Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

JUN 2018

Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazines is an industry resource connecting foodservice operators, equipment and supplies manufacturers and dealers, and facility design consultants.

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18 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • JUNE 2018 a pro you should know John Bornoty, The Big Salad, Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich. We thought about how we could work with business classes to make them more real. F ounded in 2008, The Big Salad offers countless customizable salad combinations as well as build- your-own sandwich, soup and wrap options. With locations throughout Michigan, the chain now plans to open 100 stores in metro areas across the country within the next 10 years. Growth will oc- cur largely through its franchise model, in place since 2012. Founder and CEO John Bornoty's current passion involves teaming up with universities, including Madonna University in Livonia, Mich., to introduce a new, reality-based learning project for business majors. Seal the Deal offers students a semester-long project where teams compete to create, design, test and market a new menu item for The Big Salad. The course stems from a successful pilot program at Grosse Pointe North High School. FE&S: How did the business classes come about? JB: Five years ago, we came up with the con- cept because I remember being in business school classes and hating just sitting at a desk with a book while a teacher talks. We found that while many high schools now offer busi- ness classes, they still fall short in this way. We thought about how we could work with business classes to make them more real. My wife is a teacher and that's how she prefers to run her classrooms. That is when the idea of reality-based learning started; our first class was at Grosse Pointe North High School and it was very successful. We have continued to work with that school. FE&S: How does the program work? JB: We typically work with a group of about 30 kids, along with the teacher to integrate the lessons into the curriculum. We give the students a list of all the ingredients we have in the restaurants and the students split into groups to create a new menu item, complete with a marketing campaign. Each group then has one day to sell the product in the designated The Big Salad location. The group that sells the most, wins. During the development process, each group works with our executives and franchisee to help test out their menu item in kitchens before committing to their final creation. While developing their product, we ask each group: Why would someone want to buy this menu item? Is it something they want or something they need? We try to encourage the students to sell customers something they want and tell them why they need it. We also set the price the same for each menu item — and we set it low — so that's not a factor in the success of their sales. Some students have even gone into our restaurants while working on their campaign and talked to customers for market research. Many of the students use social media to do promo- tions, but they will also do some in-store promotions and even dress up and offer samples outside the stores as well. FE&S: Why did you decide to continue to offer a reality-based learning program? JB: We're not doing this to make money — we award the winning team that sold the most menu items with a giant trophy and place their new menu item on our menu. We also provide a donation to the marketing class for technology and school supplies. The kids love it, and we're find- ing many schools love it, too, because it's John Bornoty Founder and CEO The Big Salad Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich.

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