Patti Malloy: Banking on It

The traits that make Pattie Malloy a successful operator are the very ones that make it difficult to find out from her just what it is that she does so well, since she never blows her own horn.

Malloy is general manager for Parkhurst Dining Services at PNC Bank's headquarters in Pittsburgh. She's a communications specialist by education, "people person" by nature and a lover of food, all rolled into one. And if helping to win new accounts while generating interest in the cafe where she's based and in three other PNC sites she helps oversee, and keeping guests in all locations coming back for more, are all part of the game, then she's the consummate team player.

She joined the contractor five years ago following a 21-year stint with Select Restaurants (formerly Stouffer's), where she began her foodservice career during her freshman year of college. "I studied communications management but I always had a passion for food and guest services," Malloy says.

Initially, she served as Parkhurst's director of dining services at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh before her move to the PNC Firstside account three years ago. Then, last August, Parkhurst was awarded PNC headquarters plus its loan center, and Malloy became general manager of the headquarters account.

PNC Firstside, PNC Loan Center and PNC Cafe 36, all similar cafeteria operations, are within walking distance of headquarters and have separate directors who report to Malloy. Her team includes chef Dave DeCollo, who has been with Parkhurst for about 10 years, and Bryan Marince, vice president of the western region.

"I help with marketing, budgeting and general oversight to ensure we're exceeding our guests' expectations," she explains. "I have daily phone conversations with the directors and occasionally stop by, sometimes unannounced, to make sure they're maintaining our standards."

Building a team: When Malloy arrived at the PNC Firstside account in 2003, she had no choice but to take a hard line, not her usual tactic, and make drastic yet necessary changes. Finding a well-entrenched staff that was "basically there for a paycheck," she let most everyone go, and then began to build a staff from scratch, hiring individuals who had a customer focus.

"That really turned the operation around, or so I heard," Malloy recalls. "At a management meeting later on, I was told that (turnaround) was instrumental in (Parkhurst's) being awarded these other PNC locations. I'm still on a first-name basis with hundreds of guests and I bent over backwards giving them what they wanted. I'm always out there with my guests."

By the end of this month, Malloy will begin to make quarterly progress comparisons as the first full year at the headquarters location is completed. At this point, she and her staff of 17, counting the chef and herself, serve an average of 600 to 750 daily lunchtime guests; the check average is about $2.20 for breakfast and $4.55 at lunch. Total sales for the year at the headquarters cafe are just over $1.4 million, with catering contributing about 25% of the total.

Diffusing P&L angst: Fortunately, Malloy inherited a "wonderful staff" at the headquarters account and reports very low turnover. The major challenge was to win over the minds and hearts of guests who were used to paying lower, subsidized prices.

"One of the ways we did that was by marketing our FarmSource program," she points out. "Depending upon the time of year, we menu a lot of vegetables and fruits that are locally grown, as well as hormone-free milk, locally made cheese and honey from local bees. The honey is used as a menu ingredient and jars of it are available for purchase."

In keeping with the FarmSource theme and her own personal passion for gardening and cooking, Malloy and Chef Dave recently marketed a Fresh Herb Week. Pots of locally grown basil, thyme, oregano and sage were displayed along with typed descriptions of the uses of each. These herbs were then featured in recipes throughout the week with appropriate signage indicating their inclusion.

More From FoodService Director

Sponsored Content
boston college acai bowl

From Dannon Foodservice.

Catering to the go-go-go lifestyle of university students is a challenge, and it’s one that Boston College dining representatives wrestle with daily.

“Students don’t just want to eat dinner between 5 and 7 p.m.,” says Beth Emery, the school’s director of dining. “They may want to eat dinner at 9 o’clock. We’ve been trying to come up with creative solutions.”

Those creative solutions include everything from offering breakfast items throughout the day to providing healthier late-night choices to trolling social media for trendy new menu ideas...

Sponsored Content
savory yogurt parfait

From Dannon Foodservice.

What consumers eat and, most importantly, when they’re eating it has changed significantly in recent years, signaling opportunity for operators able to capitalize on this evolution.

For example, some 83% of consumers said they were daily snackers in 2016, according to Technomic’s Snacking Occasion Consumer Trend Report . That’s up from 76% just two years earlier. Snacking is growing across many channels from retail prepared foods to bakery and coffee cafes, fast-food locations and more.

Busy lifestyles, smaller households with greater meal...

Industry News & Opinion

Labor secretary nominee Andy Puzder has officially bowed out of consideration for the cabinet position, according to the Associated Press .

Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants—the parent company of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr.—was tired of being under fire for hiring an undocumented immigrant as a nanny and being accused 26 years ago of physically abusing his wife, an unnamed source told CBS News . The agency reported that Puzder was unlikely to show for the start of his confirmation hearings tomorrow.

Puzder has also been attacked by organized labor for comments suggesting that...

Industry News & Opinion

Risley Dining Room at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., has just become 100 percent gluten-free, 14850.com reports.

For the past two years, the university has slowly phased out gluten in the dining hall’s menu by eliminating it in its stir fries, biscuits and brownies.

Instead of offering gluten-free versions of typical college fare, including pizza and pasta, the dining service team aimed for more sophisticated restaurant-style items.

Along with being gluten-free, Risley is also peanut free and tree-nut free.

The dining room is the second college eatery...

FSD Resources