University of Tulsa dining team worked with The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center to benchmark best practices

The program focuses on customer engagement, elevating service and nurturing organizational culture.
Catering station
A University of Tulsa dining team member shows off enhancements to his catering station. | Photo courtesy of University of Tulsa

The University of Tulsa dining team participated in a program earlier this year with The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center to benchmark best business practices.

The program, called “The Art of Service Recovery: Building Trust and Loyalty,” focused on refining, innovating and transforming service excellence, improving customer engagement and elevating organizational culture. Teams from resident dining, retail, catering and dining leadership attended three packed sessions at the Lorton Performance Center in the university’s hometown of Tulsa, Okla.

“The Ritz-Carlton program changed the way we think,” said Regional Operational Excellence Manager Ed Daugherty in a statement. “We now ask ourselves, ‘is this the very best we can do?’ and strive to do better.”  

He and the teams are now implementing the coursework through a customer journey map, designed to enhance the experience of catered and dining events.

By mapping out the customer's journey from the initial inquiry to the event execution and post-event follow-up, the dining team can ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience for clients, students and guests. It involves identifying key touchpoints, such as menu planning, venue location and on-site coordination, to provide personalized and seamless service at every stage of the event. 

To nurture culture, the teams are guided by the phrase “The University of Tulsa-You Belong.” 

“The message resonates with our employees,” Daugherty said. “From the day of hiring, our employees step into our work environment where every team member feels a sense of belonging, inclusion and support.”  

Fostering that culture of respect, collaboration and professional growth empowers staff to contribute their unique talents and perspectives, resulting in a positive and productive work atmosphere, he added.

“Through ongoing training, open communication channels and recognition programs, we ensure that each employee understands their value and the important role they play in delivering exceptional dining experiences to our campus community,” said Daugherty.  

The methodology used in the program is rooted in the hotel brand’s renowned Gold Standards of The Ritz-Carlton. For over two decades, The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center has worked with thousands of clients to improve customer and employee engagement, innovate their culture and differentiate their service.



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