Cedric Junearick: Reluctant star

Cedric Junearick has reduced the foodservice budget at Huntsville Hospital.

At a Glance

  • Part of 9th largest hospital system in the U.S.
  • $7.6 million foodservice budget
  • 613,000 patient meals served annually
  • 213 employees

Accomplishments

Cedric Junearick has helped transform foodservice at Huntsville Hospital by:

  • Reducing the foodservice budget by nearly $2 million in two years
  • Creating a delivery program that generates a minimum of $100 a day in extra revenue
  • Building a team of managers who have helped define the department’s mission and boosted staff morale

Cedric Junearick, foodservice director for Huntsville Hospital, in Alabama, admits he never really saw himself in the role of foodservice director. A graduate of Johnson & Wales University, Junearick was most comfortable in the kitchen, preparing meals and planning menus. So in 2011, when the director’s position came open, the chef had a hard decision to make.

“When Bill [Notte] left, my first thought was that I just wanted to play the chef role,” Junearick recalls. “My passion was food, and being director meant that I would have to learn the political side of the house.”

But on the flip side, Junearick says, he was already “the face of foodservice” because he had a history with Huntsville. Before the hospital went self-op in 2009, he had worked as executive chef there under Morrison Management Specialists.

“There were some new players here, but everybody knew me,” Junearick says. “They knew who to come to to get the job done.”

So when administrators came to the chef, he agreed to take on a new role. Junearick now runs the foodservice program at Huntsville Hospital, an 881-bed acute-care facility, and he oversees operations at nine other institutions in the Huntsville system, each of which has its own manager.

Operational success

But for all his reluctance, Junearick has embraced his new job with the same passion he showed in the kitchen. Overseeing an operation that turns out as many as 2,400 patient meals a day and provides a variety of retail outlets for staff and visitors, Junearick has proven that he indeed has the skills to succeed. The retail operation includes a main food court where Huntsville staff operate a barbecue station selling meats that are smoked daily, an action station, sub and wrap station, entrée area and grill station. In addition, Huntsville rents out space to two local restaurants: Sakura’s, which serves sushi and Asian food items, and Mama’s, an Italian concept with pizza, pasta, specialty salads and hot sub sandwiches. 

Junearick has reduced his operating costs by nearly $2 million in two years, mostly by streamlining inventory and reducing back-of-house waste. He engineered the foodservice portion of the construction of a new women’s and children’s hospital that included room service. He has built up the retail side of the house by such means as producing grab-and-go items for the entire 10-hospital system, operating five coffee kiosks/c-stores and, most recently, creating a delivery program.

Those are just the operational successes, the things Junearick will tell you about. He is a humble man, and it must be left to others to talk about how he has transformed himself. 

“Did you know he has developed his own spice line?” asks Char Norton, a former hospital foodservice director turned consultant. “He has gone to Toastmasters because he felt he didn’t speak well and wanted to be a better presenter. He also became a certified dietary manager (CDM) because he knew he couldn’t be an R.D. and wanted to understand the nutrition side of the business.”

Southern born and bred

Junearick, who grew up in Mississippi and Arkansas, says he got his love of food from his grandmother, even though she died when he was young. 

“She had her own garden, and I remember her in that garden and the meals she would put together; very creative,” he recalls. “That’s where the love of cooking was implanted in my soul.”

Junearick was unsure of what he wanted to do with his life. Though he had college scholarship offers, he decided to forgo school and join the Army. But that didn’t mean he had a fighting spirit.

“I wanted an easy job,” he admits. “I wanted to be indoors and I wanted to be around people, so I transferred to foodservice. I had a chance to be creative and I got to see how food was produced in mass amounts. It was exciting.”

More From FoodService Director

Menu Development
usa map regions

From global flavors to clean labels, it’s clear that some buzzworthy noncommercial menu trends are universal. But FoodService Director ’s 2016 surveys have revealed some noteworthy differences within segments in the Northeast, South, Midwest and West regions. We combed through data from our College and University Census, Hospital Census and Long-Term Care/Senior Living Census for the most surprising variations in menu trends and expectations.

1. Plant-based dishes are on the rise at Midwestern colleges and universities

Seventy-seven percent of C&U operators in this region say...

Industry News & Opinion

Ithaca College is turning to new solutions to address overcrowding at a dining hall that is already understaffed, The Ithacan reports .

The Ithaca, N.Y., school's Terrace Dining Hall has seen a large influx of students this year after being renovated, causing lines to wrap around the dining hall.

To ease congestion, Sodexo Area General Manager Jeffrey Scott told The Ithacan that the eatery has added a separate entree line, as well as signage displaying menu items at less-crowded food stations in an effort to draw students to the other side of the dining hall.

The...

Menu Development
mac cheese pizza

Anybody think the popularity of mac and cheese has played out? Anyone?

More likely, foodservice directors are trying to bake new life into the comfort staple by tweaking the presentation and components. Here’s a snapshot of how that rejuvenation effort looks in streetside restaurants.

Industry News & Opinion

Noncommercial foodservice operations and other employers would be spared from costly new overtime pay regulations if 21 states succeed in the legal challenge they jointly filed yesterday.

The lawsuit asks the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas to set aside the rules, which are scheduled to take effect on Dec. 1.

If the court rejects the request, restaurants and other businesses will be required after that date to pay overtime to any salaried employee who works more than 40 hours in a week and earns less than $47,476 on an annual basis.

The...

FSD Resources