Safeguarding the Plate: Exploring the Importance of Food Defense in Ensuring a Secure Food Supply Chain

There are few things in life more important than readily available food. Easy and affordable access to adequate nutrition is important not just for manufacturers and food leaders, but also for consumers on an international level. As a result, food safety in the global food supply chain has taken on a more complex and vital role than ever before.

From recalls and foodborne illness outbreaks to warehouse incidents, today’s industry leaders need to know that their systems are being defended by an array of mitigation strategies, a long-term outlook of the challenges ahead, and a reputable food defense plan.

What Is Food Defense?

Food defense is a phrase that encompasses the prevention of intentional contamination or adulteration of food products. Responsibility for this food chain ultimately falls on a chain of individuals and businesses, all tied together by global systems and interconnectivity. A healthy food defense system is integral to public health.

According to the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), the global food supply chain is shared through “collaborative, public-private partnerships within the industry.”

The United States took a major step forward in 2011 when President Obama signed the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) to help transform the nation’s food safety systems.

Food safety covers unintentional contamination and adulteration of food products. The overarching protection is the combination of food safety practices to preserve the quality of food and food defense to protect food from intentional contamination. 

Potential Threats to the Food Supply Chain

All qualified businesses that report to the FDA must establish a food system and defense plan to ensure their preparedness in the face of potential threats to their supply chain.

As a result of the globalization of the food industry, it is vital to have a food defense system in place for mitigation and preparedness purposes.

Listed below are the most common potential threats and vulnerabilities as they exist within the food supply chain.

  • Natural Disasters and Weather Events – In 2004, the United States introduced the Defense of United States Agriculture and Food to initiate a national policy for defending the food chain and agriculture system from major disasters and weather events.
  • Pests and Diseases – Since the beginning of our time cultivating food, we’ve had to battle with nature to ensure its resilience. A food defense system protects against potential pests and diseases at every level of the supply chain.
  • Terrorism and Cyberattacks – Food terrorism has been present within the United States since the early 2000s. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United States released a comprehensive threat of terrorist and cyberattack-related issues.
  • Economic Factors – A looming recession can put to bed even the hardest-charging of industries. A potential recession doesn’t just impact retailers and consumers – it also impacts the food chain. A lack of labor availability and slowing wage growth can both lead to a heightened attrition rate among employees.

Why Is a Food Defense System Needed?

What does an effective food defense program accomplish? Simply put, a food defense system is designed to protect food products from contamination, adulteration, or any intentional harm to the public.

The food system within North America has only increased in diversity and complexity over the years, joining the more extensive and interconnected global system that the internet has made so prevalent.

Organizations like the FSIS have introduced The Significant Incident Preparedness and Response Staff (SIPRS) to work closely with government agencies to develop and implement far-reaching strategies to protect the food supply.

Let’s take a closer look at the food defense system and how it can help to mitigate everything from cyberattacks and pests to intentional adulteration.

Aspects of a Food Defense System

As outlined above, food security is critical not just for manufacturers and consumers but for the overall safety of the global infrastructure. Without convenient access to safe food, major problems will begin to manifest and pile up.

To help mitigate potential issues with the global supply chain, the FDA has pushed the importance of developing solid food defense principles with a food defense system.

A food defense system will encompass several aspects, including:

  • Vulnerability Assessment – A vulnerability assessment will encompass potential threats both internationally and externally. Consider a disgruntled worker or a group illness as two concepts analyzed during a vulnerability assessment.
  • Prevention – Acting quickly is almost as effective as preventing the act entirely. The active management of a food defense plan must entail accurate and updated information to prevent issues from manifesting.
  • Detection – When preparing a food defense plan, facilities must gather key operational procedures, a detailed overview of the facility, and all procedures for training and screening employees.
  • Response – Integrating an action plan with a food defense system can lead to a quick and effective response. The FSIS suggests installing mitigation measures that empower employees to speak up if they see something problematic.

Importance of Physical Security Measures in Food Facilities

The Food Safety Modernization Act introduced by President Obama has seven fundamental rules that have been outlined and enacted to improve overall food safety compliance within the United States.

The goal of FSMA is to ensure companies control measures that prevent and minimize potential risks to employees and customers down the line. Physical security measures in food facilities work to mitigate and prevent:

  • Tampering – Any intentional modification of a product in a way that could lead to potential harm. Physical security measures can work to mitigate potential contamination by a disgruntled or manipulated employee.
  • Terrorism – Any contamination by foreign or domestic aggressors for the purposes of politics or ideology.
  • Contamination –  Contamination can result from employees failing to follow proper food safety procedures.

We can see a real-world example of the importance of physical security measures in food facilities by taking a closer look at Nestlé.

Real World Example

Nestlé is an industry leader within the food chain with decades of experience at the international level. Nestlé sets the tone by offering a deep look into their food safety plan and how it can help to prevent issues from manifesting.

Nestlé is an industry leader in food safety as they seek to prioritize:

  • Materials – Nestlé relies on quality raw materials with consistent quality checks.
  • Preparation – All manufacturing facilities under the Nestlé label are designed to meet and exceed the highest levels of quality and safety standards.
  • Processing – Recipes are scientifically formulated to deliver safe and adequate products from a nutritional perspective.
  • Packing and Transportation – Nestlé relies on proper transportation practices to ensure that all products reach their final destination in optimum condition.

Intersection of Food Defense and Technology

Technology has fundamentally changed the way that we live our lives. From the interconnected nature of social media to the convenience of online shopping, everything is seemingly available with the click of a button.

Food defense has taken a significant step forward with the continued guidance of technological progression. From major organizations like Nestlé down to the smallest suppliers, technology is alleviating some of our most serious food and safety concerns.

Let’s take a closer look at how technology is working overtime to revolutionize our food defense systems.

