Jennifer Takara

Jennifer Takara is the safety guru for Bon Appétit at Yahoo!.

Why Selected?

Robert Hart, general manager for Bon Appétit at Yahoo!, says: Jen is our safety “Navy Seal.” She created, and continues to build on, a safety program. Jen applied for a student worker position at Bon Appétit as an undergraduate at Santa Clara University. After she graduated she was hired by Bon Appétit at Yahoo! as a café supervisor and is now running our biggest café. Jen has been an integral part of opening several new locations within Bon Appétit, creating, implementing and conducting training for safety programs at each location. 

Details

Café Manager, Bon Appétit, Yahoo!, Sunnyvale, Calif.
Age: 25
Education: B.S. in biology, Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, Calif.
Years at organization: 3

Get to know

Q. What has been your proudest accomplishment?

Successfully creating a space for safety in our cafés. Our employees are under extreme pressure to produce quality food on a strict timeline, often dealing with limited physical space and multiple moving parts. I feel most accomplished when I see other managers take the time to do on-the-spot training with their employees. It could be as simple as handing them a protective cut glove or taking the time to put up a ‘Wet Floor’ sign when an employee is mopping. 

Q. What would you say you excel at over more seasoned colleagues?

I pay extra close attention to the way my colleagues communicate with each other and with employees. By keeping my management style pliable, I can adopt aspects of others’ management styles.

Q. What's the best career advice you've been given?

Take every opportunity to learn—even the most tedious or menial tasks can increase your knowledge of the business. 

Q. What's been the biggest challenge you've had to overcome?

Upon taking on the role of Safety Champion, I was sent to other accounts to help bolster their safety programs. The greatest challenge I faced was creating a Safety Champion persona that would be well received. I had to be compassionate and understanding, yet committed to sharing best practices. I avoided “auditing” my colleagues. Employees are sensitive to mangers’ attitudes when it comes to behavior change.

Q. What's been your most rewarding moment?

A sous chef at a new account emailed me because she wanted some guidance on how to start training her employees. It was extremely rewarding to find that my work has paved the way for other managers to become Safety Champions in their accounts. 

Q. What would you like to accomplish in your career in the next two years?

I would like to join our corporate Safety Committee. I want to take my commitment to the next level. As a member of the committee, I would put myself in a better position to help pave the way for greater improvements related to safety.

Q. What's been your funniest on-the-job disaster?

During my first year at Yahoo! I got into my car, hands full, and drove off with a bag with $300 in change on my roof. It fell to the ground and I didn’t realize it. I re-traced my steps, but the bag was nowhere to be found. Thanks to the security team at Yahoo! and some fine camera replay work, we located the bag. 

Under 30

More From FoodService Director

Sponsored Content
WinCup foam food containers

From WinCup.

Cost control.

Two little words that are essential to every foodservice director’s day-to-day activities.

Keeping costs in check is paramount in running a functioning food operation, of course. But the ripples of cost control can extend beyond your bottom line. And savvy directors must balance customer satisfaction on the P&L sheet.

Fiscal Responsibility

The foundation of cost control is accepting fiscal responsibility, which requires a solid understanding of foodservice accounting. Prime cost, the combined cost of food and labor, is an...

Industry News & Opinion

Orange County Community College in upstate New York is replacing its dining staff with vending machines , The Times Herald-Record reports.

The staff members, who will be let go in June, include nine full-time and three part-time workers. Students say they will miss the employees and the access to fresh food.

The Orange County Community College Association, which oversees the school’s cafeterias, says the layoffs were partly due to a $150,000 deficit accumulated by foodservice operations last year.

Read the full story via The Times Herald-Record .

Industry News & Opinion

Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, is eliminating paper cups in its Commons dining hall and has given each student a reusable stainless steel mug as a replacement, bates.edu reports.

The mugs were distributed via a promotion earlier this week where students could fill their new mugs with a free smoothie. Stickers and other trinkets were set out for students to use to “bling” their mugs.

Dining services turned to students to determine which type of mug would be offered. The college also installed a mug-washing sink in the dining Commons earlier this year.

Read the...

Industry News & Opinion

Compass has partnered with Jose Andres ’ ThinkFoodGroup, allowing the chef and foodservice vendor to collaborate at such venues as stadiums and college campuses.

“With this partnership, we have the opportunity to tell stories and connect with people through food on an entirely new level,” Andres said in a release.

The three-year team-up comes shortly after Andres opened a ThinkFoodLab pop-up in Washington, D.C., which will serve as a recipe R&D space for his restaurant group.

ThinkFoodGroup was this year named a Power 20 multiconcept operator by Restaurant...

FSD Resources