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Fifth-Graders Learn the Ropes of Restaurants
May 30th, 2012

Fifth-graders at Alexander Hamilton Elementary School recently participated in a Foundation for Free Enterprise contest, where they were tasked with creating business model for a successful restaurant.

Thanks to Thomas Schranck, a teacher at Alexander Hamilton School, for the write-up and photos.

Alexander Hamilton Students Excel in Restaurant Project Thanks to Local Restaurateurs

Fifth grade students in Alexander Hamilton recently participated in a contest sponsored by the Foundation for Free Enterprise (FFFE). Students had to create a business model for a successful restaurant. The President of the FFFE, Kathryn English, awarded a group of students from Alexander Hamilton trophies for their presentation of a business proposal for a new restaurant. Students from Hamilton School competed against students from Sussex Avenue in the contest. Teams of 4 and 5 students had to survey the market, develop the restaurant and a marketing campaign for it, create a set of business practices for their employees, put together a budget and unveil the new restaurant in a seven minute presentation. They also had to develop a web site and a professional binder and brochure for potential investors, as well as use PowerPoint, sing jingles, and utilize other aids to effectively communicate their plan.

Ms. English said she was impressed with all of the contestants’ presentations, and that she could tell that there had been much “positive collaboration among the teammates” as they set about completing the requirements for the contest. The winning team was for a seafood restaurant to be located in Provincetown, Massachusetts on Cape Cod. The students titled their restaurant “S’All Good Seafood,” and they demonstrated in their presentation a family restaurant that used farm to table menu items and incorporated the concept of sustainability into their business. Lex Kevis, a co-CEO for S’All Good Seafood, indicated afterwards that the team had gotten many of their ideas from their school field trips to Morristown’s Tim Shafer’s Cuisine as well as the Blue Morel restaurant in [Morris Township’s] Westin Hotel.

“We learned a lot on those trips, and we tried to use ideas that we got from each of them to make our project work,” said fifth grader Megan Sodano. Classmate Andrew Rosenkilde commented that he “liked everything about the project.” Fellow student, Elyse Genrich, said that it “taught her how to work in a group” and that it was something she was “sure I’ll always remember.”

Much of what helped the children with their projects came from their visits to Tim Shafer’s and to the Blue Morel. Among the things that students learned on their visits to these two fine local establishments were the art of table arrangement, how to serve, how to put in orders and keep them straight, defining start-up costs, and the importance of establishing and maintaining good relationships with other businesses and within the local community. At the Blue Morel, Richard Ramos, the general manager of the restaurant had explained to the children how the restaurant makes strong efforts to use local farms and local growers to help keep the menu interesting and the ingredients fresh for their customers. Ramos took an hour and half from one of his busy mornings at the Blue Morel to meet with the students and explain the operation of the business discussing everything from choosing the right name for the restaurant, to picking out table cloth colors, glassware, and training employees.

At Tim Shafer’s, co-owners Nestor Bedoya and Chef Freddy Umanzor spent an April morning detailing such things as the art of napkin folding and table presentation, the importance of an orderly and clean kitchen operation, and the ideas behind maintaining strong and positive relationships with other businesses. As Mr. Bedoya phrased it, “If we don’t make the effort to work well with our neighbors and with other businesses we are just hurting our own business. When you do things for others, they will do things for you.”

Alexander Hamilton teacher Tom Schranck said of the project, “As I told the students, our goal all along wasn’t so much winning the contest as it was learning as much as we could about what it takes to make for a successful business. We are very fortunate to be located in such a vibrant community as Morristown where businessmen like Mr. Ramos and Mr. Bedoya and Chef Freddy are willing to help our students learn as much as they can about the world around them. Their efforts to help our kids, and the lessons our kids took away from their visits to these establishments are the best part of the project for me. I love how kids can see right here in Morristown how they can each be successful in the future.”

For more information on the Foundation for Free Enterprise and projects like these visit their website at: http://www.fffe.org/