  Come get inspired at the IDEA’16 conference!

Many thanks to all the volunteers in the Southern Region!  Your dedication and hard work are appreciated by all.  Volunteering is a rewarding and fun way to be engaged with the association and the members.  The region will be gearing up for the 2017 National Conference hosted by our very own region in Nashville and will need the help of many volunteers.  If you are interested in volunteering, please feel free to contact me. 

Best wishes,

Susan van Ggich,

Southern Region President


Customer Service Institute 2015 by Michele Stinson


Michele Stinson

Marketing & Merchandising

Texas Tech University Hospitality Services


Customer Service Institute 2015

Customer Service Institute 2015 was one of the best experiences I have had in a long time!  I had the opportunity to not only network with people from other institutions from all over the country, reconnect with some friends from other institutes and conferences and to build friendships that will last long beyond the final project.

It was a week of learning about (and experiencing!) Customer Service from the best in the business:  Ritz-Carlton. During the course of the institute, the ladies and gentlemen of the Ritz.  We were privileged to get a back-of-the-house tour with Chef Melissa on one of their busiest nights of the year.  She began the tour with a champagne toast in the lobby to kick-off our stay at the Ritz-Carlton.  Then she took us through a maze of their 5 kitchens.  The kitchen crews all welcomed us with open arms, even as they prepared for two large weddings in addition to accommodating the requests of a number of VIP guests, including the Arizona Cardinals football team.  Each team prepared samples for us as we came through their areas.

Much of the week was spent in the conference/meeting room at the Ritz, learning from Julaine Kiehn and Donna Boss.  We also took a tour of True Manufacturing, and that was such a treat!  It was fascinating to see how the coolers we use in our operations are made.  TJ Schier talked to the class one day about moving from Extra Ordinary to Extraordinary.  In addition to these great speakers, Dane Roller from the Ritz shared “The Gold Standard Philosophy” of the Ritz-Carlton with us and ended with an actual Daily Lineup with many of the ladies and gentlemen who were on the job that particular morning.  All the speakers were very engaging and informative.

The five days spent in St. Louis with a great group of people was definitely one of the highlights of 2015.  I learned so much about customer service and how to apply the principles we learned in my job at Texas Tech University.  The final project  helped me take what I learned and put it into practice as part of the marketing/promotions team at TTU.  One of the big things I took away is the idea that serving our internal customers (employees) is crucial to great customer service overall.  If we value our employees, they will value themselves and our external customers even more.

I want to take this opportunity to thank Texas Tech University and TTU Hospitality Services for allowing me to have this incredible experience.  I hope they find it was money and time well spent!