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Student in the Marriott Dining Room

Learning With Purpose

The hospitality industry touches all aspects of business, and with a global projected job growth of 9.3 percent by 2022 the opportunities are endless.

Widener students use their hospitality management degrees to pursue a magnitude of careers from event planning and restaurant/hotel management to sales and even health services.

Our students are trained to become confident managers through advanced experiential learning models; in fact, hospitality management students operate their own restaurant on-campus at the Widener Marriott Dining Room.

The full-service restaurant and kitchen serves as the laboratory setting for a series of courses where students take full responsibility for a semester-long lunch and dinner series that is open to the public.

“I’ve always been a hands-on learner, so having this class was great for me,” explained Lauren Randall, who graduated in May with a degree in hospitality management. “I would recommend our program because that type of experiential learning goes across the entire curriculum.”

Students work together to design themes for the weekly lunch and dinner services and track financial results. The management teams also research the recipes, and assign the production of these items to their classmates through a detailed strategic plan.

“So there is a huge emphasis on teamwork,” said Olivia Suarez, a 2016 hospitality management graduate.

Students also serve in different restaurant positions from week to week. Randall said this gives students a chance to experience what it takes to be successful in the hospitality field from the top down.

“You learn to manage and be managed,” Randall said of her experience serving in positions such as general manager, cook, and server.

Suarez added this broad teaching model allows hospitality students to hone in on their specific career goals.

“That’s why the experiential learning model helps,” noted Suarez.

But students said they also get a lot of training from the hospitality management faculty. The series of dining room courses begins with learning the more fundamental rules of running a restaurant, and progresses to teaching students how to manage a four-course gourmet meal.

Junior Tyler Virgilio compared Widener’s Marriott Dining Room environment to bowling with the bumpers on.

“The faculty want you to find your own solutions, especially if you are in a management role,” Virgilio said of his experience working in the dinning room. “It’s your job to make sure everything goes smoothly.”