Smaller organizations have unique challenges; especially in dining. There may be pressure to handle decreasing college revenue, student demands, and continuing staffing challenges. Facilities often need updating and capital project money is not available. This creates a need to:
• Increase net.
• Evaluate board plan options and dining offerings.
• Assess staffing, existing skills, workflow.
• Prioritize goals in the context of your resources.
• Evaluate self-operated vs contracted services.
Sometimes staff are hired that don’t have the breadth of skills needed for the long term. It happens because of budget, market, etc. Dining directors at smaller schools are often too busy with daily operations to get after these items and they don't leave for training because of job demands. This happens because they care about their work and know it needs to be done well. This is where Empie Advising, LLC can help. I will work collaboratively and confidentially to help you achieve your goals.
How we Begin
I will tell you the truth. If it’s something I can help you with in a quick call, I’ll do that. You can perhaps hire me later for something else. If there is something we agree that I can do for you, I will customize a plan that focuses on your concerns.
If you simply have a sense that something needs attention and that you might be missing something, call me. This is common and a look through a different lens can be very helpful to you. I assure you I will be straight up with you about this. Life is short-I don’t want to come to your campus and spend time if no help is really needed. Really.
Perhaps you would like to know what you can do to increase your net (doesn’t everyone?) I will come to your institution, look over data, conduct interviews and focus groups as needed. This is often difficult to do yourself because everyone there is already busy 120% of the time. You need assistance, you don’t need another full-time employee.
You may have a specific problem such as staffing for example; you are having trouble getting your food management system up and running; or you want an outside operational review.
I will provide you with a written summary including actionable steps you can take. I will also visit with you, and if you wish, your team or staff, or whatever groups are needed to facilitate discussion. Who receives the findings is up to you.
After you receive my report, you may want to hire me to further assist the director. Follow-through can be the most challenging. Again, it’s often because staff are so busy.
It’s possible that staff might just not want to do something-you will already sense if that is true, but providing support and deeper explanations can help make things happen. Often, it’s not that someone doesn’t want to do something, but they may not know where to start if it’s something they haven’t done before. If what is needed is support and training I may be able to help. A mentor/trainer who knows the business can be most helpful. Dining service requires a broad skill set and a small missing piece can be the key to progress and success.
The reason I started this business is because affordable consulting and advising is not readily available smaller operators. One size does not fit all. Let’s figure out what is needed, give you a map and get going.
Sometimes there are things that need to be done that are holding up progress in other areas: Examples of projects I can complete for you:
“I worked with Margaret for over 20 years and reported to her for 5. She recruited me to be a retail dining manager in a food service that was being remodeled and although it was a scary job transition, I did it-she’s persuasive. Margaret can explain complicated ideas to people in all positions, and is a great trainer. I know-she taught me many skills.
Margaret is smart, clever, and makes me laugh even when times are tough. I think that’s because while she is very serious about her work, she doesn’t take herself too seriously. She’s calm and focused when things are stressful, which is helpful to getting through things and it will serve her well as a business consultant. I think people who have worked for her will say she’s tough and has high expectations-that’s true too. Don’t we all really want to do the best we can? Margaret will be a great adviser and food service consultant for you-she’s been doing it her whole career.”
Carolyn M. Young
Unit manager board plan dining and multiple retail dining units in a student center.