HTM students sharpening their knowledge through online simulations

January 29, 2021

Our Hospitality and Tourism Management program has been known for unparalleled hands on approach through experiential learning.  An important role in this approach plays the simulation project that is successfully implemented in the Food and Beverage Management class, taught by instructor Domagoj Nikolić.

You may wonder how simulations function within this course. Well, aside from learning the theoretical aspects of running a restaurant in terms of restaurant conceptualization, organization of F&B operations, menu planning, budgeting as well as sales and marketing, student teams design four restaurant menus (Appetizers, Mains, Soups & Salads and Desserts. The menus comprise of 12 menu items, each reflecting the chosen restaurant concept. For each dish, students identify and adjust recipes, source ingredients in functioning online stores and determine the food cost. Once this has been done, they perform the appropriate cost-based pricing technique and test and refine each menu through menu engineering by using specially designed Excel spreadsheets. At the end of this segment, students must demonstrate how appropriate menu engineering strategies improve the profitability of each menu item category and the overall profitability of the restaurant.

At that point students move to a professional online simulation developed by Russel Partnerships which is powered by robust algorithms. "This simulation demonstrates very realistically how menu items perform in an environment where each one competes against all other. Here the student knowledge is finally sharpened as they discover how to improve restaurant profitability by applying dynamic sourcing/costing, pricing, marketing and advertisement strategies”, says Domagoj Nikolić.

"At the end of the class, students present their project outcomes to accomplished F&B professionals, who happen to be RIT Croatia alumni. This time, we’ve had the honor to host  Mr. Ivor Vlašić, Director of F&B Sales at Adriatic Luxury Hotels and Mr. Branimir Boras, Assistant F&B Director at Sun Gardens Dubrovnik, who evaluated nine team presentations and provided invaluable feedback to the students. This year's peculiarity was that the presentations were delivered on Zoom platform. Since the students worked continuously for 13 weeks and were extremely well prepared, this did not take away any quality. On the contrary, this was another important milestone in the evolution of our program preparing students for always updated standard ways of doing business” Domagoj Nikolić explains.

"We are extremely pleased with the quality we saw and can affirm that exactly this type of knowledge is necessary for successful F&B operations in today's competitive global marketplace. It is particularly encouraging to see that the learning outcomes get better every year, which means that the course is constantly upgraded,"  concluded Mr. Ivor Vlašić.

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