Paul Wolf

Paul Wolf built a digital menu board system as his way to stand out.

Why Selected?

According to Tatiana Twedt, Hawthorn manager, Paul has transformed dining services at Iowa State by:

• DESIGNING a digital menu board system that was cost-effective and more visually appealing

• LEARNING menu board software to further develop the menu medium without outside help

• WORKING with a student manager to design and implement a custom stand-alone order number display system

• TRAINING employees to be successful in their jobs by creating visual aids to explain duties and procedures in detail 

Details

Assistant Manager (Hawthorn), Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa
Age: 25
Education: B.S. in management information systems from Iowa State University
Years at organization: 2

Get to know

Q. What has been your proudest accomplishment?

The design and implementation of a proprietary digital menu system that provides automated menu display. I worked on this project in conjunction with my regular duties, collaborating with my team at work, while writing and testing JavaScripts at home. I was fortunate to be given the opportunity to undertake and see this project through from inception to ongoing support with the content updates. It has been a great experience.

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

I think I am very adaptable to any situation I come across: technical, mechanical and logical. Coming from an IT background, and with foodservice increasingly incorporating IT systems into the mix, I find myself troubleshooting equipment before anyone needs to call support.

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

Follow my intuition and be confident in what I do.

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

Creating the digital menu system and teaching myself some of the technical skills to pull it off.

Q. What's been your most rewarding moment?

When IT professionals comment on the digital menus and they are surprised that I am behind them.

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

I am looking to earn a master’s degree to continue to grow, challenge myself and gain more responsibility.

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

We nearly had to evacuate the building after we accidentally powered off the hood exhaust fans above a heavily loaded charbroiler. They wouldn’t start back up right away and the air quickly filled with smoke.

Q. What can you look back at now and laugh at?

We had to open a newly renovated facility in five days after construction problems had delayed the opening. I spent long hours cleaning construction debris, installing equipment, training new staff and trying to get our new cloud-based POS working. Opening day went better than imagined, so that justifies a laugh.

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