At the request of the Niagara Frontier Country Club’s board of directors, students in Dr. Joseph Scarcelli’s Special Topics in Hotel and Restaurant Management class (MHR 441) spent four months during the spring 2012 semester analyzing the country club’s food and beverage operation.
Students were granted access to the club’s financial information and asked to determine ways that the business could increase its profits. The students evaluated food, beverage and labor costs, as well as membership levels, special event usage and even the club’s layout, design and decor.
On May 1, the students made a two-hour presentation to the club’s board of directors, which included recommendations on how to improve the club’s problem areas. The board was very impressed, not only with the quality of the students’ work, but also with the amount of quality recommendations they made.
“Your students represented themselves and (Niagara) University with distinction,” wrote Tom Kirsch, a member of the club’s board of directors, in an email to Dr. Scarcelli. “It will take some time and effort on our part to identify and prioritize those items we might want to use. A quick count gives us at least 18 recommendations worth prioritizing as action items. Quite frankly, your group has given us more than we can handle in a single year. GREAT JOB!”
Dr. Scarcelli’s MHR 441 class is intended to provide students with experiential learning opportunities, allowing them to put into practice the skills that they have derived from the classroom. Students essentially are acting as consultants to companies in the industry that they will soon be entering as professionals.
“The response from the country club to the student recommendations has been almost unbelievable in its praise,” noted Dr. Gary Praetzel, dean of NU’s College of Hospitality and Tourism Management. “When you speak about applied learning, it does not get any better than what Dr. Scarcelli accomplished with these students.”
Sue Milleville, a club director who was unable to attend the presentation, added, “I have received feedback from the members of the board who attended the students’ presentation, and they all have the opinion that your students did a phenomenal job. All were very impressed by the overall presentation, the attention to detail along with the interaction as well as the time that they spent on this project.”
For information on Niagara University’s College of Hospitality and Tourism Management, please visit www.niagara.edu/hospitality or call 716.286.8279.