It doesn’t look like a traditional classroom, but teaching and learning are always in progress there. “The chocolate chip cookies are going to be 2 for 50 cents today. The pretzels are going to be $2 dollars,” says Hospitality Management Professor Lesley Brooks-Bianchi as she works with her students to set prices for that day’s products for sale. Student Megan Garvey (Liverpool HS) is making signs with the prices on them while another student, James Williams (Nottingham HS) is stocking the display case.
Students and faculty are working like a well-oiled machine inside Bechamel, the Hospitality Management majors’ retail store located on the first floor of the Gordon Student Center. Students working there are Hospitality Management majors enrolled in an Entrepreneurship & Hospitality class.
Cookies and other baked goods are the items which draw customers in, but Bechamel has more than baked goods for sale. “If we make soup we might turn it into a stew. If we have an abundance of peppers or cucumbers we turn them into pickles. Everything we sell is made here on the premises,” said Brooks-Bianchi. “Last semester we had specialty oils on the shelf and people were buying them like crazy and buying bread to dip in them,” added Hospitality Management Professor Deb Schneider.
Brooks-Bianchi and Schneider are always looking ahead and asking their students to do the same so the items for sale reflect the time of the year. On this day there are three, large chocolate chip cookies decorated in fall and Halloween colors. Coming soon will be mugs with hot chocolate mixes and marshmallows in them.
Working in retail is just a portion of the Entrepreneurship and Hospitality class experience for Williams and Garvey. Their final projects require creating a business plan with a mission statement, financial plans, organizational charts and marketing plans. Williams is working on plans for a hotel rooftop restaurant located near the State Fairgrounds. Garvey’s focus is weekend culinary classes for people interested in learning how to cook.
The students are also required to come up with something which will be sold in the retail shop. “They have to get their products together, cost it out, create a marketing analysis and market it,” said Schneider. Williams’ is planning to make a dozen scented candles. Garvey will be baking red velvet whoopie pies. Their creations will be on sale in Bechamel Thursday, December 6.
Bechamel is open Tuesday’s and Thursday’s at 10:30 a.m. Credit cards are accepted. When you are there please remember to be patient! Students are learning on the job while they are serving customers.
You can learn more about OCC’s Hospitality Management program here.
If you are interested in supporting OCC students, consider taking part in our “Believe In Better” fundraising campaign.