As we all try to navigate the strain of the labor shortage, we go back to our roots for answers — our food service team members. When the average person changes careers between 5-7 times in their lifetime, it is refreshing to hear stories of employees pursuing their professional potential at one company.
On that note, meet Jennifer Evans, one of the talented members of the Creative Dining team serving at Taylor University in Upland, IN. She began her career in dining as a senior in high school working part-time in the dining hall at Taylor University. In the following years, she attended Taylor to pursue a degree in social work and continued to work in the dining facilities there.
During our chat with Jennifer, she brought up 3 key reasons that she continues to work as part of the Creative Dining Services team.
Key #1: Atmosphere
“I like the social aspect of [the job]. I like being around other people. The staff is friendly and easy to work with.”
Creative Dining Services, the hospitality organization at Taylor University, helped Jennifer create a work schedule that accommodated her classes and time for studying. The flexibility and interest in her well-being that management showed kept Jennifer working at the dining hall and motivated her to succeed. Jennifer decided to stay at Taylor working in dining services even after graduation. Since then, she has been promoted multiple times to reach her current position as Retail Manager.
Key #2: Appreciation
“I have been surprised by how accessible and personable the leadership at Creative Dining is. The President and CEO made it a point to stop by and say hello to me on a trip to our account. That meant a lot!”
If you have been at a busy restaurant or dining hall, you have witnessed the food service rush! Jennifer explains that during those peak times, food service is a fast-paced and challenging place to be. She enjoys these challenges because she feels appreciated by management and her team.
Key #3: Culture
“[Creative Dining] is all about family and honesty. Our core values align with who I am as a person, and the people that I work with are my second family.”
Earlier this year Jennifer was promoted to Retail Manager on the Creative Dining team at Taylor University. In this new role, she takes care of more back-of-the-house responsibilities and is learning new skills to keep the dining experience for the students running smoothly. The support of her team, opportunities to excel, and encouragement from management keep Jennifer motivated.
In a short time, Jennifer worked her way from a line worker to her present management position, and she plans to continue growing in this field. When asked why she has stayed in the dining industry, she reemphasized the importance of company culture.
Atmosphere. Appreciation. Culture.
Jennifer says that these three things all work together to motivate her to excel within the dining industry, and she is! Creative Dining continues to reinvest its efforts to formalize career pathways for team members like Jennifer so they can grow in their professional capabilities and reach their full potential. With a better retention rate than the industry average, Creative Dining is committed to becoming an employer of choice.
Thank you, Jennifer for all your hard work and dedication to creating a positive dining experience for the students at Taylor University and positive force within the Creative Dining team.