One of the most memorable consulting/training sessions I’ve ever done was with Brigham Young University in Provo, UT last May. They have two main brands – BYU Catering and BYU Food To Go.
I had never been to Provo before and was truly struck by the beautiful BYU campus with the magnificent Rocky Mountains in the background. Even more memorable were the people I meet over my three-day visit. The BYU campus has 30,000 plus students. Here is a paragraph form the BYU website:
Brigham Young University seeks to develop students of faith, intellect and character who have the skills and the desire to continue learning and to serve others throughout their lives. Established in 1875, the university provides an outstanding education in an atmosphere consistent with the ideals and principles of its sponsor, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Campus foodservice and catering at BYU is a combination of science and hands-on culinary talent. They make the vast majority of their menu items from scratch. The school operates one of the largest cook-chill operations I’ve ever seen – simply amazing. I watched (with hairnet in place) as thousands of fresh bagels and GALLONS of ice cream were being produced.
The culinary team is dedicated to taste and quality. While they have the same challenges that face caterers in general and college foodservice professionals in particular, I was very impressed with the catering team and the products and services they produce and serve.
One quickly realizes that the catering team is truly interested in success and happy guests. I saw the true spirit of hospitality in the eyes and actions of the catering team members. It was real and not just put on for my visit. During my meetings with the sales, operations, and culinary teams I quickly realized that they each understood the importance they played in creating memorable events for people.
One of the more unique experiences for me was when I casually mentioned at lunch that I hadn’t really had a chance to see or taste the catering teams range of menu items. What surprised me is that after a phone call was made to Banquet Chef Adam Jones from Catering Manager Kirk Rich requesting some samples for me to try, I was standing at a table filled with tasting plates within one hour of the call… very impressive indeed!
I’ve had the pleasure of working with many different college/university foodservice departments in North America, but BYU would rank in the top three that I’ve ever consulted with. If you are ever traveling to Provo and wish to see an amazing catering operation, please contact me.