Purdue University’s newly created Purdue Dining & Catering department is more than up to the task of providing daily meals to more than 40,000 students and staff daily.
The department, formed in 2012 by the university’s department of housing and foodservices, consolidates dining, catering and support operations that formerly fell under the supervision of different departments. “We want to optimize what we do and create efficiencies in procurement, what we make, how we make it and the systems we use to do that,” says Director of Dining Greg Minner, who was hired in August 2012 to lead the operation.
A decade ago, the words “healthy eating” would make some people wince because it immediately brought to mind images of bland tofu, sprouts and chalky protein bars. But even with those preconceived notions standing against it, the owners of Muscle Maker Grill have managed to build a thriving business that gives healthy eating a new definition.
“Our greatest challenge is to get people to recognize that you can eat great food that tastes great and doesn’t kill you,” says Rod Silva, founder and CEO of Muscle Maker Grill headquartered in Colonia, N.J. “Our healthcare system is so expensive because people don’t take care of themselves. People think eating healthy too expensive, too inconvenient and that healthy food doesn’t taste good. Well, we have something that’s affordable, easy, tastes great and is convenient.”
The Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt story may not yet have decades of history behind it, but it does illustrate how quality products, exceptional service and a strong business model can drive growth and success. The Menchie’s experience began in 2007 with the opening of its first location in suburban Los Angeles. Around the world today, the organization has more than 300 locations and more than 250 stores in development.
With more than 12 restaurants and a lease already signed for a 13th location, Here To Serve Restaurants’ owner and executive chef Tom Catherall offers a variety of concepts and cuisines to diners throughout the Atlanta metropolitan area. No matter what the fare or the price point, however, Director of Operations David Abes says the pervasive theme at each location is the hospitable atmosphere maintained by more than 1,000 employees trained to treat each customer like a member of the family.
"'Fun for all and all in fun’ is the attitude at the core of every Dick’s Last Resort (DLR) Restaurant,” President Ralph W. McCracken says. These outrageous, irreverent restaurants have for some 28 years been mixing good food and drink with a unique way of entertaining and making memories for guests.
From the moment guests enter one of DLR’s 13 restaurants, they find themselves in a self-proclaimed “Three-Ring-Circus” where the servers do much more than just take orders and deliver food. That is why all of Dick’s servers don’t merely interview for their jobs; rather, they actually audition for them. “Our servers are happy and naturally gregarious,” McCracken says. “They are also creative and adjust their keen sense of humor to their audience. In a restaurant with an average of over 300 to 400 seats, you are going to have a lot of different personalities and different age groups, so our servers must to be able to adapt to that environment.”
There are many concepts that offer both dining and entertainment, but none have the legacy that Dave & Buster’s has, President and COO Dolf Berle says. Based in Dallas, the company operates 61 locations in more than 20 states that feature large Midways (the D&B name for arcades) and signature entrees, burgers and cocktails.
CEO Steve King says the company’s history goes back to 1982, when founders Dave Corriveau and Buster Corley joined forces. Corley owned a restaurant in a shopping mall, and Corriveau owned an arcade and pool hall that was located across from the eatery.
Wild Wing Cafe is a little bit country, a little bit rock ’n’ roll, folk, soul, jazz and a myriad of music styles, depending on the location and the night. From its inception in 1990, Wild Wing Cafe has promoted its great wings and made-from-scratch food paired with live entertainment in most restaurants.
Today, the company started by Cecil and Diane Crowley has 13 company-owned and run restaurants and 21 franchises offering great wings and a platform for up-and-coming musicians to make their mark.
You can find it at grocery stores neatly arranged in mini-trays or watch it being made fresh sitting at a bar. Depending on the location, one order of it can cost $5 or $50 and it can be made with a variety of ingredients. Sushi historically may be a Japanese staple, but today’s Americans are adopting it in droves – so much so that even convenience stores, which are not known for their plethora of healthy, fresh, sophisticated cuisine, have started stocking it in refrigerated shelves.