Cedric Junearick: Reluctant star

Cedric Junearick has reduced the foodservice budget at Huntsville Hospital.

At a Glance

  • Part of 9th largest hospital system in the U.S.
  • $7.6 million foodservice budget
  • 613,000 patient meals served annually
  • 213 employees

Accomplishments

Cedric Junearick has helped transform foodservice at Huntsville Hospital by:

  • Reducing the foodservice budget by nearly $2 million in two years
  • Creating a delivery program that generates a minimum of $100 a day in extra revenue
  • Building a team of managers who have helped define the department’s mission and boosted staff morale

Cedric Junearick, foodservice director for Huntsville Hospital, in Alabama, admits he never really saw himself in the role of foodservice director. A graduate of Johnson & Wales University, Junearick was most comfortable in the kitchen, preparing meals and planning menus. So in 2011, when the director’s position came open, the chef had a hard decision to make.

“When Bill [Notte] left, my first thought was that I just wanted to play the chef role,” Junearick recalls. “My passion was food, and being director meant that I would have to learn the political side of the house.”

But on the flip side, Junearick says, he was already “the face of foodservice” because he had a history with Huntsville. Before the hospital went self-op in 2009, he had worked as executive chef there under Morrison Management Specialists.

“There were some new players here, but everybody knew me,” Junearick says. “They knew who to come to to get the job done.”

So when administrators came to the chef, he agreed to take on a new role. Junearick now runs the foodservice program at Huntsville Hospital, an 881-bed acute-care facility, and he oversees operations at nine other institutions in the Huntsville system, each of which has its own manager.

Operational success

But for all his reluctance, Junearick has embraced his new job with the same passion he showed in the kitchen. Overseeing an operation that turns out as many as 2,400 patient meals a day and provides a variety of retail outlets for staff and visitors, Junearick has proven that he indeed has the skills to succeed. The retail operation includes a main food court where Huntsville staff operate a barbecue station selling meats that are smoked daily, an action station, sub and wrap station, entrée area and grill station. In addition, Huntsville rents out space to two local restaurants: Sakura’s, which serves sushi and Asian food items, and Mama’s, an Italian concept with pizza, pasta, specialty salads and hot sub sandwiches. 

Junearick has reduced his operating costs by nearly $2 million in two years, mostly by streamlining inventory and reducing back-of-house waste. He engineered the foodservice portion of the construction of a new women’s and children’s hospital that included room service. He has built up the retail side of the house by such means as producing grab-and-go items for the entire 10-hospital system, operating five coffee kiosks/c-stores and, most recently, creating a delivery program.

Those are just the operational successes, the things Junearick will tell you about. He is a humble man, and it must be left to others to talk about how he has transformed himself. 

“Did you know he has developed his own spice line?” asks Char Norton, a former hospital foodservice director turned consultant. “He has gone to Toastmasters because he felt he didn’t speak well and wanted to be a better presenter. He also became a certified dietary manager (CDM) because he knew he couldn’t be an R.D. and wanted to understand the nutrition side of the business.”

Southern born and bred

Junearick, who grew up in Mississippi and Arkansas, says he got his love of food from his grandmother, even though she died when he was young. 

“She had her own garden, and I remember her in that garden and the meals she would put together; very creative,” he recalls. “That’s where the love of cooking was implanted in my soul.”

Junearick was unsure of what he wanted to do with his life. Though he had college scholarship offers, he decided to forgo school and join the Army. But that didn’t mean he had a fighting spirit.

“I wanted an easy job,” he admits. “I wanted to be indoors and I wanted to be around people, so I transferred to foodservice. I had a chance to be creative and I got to see how food was produced in mass amounts. It was exciting.”

More From FoodService Director

Sponsored Content
snacking mobile phones coffee

From Keurig Green Mountain.

University students are on a quest to discover their own tastes and preferences, and that includes beverages — especially specialty coffees.

Study sessions are usually fueled with coffee, and plenty of it. Hard-working students look to break monotony with variety, and they also want to treat themselves. Limited time offerings of flavored coffees coupled with seasonal variations are one way to satisfy these cravings. Here are four ways to do so.

Seasons change

The most natural time to change up beverage menus is when seasons turn — 32% of...

Ideas and Innovation

A house of straw is rising on the grounds of University of Michigan’s campus farm this summer, constructed by students enrolled in a green building class. The sustainable structure features 18-inch-thick straw bales covered in adobe and is topped with a metal roof sporting solar panels. It will be the first building on the Ann Arbor campus to be off the electrical grid—and the first university structure built by students, reports Michigan News .

Once the straw house is completed, Michigan Dining plans to host farm-to-table dinners there. It will also serve as headquarters for the...

Industry News & Opinion

Texas’ Farm Fresh initiative has this year expanded to include summer meal programs , My High Plains reports.

The program, which strives to incorporate more local ingredients into school meals, is led by the Texas Department of Agriculture.

Last week, producers and foodservice operators from schools around the state met at a nutrition conference to learn more about how to increase their use of local food. Around 40% of schools in the state are currently part of the initiative.

Read the full story via myhighplains.com .

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Industry News & Opinion

Sodexo has appointed Cathy Desquesses as its chief people officer, the company announced on Friday.

Before joining Sodexo, Desquesses held multiple leadership roles in the human resources department at General Electric, where she worked for 20 years. Most recently, she was the global HR leader for GE Power Gas.

Desquesses will begin her new role on July 1 and will report to Sodexo CEO Denis Machuel. She will replace Juan Pablo Urruticoechea, who is moving into a new position at Sodexo.

Photo courtesy of Sodexo

FSD Resources

Code for Asynchronous jQuery Munchkin Tracking Code