Katie Davis

Davis increased the yearly revenue of the catering department by more than 17%.

Why Selected?

Kenneth Chadwick, director of dining services for Aramark at The Catholic University of America, says: Katie has increased the yearly revenue of the catering department by more than 17% over the previous year thanks to her constant focus on operational excellence. She coordinated all events related to our presidential inauguration, culminating in a gala ball for students to celebrate our new university president. Katie also rebranded the catering department to give it a unique identity on campus and [to] outside customers

 

 

 

 

Details

Catering Director (Aramark), The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.
Age: 26
Education: B.S. in political science from the University of Scranton, Scranton, Pa.
Years at organization: 3

Get to know

Q. What has been your proudest accomplishment?

Having the opportunity to become catering director. I came in as the catering manager and was able to learn the operation. As director, I’ve been able to mold and change the department into what I always knew it could be. 

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

There is an advantage to being young in this environment because we deal with college students. I understand trends and the student lifestyle. 

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

Find out what your boss does and do it better.

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

Our campus is not the exclusive catering operation on campus. Aramark had only been at the account for about a year and half when I arrived. We had to start from scratch with about 60% of the clients on campus and build the relationship from the ground up.

Q. What's been your most rewarding moment?

We did an event for our new president at the university. The students wanted to have an inaugural ball. They wanted to make one as fancy as President Obama’s inauguration. The opportunities to do the large events for students are the most rewarding. We worked on it for six months. This event ended up being [attended by] 800 students. A student committee planned the whole thing with us.

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

I just want to keep being challenged. I’m always looking for the next opportunity to face a challenge and try and solve it like I’ve done here.  

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

It was probably my second or third week of work. We host a three-day student orientation outside under a tent where we serve about 3,000 people each meal. It was about 5:30 or 5:45 in the morning and one of our trucks was driving to bring the continental breakfast over. They forgot to close the back door to the truck and an entire rack of fruit salad went flying off the back of the truck. It was mortifying because it was my third week of work and I had no idea who was where or what was going on. 

Under 30

More From FoodService Director

Menu Development
health food medicine stethoscope

For the last two years, Chris Studtmann has jockeyed between Northwestern University’s residential dining halls and athletic training tables in his role of executive chef, trying to meet the health and food preferences of both sides. Now, his team is taking best practices developed for the sports teams to the 20,000-plus student population, working with dietitians from the school’s contract company to better sync healthy menu choices with lifestyle needs.

Technomic’s 2016 Healthy Eating Consumer Trend Report shows younger consumers are especially tuned in to functional foods that...

Ideas and Innovation
trail mix

We’ve added fueling stations in our units for our workers who didn’t have time to eat or just need a snack. We have areas set up with trail mix, crackers, cookies and water. It helps us avoid people feeling or getting ill, especially when we get closer to exam periods and student workers are studying and not taking the time to eat.

Menu Development
quinoa bowl

In a time of growing health consciousness, it might not be enough anymore for food to be merely filling. According to Technomic’s 2016 Healthy Eating Consumer Trend Report , diners are looking for food with a function, such as those with high protein content, immunity-boosting properties, antioxidants, probiotics and more. The data suggests 63% of consumers see these foods as healthier than those without any specific nutritional function—and would be more likely to buy them.

But are those stated preferences translating on an operational level? There, the answer is less clear. Baby...

Ideas and Innovation
reusable coffee cup thermos

We were inspired by a book titled “Influence” to start a sustainable cup program called My Cup. All 15,000 new students receive a reusable cup with their name on it, which they can use at the dining halls. Personalizing helps them invest in the program and actually use it.

FSD Resources