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Running Down a Dream: Running a Restaurant for a Day

This is one of my last projects as an undergrad at Oregon State University.

First, let’s give a big shout out to managers, food production staff, etc. that help restaurant operations run smoothly, because holy shit do you all have a tough job.

As part of my requirements for my degree, nutrition students have to run an on-campus restaurant for one day.  This includes everything, from setting up a theme, to the marketing, and even designing the menu.  Fortunately, I wasn’t alone.  I had a group of very talented people to work with.

Our theme was Thai food (with more of a focus on the Americanized versions, since that is what we were familiar with).  We focused on foods that were simple, quick to make, and we were sure were going to sell.  Some of our highlights include pork meatballs, spicy chicken wings, and pad Thai.  No, our focus wasn’t on making healthy food.

I was in charge of the design elements of the event, seeing as how I had the most technical know-how out of my group.  I we came up with the name “Tongue Thai’d” for our theme name.  As such, I pulled a classic move and modified the Rolling Stones logo for two reasons:  I didn’t want our group to use the raw logo like what was proposed and I liked influencing the event with my rock/metal roots anyway.  I modified the logo by putting a twist on it, as in I made the tongue look like it was knotted or twisted.

Sooner than any of us wanted, we were freaking the fuck out ready for the event.  I was on running duty, meaning I was basically a combination of a bus boy and waiter.  We hit a few snags initially, such as our tea being salty (someone mistook salt for sugar), so we had to prepare new batches and replace and serve them.  We also wound up selling out of a couple of our items, which is a good and bad thing.  Good, because that meant we had a lot of sales, but bad because we potentially lost sales, too.

This is one of those experiences I won’t forget.  The months of planning, tasting recipes and making adjustments, the mistakes and successes made along the way.  All of it is valuable in dietetics practice.  Food service is a very important part, since people like to eat.  People eat in places other than home (such as an on-campus restaurant).  Having a dietician on hand helps with food decisions, such as:  balancing meals, ingredient substitutions, or possibly legislation.

Shout out to the talented people I got to work with on this project.  You all helped to make this project as smooth as possible.  Congratulations on graduating, and may you all do great things in your field!

By The Nutrition Punk

I am a dietitian living in Portland, Oregon. I write about a variety of nutrition and heath topics, with the goal of improving people's understanding of food and nutrition so they may be empowered against all the misinformation that is out there.

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