Confessions of Sam Bennett

Texas Tech's Sam Bennett wishes he could make music and fears high places.
Sam Bennett, associate vice president of student affairs and director of hospitality services at Texas Tech University in Lubbock and current president of NACUFS, admits to a weakness for single malt scotch and the desire to be taller.

Q. What is the best part of your job?

The flexibility it provides. It allows me to be involved with many facets of the industry.

Q. What is the worst part of your job?

Time constraints. We have experienced expansion and it has created growth as we move from traditional operations to more retail locations, which makes it difficult to provide personal attention.

Q. What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

On a personal level, achieving my doctoral degree. At the university, it would be overseeing the growth of a department that has experienced an increase of four times its size over the last 11 years.

Q. If you weren't in foodservice what would you be doing?

I could see myself as a teacher in the restaurant, hotel & institution management department.

Q. Which talent would you most like to have?

The ability to create music, whether through singing or playing an instrument.

Q. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I wouldn’t mind being three inches taller.

Q. What is your greatest fear?

I have never been a fan of high places or bridges.

Q. What is your favorite meal?

A 12-ounce prime cut rib steak, loaded baked potato and a Caesar salad with a very nice merlot.

Q. What is your "guilty pleasure?"

Enjoying an expensive single malt scotch.

Q. What food fad do you wish had never started?

Low-carb diets such as the South Beach diet.

Q. What is the weirdest food you have ever eaten?

Once on vacation in Hawaii I had a squid salad. That was the first time—and the last!

Q. What do you consider to be the most overrated foodservice trend?

Sushi.

Q. Read the book or see the movie?

See the movie.

Q. Are you a morning or evening person?

An evening to late-night person.

Q. What are your words to live by?

“Walk the talk.”

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
chicken herbs

We make and broadcast short YouTube videos on TV monitors to educate our customers about cooking techniques, like how to cut up a chicken or what herbs and spices go well together. The monitors also are used to display daily menus, nutritional and allergen information, upcoming foodservice events and local weather forecasts.

Managing Your Business
wurster west may 2016

At a nearly 150-year-old university, every stone column and classroom has treasured stories to tell. But with that history come the logistical challenges of operating in outdated spaces—especially for foodservice. Such is the case at University of California at Berkeley, where longtime cafe Ramona’s in Wurster Hall closed in March to make way for an updated, as-yet unnamed concept.

With little more than a steam table and coolers, Ramona’s was limited by its lack of ventilation. And, as a former classroom space, it never was intended to function for foodservice, says Jennifer Wolch...

Ideas and Innovation
leftovers containers

We use our Menu Forward idea to empower staff to develop menu items and keep leftovers in check. Product left at the end of service may be claimed by any station to become part of a new item within six weeks. I’m happy to see my star team fighting for their ideas and products; the benefit to food cost is spot-on, and my freezer has no mystery items lurking in the corner.

Ideas and Innovation
food allergy

When potential students come to campus, we match them with a student from our allergy support group for a tour of our dining facilities. The ambassador helps the potential student to understand how they navigated campus with their food allergy. This showcases what we do for allergies on campus, and is a highly successful way to make the students feel good about dining.

FSD Resources