Restaurant Development Students Research, Present Sustainable Beverage Options for Chipotle Mexican Grill

Several Chaplin School students got a taste of the real world this semester. Students in Dr. Michael Cheng and Professor Joel Feigenheimer’s restaurant development classes took part in The Chipotle Mexican Group Sustainability Challenge. The project was designed to investigate sustainable beverage options around eight topic areas: locally sourced, organic, sugar/high fructose corn syrup, fountain soda, non-GMO, recyclability, energy-efficient equipment, and selling water in restaurants. Students presented to a panel of four executives from Chipotle Mexican Grill. Senior Anabel Crespo used her experience working at a Mexican restaurant to her benefit while preparing for the project. “I provided a simple, organic recipe that could be made in house with a low-food cost,” Crespo said. “I imagined this was how it felt to have a consulting gig. I genuinely enjoyed the experience and am considering going into consulting post graduation after taking part in this project.” Sophomore Vivek Somani said his group prepped for the project by first evaluating some of the challenges Chipotle faced within its current beverage program. “We proposed a regional craft beer purchasing initiative that would pair local breweries with nearby Chipotle restaurants in order to give the restaurant a ‘local’ appeal,” Somani said. “The process of searching, contacting, and meeting in person with a local craft beer brewery was really exciting. It felt very satisfying knowing that our class project involved real professionals in the industry.” While most school projects involve case studies, the Chaplin School faculty put a strong focus on bringing real-world challenges into the classroom. Dr. Cheng believes that these challenges are fundamental in ensuring the Chaplin School curriculum’s relevancy and student learning outcomes. “The students were receptive and enjoyed the opportunity to research and present to a [...]

Students Create Hospitality-Centered App during FIU’s Startup Weekend

The idea sparked during a trip. Now, Chaplin School students Leira Fombrun and Marina Boulanger are closer to making it a reality. They scored second place at FIU’s Startup Weekend with Tip N’ Go, an innovative app that could potentially change how people leave tips. Photo: FIU hospitality management students Leira Fombrun and Marina Boulanger standing with their second place certificate from FIU's Startup Weekend. Read More on FIU News

Two Hospitality Management Students Win the Red Robin Golden Robin Contest and $10,000 Scholarship

Two Hospitality Management students formulated a new burger recipe for Red Robin. The Loaded Baked Potato Burger, created by Michelle Nicole Diaz and Yolanda Marie Suarez, will be unveiled at he SOBEWFF® Amstel Light Burger Bash presented by Schweid & Sons and hosted by Rachael Ray on Friday, February 26. Photo: FIU hospitality management student and winners of the Red Robin Golden Robin Contest Yolanda Marie Suarez (left) and Michelle Nicole Diaz (right).

Fall 2016 Worlds Ahead Graduate Samuel Kelerstein-Sandler

Samuel Kelerstein-Sandler was born in Mexico to Jewish parents who taught him values such as hard work, honesty, and caring for others. Friends and family usually gathered at his house to celebrate special occasions. From a young age, Samuel wanted to make a difference and at 21, he was leading an organization that taught leadership, loyalty, trust, and tolerance to 250 children and teenagers. After earning a bachelor’s degree in industrial and systems engineering in Mexico, Samuel worked for a U.S. computer company for two years. He then decided to switch careers, remembering what he loved the most while growing up – taking care of guests. He started his hospitality career from the bottom up, working with hotels and in restaurants. By age 26, Samuel had created a non-profit promoting the heritage and history of Mexico’s Jewish community. At 28, he was successfully managing a group of restaurants when he decided to pursue a master’s degree in hospitality and tourism management at FIU. Among his many achievements at FIU, he earned the Metromedia Restaurant Minority Scholarship and helped revive the South Florida collegiate chapter of Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International. Samuel also has represented FIU at national and international hospitality conferences. He credits professors Rocco Angelo, David Talty, Miranda Kitterlin, John Thomas, and Greg Bohan as mentors. Samuel plans to create new businesses in hospitality that will help make the world a better place. His first venture, involving frozen desserts, is Glyk Gelato, which will open in South Florida soon.

Visionary Leaders Roundtable in Singapore Identifies Opportunities for Growth in Hospitality Industry

Global events, market disruptors, new alliances are all issues that are requiring the travel industry executives to constantly re-evaluate plans to manage during uncertainty and plan for future global tourism demand. The Institute for Hospitality and Tourism Education and Research (IHTER), a division of the Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Florida International University (FIU) set its sights on addressing key issues faced by the hospitality industry by organizing the 3rd Edition of the Visionary Leaders Forum in Singapore. “The tourism industry has been navigating through turbulent times for well over a decade. As we address these issues here and now, we must also continue to focus on our organization’s long-term vision for success and ensure we are adequetly resourced to seize opportunities in the future,” said Mike Hampton, dean of the Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at FIU. Held on November 17 at Pan Pacific Singapore, this exclusive ‘invitation-only’ event brought together senior hospitality leaders to speak candidly about the persistent issues that have a profound impact their ability to stay current, competitive and profitable. Executives brainstormed ideas for revenue optimization that included, driving growth through better customer insight and analytics, an analysis of what is the difference between direct distribution and third-party options, and optimizing profits. Sharing their insight and perspective at this forum were: Shirley Alexander, Lead Consultant, Learning & Development, MacroVision Hospitality Simone Champagnie, Executive Director, FIU's Institute for Hospitality & Tourism Education & Research Henry Chew, Manager, Customer Intelligence, Resorts World Genting William Chua, Director of Revenue Generation & Distribution, HPL Hotels & Resorts Siv Forlie, Vice President, Revenue Management, Shangri-La International Hotels Pierre-Charles Grob, Managing Director, Asia, FastBooking Rosmalia Hardman, Chief Marketing Officer, PT Lippo [...]

Peer Mentoring Program Spotlight: Meet Merrick Sequeira

Merrick Sequiera chose to attend the Chaplin School because of the knowledge and academics that the School offers. His love of hospitality is centered around face-to-face interaction with guests and fascination with traveling to new and exotic places. He's also a member of the Hospitality Student Leadership Council and during his time here has gained many great friends and lasting connections. Merrick joined the Peer Mentoring Program because he wants to share his experience and help guide future hospitality professionals. He's passionate about bridging connections between current students and industry professionals. Learn More about Peer Mentoring

Starbucks Chooses FIU’s Chaplin School as Exclusive Partner for Pilot Program

From a warm morning coffee to an afternoon iced latte, sometimes, a cup of coffee just helps get us through the day. For FIU’s Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management students Francia Umanzor and Gabreon Davis, coffee got them internships and full-time jobs with Starbucks. Read the Full Story Photo: FIU hospitality management students and Starbucks internsGabreon Davis and Francia Umanzor.