Public Invited to Dine at FVCC Student-run Restaurant
A course at Flathead Valley Community College is giving students of The Culinary Institute of Montana an opportunity to plan, open and operate their own restaurant. This fall, second-year culinary arts students will invite the public to enjoy the experience of a student-run restaurant they will operate for five weeks.
Created by FVCC Executive Chef Howard Karp, the capstone and final course in the culinary arts program and was designed to provide a practical approach to planning, organizing and managing a restaurant. Students spent the first part of the course developing their initial concept for a restaurant and creating a full business plan. In the next phase of the course, students will open their restaurant, managing all aspects along the way, from meal preparation and seating to serving the student-developed menu to paying guests.
The restaurant, called “Nurture Me,” will feature a menu of comprised of what the students call “Montana soul food with a twist.” Along with daily specials, regular items featured on the menu include crispy crab cakes, bison burgers, trout en papillote, poached egg and tossed green salad and fried coconut cheesecake with sweet huckleberry sauce.
Student Sarah Etzler calls the learning experience “hard work but tremendously rewarding.”
“I didn’t have any previous experience in the restaurant industry, so this has been a new adventure for me,” said Etzler. “Being able to actually walk through the process and implement these business practices rather than just learn them on paper has been extremely valuable for my future in the industry.”
FVCC Entrepreneurship Coordinator Jill Seigmund and a team of business experts taught the first half of the course and helped students develop their plan. Seigmund said this unique experience has given students a taste of what it’s like to own and operate a business without requiring them to go into debt.
“Our culinary students now know the critical things they need to consider before borrowing money to open a restaurant,” she said. “Should they decide to go into business for themselves, they are better prepared to make informed business decisions which will improve their chances of succeeding in this demanding industry.”
After the restaurant closes, students will evaluate the performance of their business and rework their business plan accordingly.
Open to the public, the restaurant will operate inside the college’s instructional kitchen on the lower level of the Arts & Technology Building on campus. Lunch will be served Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10:45 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. October 8 through October 22 and November 3 through November 19.
To view the full menu, or for more information about the student-run restaurants, visit www.culinaryinstituteofmt.com.