Be Our Guest! – Meal Services Offer Hands-On Learning

Williamson Employees

PHOTO | Amber King

Williamson’s dining room is in full swing this semester. The Advanced Food Preparation and Guest Service Management classes prepare meals and deliver dining service to faculty, staff, students and visitors.

The no-profit dining laboratory has 80 seats and is a learning experience for students who offer lunch and dinner service. This laboratory provides hands-on experience in the service industry for students.

“We often would prepare by role-playing before services to help get rid of nervousness,” Terry Self, from Hartman, said.

“Before starting dinner services, we would attend class and go over materials to help provide us with informative information. There is no definite preparedness; we could learn all day long about service management. The only way to prepare for events is by doing,” Self added.

This is just a small amount the students do to prepare for these events and provide guest service to the public.

“This is a learning experience for everyone. The students can learn about the program if interested in the hospitality aspect,” Self said

“Students can come to experience a real-life lab setting, and the same goes for faculty and staff. Not only does this lab benefit learning, but the proceeds are also put back into the department. Tips are put into a scholarship,” Self said.

The Russellville community plays a vital role in this class by allowing students to provide guest service and helping fund the Walter Williams Scholarship.

The Renee Walters and Julia Williams Memorial Scholarship recipients are selected each year for those who have declared a major in hospitality administration and have successfully met the requirements.

“I want to own my own restaurant or coffee and tea shop. There is the cashier, hostess, beverage manager, expeditor, and server. You get the experience of doing all that and seeing what you prefer best and what you need to work on,” Chinyere Boyce from Russellville said.

The program is set in place to prepare students for life after college and their career paths.

“Expect the unexpected for sure. Every event will be different. Just breathing and staying focused will get you through the events. Being able to learn from your mistakes will better grow you for the next events,” Self said.