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Restaurant management laboratory will give students a new kind of classroom


Next month, the Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management will complete construction of a new kind of classroom.

The restaurant management lab was conceived with the intentions of becoming a live classroom in which students will learn the ins and outs of the food production and restaurant managing business.

“We are preparing our students to manage high-end facilities. This lab will give them the tools they need to work at world-renowned restaurants, hotels or their own business,” said Lazaro Gonzalez, the marketing representative for the school.

Students will have hands-on experience in the restaurant’s kitchen, which features a 38-foot main cooking line, the largest to date in South Florida (featured below), various specialized stations for the preparation of items such as pasta, coffee and pastries, the latest cooking equipment and refrigerated units.

Food Production Line626

In addition to the kitchen facilities, the restaurant will have a two-story wine tower with the capacity to hold 800 temperature-controlled wine bottles used for teaching and research purposes. Inside the wine tower, there will be space for a private dining area with lighting provided by a fiber optic chandelier.

Technologically advanced

Focused on facilitating the teaching and learning experience, the lab features state of the art technology. Cameras and monitors surround nearly every inch of the working areas so that instructors can virtually monitor all the students simultaneously.

“With this type of technology, professors can see what’s going on in each area of the lab,” Gonzalez said

But perhaps one of the most fascinating aspects of the technology installed in this laboratory is the combination of the A/V system and fast web streaming system, which will make the live streaming of events and lessons worldwide possible.

“We want to be able to have guest instructors and speakers from around the world connect with our students despite of their location,” Gonzalez said. “We will also stream special lessons and events to our students at the Marriott Tianjin Program in China.”

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Eyes Everywhere: Removable wall tablets monitor and control all the cameras throughout the facility. This allows instructors to see what’s going on in virtually every room at the same time. 

Working the kitchen

The new restaurant lab will prepare students in the restaurant/food production management major, who must take two required food production management courses, by exposing them to all the aspects of the business.

“Food and beverage are a big part of the hospitality industry. That is why we want to provide our students with a well-rounded education,” Gonzalez said.

In order to give students the full restaurant management experience, those taking the advanced food production class will hold dining events during specific dates throughout the semester. The events will he held at the restaurant laboratory, which seats 140 guests, and feature a three-course meal for lunch and/or dinner. The dining events are being held at the Koven’s Conference Center during the construction of the lab.

The restaurant management lab, which is currently under construction as an annex to the existing Southern Wine & Spirits Beverage Management Center, is yet another way in which FIU is striving to be World’s Ahead in all fields.

“We are laying the foundation for the education of students who are going to be tomorrow’s leaders of the hospitality industry, not just here in South Florida but around the world. Students now have an environment where they can incubate new ideas,” said Mike Hampton, dean of the Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management.

For more information on the dining events held by the students of the Advanced Food Service and Management classes, please contact Roger Ledesma at 305-919-4526.

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