Scott Shuttleworth: Game Changer
“I ended up having some mutual friends with the senior vice president at the university,” Shuttleworth says. “He described some of the changes that USC was going to go through, which included building a new campus center. That was very intriguing to me since USC is my alma mater. They do these buildings once every century, so to have the opportunity to be involved with establishing a new era for hospitality seemed really interesting to me.”
Big changes on campus: The new 180,000-square-foot Ronald Tutor Campus Center, is slated to open in 2010, but to get the campus through the transition period, Shuttleworth had to use some unconventional methods to keep serving his customers.
“When I first arrived, I was put on the committee to work on the new campus center,” Shuttleworth says. “I determined that we needed to find an acceptable alternative for the two-year time frame of construction. Two years could be half a student’s time here, so it was important to me that we have conceptual integrity and that we build it to the level of innovativeness and uniqueness that would make people enjoy the venue.”
So Shuttleworth found a parking lot that was one block removed from where the former commons was located and built an alternative dining location. The parking lot was selected because no other location on campus had the capacity the facility needed. Shuttleworth put together a group of architects and designers and custom created the 20,000-square-foot facility, known as The Lot. In what looks like a giant tent, The Lot houses 17 modular kitchens, custom created to fit concepts such as Wolfgang Puck Express, Red Mango, Baja Fresh and USC’s own Traditions. Shuttleworth says The Lot has overwhelmed everyone with the response it’s gotten, and it now serves about 7,000 meals per day.
Meanwhile, Shuttleworth is deep in the planning, designing and execution of plans for the new campus center.
“I think we’re designing a great building that has a lot of diverse uses and will foster a sense of community,” Shuttleworth says. “From a great dining pavilion with five concepts to choose from to a market that has three additional food platforms, we’re going to have a combination of self-created concepts and national brands. It will also have a 250-seat full-service restaurant that will feature American cuisine such as steaks, seafood, salads and pastas. We’ll also have a brand new Traditions, which has historically been our campus pub.”
Farmer friendly: Another effort to create a sense of community came in the form of a campus farmers’ market that Shuttleworth started in February 2008. Held once a month, the Trojan Fresh Market offers USC’s students a chance to buy fresh produce, baked goods, trail mix, flowers and more. Hospitality buys the products from local farms and vendors and sets up the stands on the main quad. Students can pay with dining cards or cash. Hospitality uses any leftover food that is not purchased.
“I feel farmers’ markets are very popular for a lot of reasons,” Shuttleworth says. “One is markets promote great healthy and organic dining options. The other is that markets provide a wonderful sense of community and social dynamics. I thought it bridged a lot of our goals, such as providing new avenues for healthy, sustainable organic food and providing a forum to bring the USC community together.”
Other “green” efforts Shuttleworth’s team has implemented include switching to biodegradable disposables and implementing trayless dining. Shuttleworth estimates that switching to trayless will eliminate 1.2 million trays, 400,000 wash cycles and 100 gallons of soap and water each year and significantly reduce food waste. Overal Shuttleworth is pleased with the progress so far.
“We want to make sure that any of our guests or students don’t feel the need to go downtown,” Shuttleworth says. “We want to make sure we’re delivering the best service, design and cuisines so we’re competitive with the best brands in the private sector. Why can’t you do that in a university environment? We should be one of the best hospitality companies in Los Angeles. When you set that mindset with your team members—that it is about guest service, cleanliness, standards, satisfaction and earning repeat business—you’re truly setting up a business model for sustained greatness.”