Foodservice Operation of the Month

Get to know Shasta College’s Denise Axtell

See what’s in store for Axtell’s operation, which was named FSD’s March Foodservice Operation of the Month.
Packaged meal kits
Photograph courtesy of Shasta College Food Services

Denise Axtell has seen her team through a tumultuous year thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. See what she has to say about her operation, Shasta College in Redding, Calif., and what she learned through these challenges.

Q: What are your goals for the coming year?

First, I’d like to see our online-ordering platform working in our more normal environment. We do have to get some bugs out. Similarly, I also want to integrate the meal kits into our regular programs. It’s not something we did before, but it’s been so successful—we need to keep it!

Q: What makes your operation successful?

We’re ... solution oriented. I discovered our breakfast profit margins were better than lunch. We were stopping breakfast service at 11, so I was like, ‘Why can’t we do this all day?’ The answer was, well, we need this equipment, we need another grill. So, OK: I went to the boss to say we need $10,000 or $15,000 for a grill. And we will go forward with breakfast all day.

Denise Axtel
Denise Axtell/Photograph courtesy
of Shasta College Marketing Department

Q: What has the pandemic taught you?

It taught me to continue to be resilient no matter what. To continue to stay focused on the students we serve, to continue to develop a stellar program. I’m proud of the way we’ve served our students and the impact we’ve made on them during this time.

Q: When do you think your foodservice operation will return to ‘normal’?

Unfortunately, in California, I’m feeling like it will be quite some time until we go back to normal. But I’d like to say we’ll be normal-ish with new and improved adjustments. I hope we’ll be somewhat normal by fall 2021—maybe not as much volume but hopefully some activity with students back to campus, sports going on, all that stuff.

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