Development opportunities for hospitality managers

By Matthew White, chair of the University Caterers Organisation (TUCO) and director of catering, hotel and conferencing at the University of Reading

Our members regularly ask what development opportunities are offered to aspiring directors in hospitality. We saw an excellent opportunity to devise a course for senior managers to further growth in this unique field. A year ago we launched our master’s in hospitality leadership in universities and the public sector, a collaboration between our award-winning TUCO Academy and London South Bank University (LSBU) school of law and social sciences.

Now almost halfway through the two-year course, the MA students have buckled down and worked through the seven modules consisting of product and market trends and drivers, strategy and visioning, hospitality leadership, marketing and merchandising, sustainable design and operation, comparative study and a hospitality consultancy project.

We have followed that journey to date and I am delighted to see the remarkable progress demonstrated in the past nine months. In July, as part of the bespoke learning field trip, a small group of the MA students went to Berlin to visit five university catering locations and then returned to the UK to visit the University of Manchester. They visited three catering sites and two coffee bars in Berlin, each a part of studierendenWERK BERLIN, the service provider for the students of the Berlin universities. They were taken on a tour of the accommodations and the back of house catering operations, which in turn will help them complete part of one module on comparative study.

In Berlin, they saw all catering sites have a traffic light system; green for unlimited eating, amber for eating occasionally and red for those who dine infrequently. Payment is completely cashless in all facilities and, in general, more than 50% of the menus are vegan and vegetarian.

As chair of TUCO, an organisation with significant sustainability values, I’m happy to learn that an increase in plant-based dishes is being adopted internationally.

On 11 October, TUCO will host a master’s taster event at LSBU. Potential students can get more course information, application process guidance and bursary information. We were extremely proud to have fully sponsored 10 TUCO members in the first cohort and we are delighted to once again offer a bursary to TUCO members for the 2020 intake, too. Bursaries of up to 100% of teaching fees are available to TUCO members.

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