ManageFirst at the Food Bank of Delaware

August 2, 2016

By Kim Turner, Communications Director

Many don’t know, but the Food Bank of Delaware is more than just a warehouse that distributes food to a network of hunger relief partners. One day we envision a community free of hunger where families are not in need of our emergency food services. To accomplish this goal, we provide an array of workforce development training opportunities for Delaware’s food service industry.

On June 20, 2016, we began offering the National Restaurant Association’s ManageFirst curriculum. This 10-week curriculum is designed for individuals working in the food service industry who are interested in attaining additional skills to increase their pay and position within the field. The focus on the ManageFirst curriculum is to provide students with the next level of training who have been working in the field already in order to progress in their profession.

Each week includes five days of two-hour classes on a specific core credential topic. The curriculum allows for individuals to select from the core credential topics in a menu style format choosing single selections if not interested in the entire five credential program. For students who choose to take a single class in a subject area their class time will total 20 hours. Students who enroll in the entire curriculum will receive a total of 100 hours of training. Students also have the opportunity to earn the ManageFirst Credential.

Classes include:

  1. Controlling Foodservice Costs (Mondays): Manage and forecast profitability
  1. Hospitality and Restaurant Management (Tuesdays): Manage team members and information flow
  1. Hospitality Human Resources Management and Supervision (Wednesdays): Manage team members and comply with legal requirements
  1. Customer Service (Thursdays): Manage guest experience
  1. Hospitality and Restaurant Marketing (Fridays): Business promotions, marketing and advertising

Chef Instructor Tom Craft teaches the Newark class, while Executive Chef Tim Hunter teaches the Milford class.

I had the opportunity to sit in on Chef Tom’s marketing class a few weeks ago. I sat in for the entire two-hour session and learned a lot! Chef Tom brings a different perspective to the class as he not only works full-time at the Food Bank as one of our Newark chef instructors, but he is also co-owner of 2Fatguys, a restaurant with locations in Hockessin, Greenville and North Wilmington. As Chef Tom reviews the important subject matter from the ManageFirst marketing textbook, he also weaves in his own experience as a restaurant owner. His students appreciate the insight.

Students in the Newark ManageFirst marketing class have diverse experience which also adds to the class discussion. Three students work at Del Pez Gastropub in Newark, one at a nursing home in Maryland, and Otis West, a recent Culinary School graduate, will soon begin work at 2Fatguys.

“It helps me understand the in and outs of the restaurant,” said West, who is taking all five classes. “Chef Tom’s experience is invaluable. This is what he does on a daily basis. He can give me more insight than others. I think this is going to give me a hand up on a lot of people. I will already know how to plug in formulas and do pricing. I know how to do projections. I know how to price the plates and do the ordering. This is a tremendous help.”

On this particular day of instruction, the students learned the importance of segmenting their demographic as part of their marketing strategy. Restaurant managers must understand who their customer is in order to make the right decisions about what to offer on the menu, how much to charge and more.

Chef Tom pointed out that restaurants cater menus to their targeted demographics. He used an example of authentic Mexican food. Many Mexican restaurants in the United States will cater to their customers by “Americanizing” the menu. For example, goat head is a delicacy in many cultures, but a goat head soup may not appeal to many American taste buds, so you most likely won’t find it at your local Mexican restaurant.

Chef Tom encourages his students to be adventurous with their taste buds, but also aware of what the majority of customers will consume.

“Goat brain… I was just blow away by how freaking fantastic it was,” he told the students. “Now I am hungry for some brain!”

In addition to sharing some laughs, Chef Tom covered a lot of ground in the two-hour class. He closed the day’s session by explaining how to write a business plan and all of the critical components of this necessary business document. Using his own experience writing the business plan for 2Fatguys, Chef Tom discussed some of the obstacles he encountered during the start-up phase of his business.

The first ManageFirst session concludes on August 26 and plans are currently underway to schedule a second class later this year! Be on the lookout for dates! To learn more about ManageFirst, please click here.



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