Scott Shuttleworth: Game Changer
Scott Shuttleworth has accomplished a lot in a short period of time. In his two years as director of Trojan Hospitality at 33,000-student University of Southern California in Los Angeles, he has opened nine venues, with plans for several more, and has completely changed the culture of what foodservice means to the university by bringing a more commercial mindset to his department. It is expected that his new operations will increase revenue by $4 million annually. He’s been so successful that the university named him Administrator of the Year in April, an honor Shuttleworth says he is very proud of. He feels that the award shows that his department has moved the agenda forward in a very tangible way for the students of USC.
“In the private sector, you have to earn your guests,” Shuttleworth says. “I think the goal when I arrived was to impart into our organizational culture that we want to be designing and operating venues that are competitive with the private sector. I don’t believe in the philosophy of a captive audience. I believe that we have guests at the university who have choices. We need to design venues that are destinations, that are draws, that have a social dynamic, and that have a diversity of concepts, cuisines and brands that make USC a great dining option.”
And Shuttleworth has done just that with his “Restaurant Row” project. Shuttleworth has developed an area adjacent to campus and opened three full-service restaurants to cater to USC and downtown residents.
“Our goal with Restaurant Row was to add a sense of connectivity to the area and the campus,” Shuttleworth says. “Our Restaurant Row is bookended by the Radisson Hotel, which the university owns, and our new basketball arena, the Galen Center. There was an opportunity to completely reinvent three different restaurants and create a sense of contemporary style. We tend to look at everything we’re doing at USC as contributing to downtown L.A. We want to have diversity in the type of operations, just as you would in any neighborhood. We need all of these levels from grab and go to retail to cafés to restaurants to lounges. We want to make sure we have all of the above so that this district of downtown, which USC is a part of, feels just as engaged and inspired with its dining locations as it would in any other place you would live.”
The Restaurant Row restaurants are McKay’s, which features upscale American cuisine in a casual yet refined atmosphere; Rosso’s, which features New York-style pizzas, pastas and shuffleboard; and The Lab, a gastropub that features sandwiches, flatbreads, pastas, salads and beer by the beaker.
“I have only been at USC since September 2008, and together Scott and I opened McKay’s, Rosso’s and The Lab,” says Peter Kolla, associate director of operations for USC Hospitality. “Scott is very involved in every aspect of the business and truly has his finger on the pulse of all venues and events. One thing that Scott says, which will always resonate with me, is ‘earn our reputation today’ and ‘never rest on what you accomplished yesterday.’”
Food in his blood: Shuttleworth grew up in San Diego in a family of restaurant owners. His family owned three restaurants, and it was there that he first tried his hand at foodservice, beginning as a dishwasher. He graduated from USC with a B.S. in business administration, always thinking that he’d end up working in foodservice in some capacity.
“I think certain people just have a passion for this industry,” Shuttleworth says. “You have to genuinely like people and understand the hours.”
Prior to USC, Shuttleworth worked in restaurants in several capacities, most recently as director of restaurant operations for SBE Restaurant Group, where he was involved with the openings of L.A. hotspots Katsuya and The Abbey. Making the switch to university foodservice from these high-end restaurants came about in what Shuttleworth calls an unintentional way.