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

Industry News & Opinion

The Virginia Department of Health said it has traced a “cluster” of hepatitis A cases to frozen Egyptian strawberries used by Virginia units of a smoothie chain.

Tropical Smoothie Cafe voluntarily trashed the strawberries and switched to supplies from a different source immediately after being notified of the connection, the health department said in a statement issued Friday.

The department noted that it had traced earlier outbreaks of hepatitis A to strawberries imported from Egypt. But it warned that supplies may still be in the freezers of other foodservice operations...

Managing Your Business
business man smash computer

Foodservice directors spend a lot of time taking care of other people, whether it’s K-12 students who aren’t always eating enough at home, malnourished patients back for return visits or employees squabbling among themselves. That kind of pressure can weigh heavily—and come home from work. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America finds that 83% of men and 72% of women say stress at work carries over into their personal lives, and 50% call staff management their main culprit for workplace stress.

“Stress is very difficult in our world, and work-life balance is very much a...

Industry News & Opinion

Students at an Arkansas high school may have to take creative measures to get a meal, thanks to a school policy that prevents parents from dropping off lunches left at home.

The Catholic High School for Boys in Little Rock, Ark., last week posted a picture on Facebook of a sign that reads, “Stop. If you are dropping off your son’s forgotten lunch, books, homework, equipment, etc., please turn around and exit the building. Your son will learn to problem-solve in your absence.”

While social media opinions on the school’s rule were mixed, some commenters expressed concern that...

Industry News & Opinion

Novato Unified School District in Novato, Calif., has created a new vegetarian grab-and-go item as part of the district’s Meatless Monday initiative, marinij.com reports .

The Fiesta Rice and Bean Shaker, which is served in disposable cups, contains rice, corn, black beans, taco seasoning, corn tortilla chips and romaine lettuce topped with an optional salsa and ranch dressing. It’s also customizable, as students are able to select which ingredients they’d like to include.

The vegetarian shaker is made using produce from a nearby organic garden. Sofie Garcia, an employee in...

FSD Resources