How Technology Is Revolutionizing Food Defense

Technology has transformed a great many industries, the food industry notwithstanding. In the realm of food defense and safety, suppliers and manufacturers have noticed a tangible step forward in several areas.

  • Farming Technology – From the very beginning of the chain, technology has taken a tangible step toward alleviating risks associated with the food chain. Farm tech allows for deeper insights into crops and soil conditions as well as potential pests.
  • Food Processing – Major advances in food processing have made it easier than ever for companies to integrate safer and better-quality food. Higher-temperature processing also allows food to preserve its nutritional value while eliminating harmful bacteria.
  • Food Packaging – Packaging has taken a major step forward in recent years as automated technology continues to take center stage. Food packaging advancements have led to a reduction in waste, lessening the overall impact on the environment.
  • Advanced Cleanliness – New technologies have even made it easy for the testing of potential contaminants in the workplace. Testing for and scrubbing away potential contaminants is a significant step forward for the health and vitality of the food system.

Global and National Entities Involved in Food Defense

  • FAO – The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) specializes in international efforts to improve nutrition and food security while reducing hunger.
  • WHO – The World Health Organization is an arm of the United Nations responsible for public health. The WHO is headquartered in Sweden with a host of offices around the world.
  • USDA – The U.S. Department of Agriculture comprises 29 agencies with a focus on federal laws pertaining to farming, food, forestry, and other economic developments.
  • CFIA – The Canadian Food Inspection Agency works to safeguard regulations pertaining to plants, foods, and animals throughout Canada.

How Can Regular Monitoring Mitigation Strategies Enhance Food Defense?

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of repairs. A food safety plan put in place and properly practiced can work to mitigate potential threats, as we’ve alluded to above.

Regular mitigation strategies can also:

  • Identify gaps – Assessing broad-based controls will give individuals the opportunity to assess gaps in procedures, covering areas of need that may have gone unnoticed.
  • Take Corrective Actions – Regular mitigation efforts can reduce the time wasted between identifying an issue and acting upon it.

A food defense plan can be developed in conjunction with the appropriate professionals. With a constant focus on updating and monitoring mitigation strategies, industry leaders can ensure they are doing their utmost to reduce potential threats to their products.

Threat of Economically Motivated Adulteration (EMA)

Economically motivated adulteration (EMA) is a term that refers to food fraud. More specifically, EMA occurs when a product is intentionally left out or modified in a way that changes its appearance or value.

As an example, the addition of cheaper oil to an expensive olive oil is only appropriate when the oil is identified as a mixture and not presented as a pure product. Food fraud is common and an issue that the FDA has to contend with frequently.

Future of Food Defense

With a rapidly growing infrastructure that is increasingly reliant upon global connectivity, the future of food defense has never been more critical or sharply in focus.

According to the FAO, there is plenty to be excited about as far as the future of food defense is concerned. The development of new food production systems and food sources as well as continued research into the human microbiome has given rise to a more thorough understanding of what we can expect in the future.

Of course, food protection safety and defense will have to navigate the turbulent waters of climate change, food fraud, economic recession, and the other risk factors we’ve covered.

Find a Career in Food Safety

Johnson & Wales University (JWU) offers today’s students access to the online food safety degree that they need to ensure a safer, healthier, and more fulfilling future for the food supply chain.

JWU offers a Master of Science in Food Safety alongside its MBA in Operations and Supply Chain Management. Focused on empowering today’s brightest minds, JWU provides students with a two-year track to completing their degree.

For more information about completing your degree online, complete the Request Info form, call 855-JWU-1881, or email [email protected].

Virtual Internships: Navigating a New Era of Professional Growth

It’s no secret that internships can be beneficial both while you’re in college and after you graduate. Whether paid or unpaid, internships provide you with valuable, hands-on work experience that can prepare you for future career success. The right internship can also create professional networking opportunities that may lead to a job offer down the road. In fact, research has found that individuals who have successfully completed at least one internship increase their chances of getting a job offer by an average of 16 percent.

What if you don’t have time for a “traditional” 9-to-5 internship? Perhaps logistical challenges prevent you from completing an internship in person. These days, virtual internships are becoming increasingly common and can provide an excellent opportunity for people in many different fields.

What Is a Virtual Internship?

A virtual internship can be completed remotely from a person’s home computer, phone, or mobile device. With a remote internship, you do not need to physically be in a company’s office to perform your work. In some cases, the hours and days that you work may even be flexible—but this will vary based on the company and the virtual internship program in question.

While not all internship responsibilities can be performed remotely, many of them can. From answering phone calls to handling basic administrative tasks or customer service inquiries, an intern’s job duties often don’t require them to physically be in the office. As a result, virtual internship opportunities are becoming increasingly abundant for undergraduate students, graduate students, and recent graduates alike to gain some valuable work experience —all without leaving their homes.

The Rise of Virtual Internships in the Modern Workplace

If you’ve never heard of a virtual internship before, you may be wondering what has led to the rise in these opportunities and what kind of impact they have had on the global workforce.

Factors Contributing to the Rise

Although some companies offered virtual internships before the COVID-19 pandemic, the reality is that widespread virtual internships were a direct result of the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. With businesses forced to close their doors, many pivoted to remote operations. Of course, during COVID, the need for workers and interns didn’t change; these businesses still needed to find help, even if they couldn’t meet in person.

As a result, more businesses began offering remote internship opportunities to college students and even recent college graduates. Today, even though pandemic-related lockdowns are a thing of the past, many businesses have continued to offer virtual internships out of convenience and as a cost-saving measure. By not having interns in a physical office, this frees up space while also cutting down on resources used. It also allows businesses to attract talent from further afield than in-person internships would permit.

Impact on the Global Workforce

The pandemic proved that with the right setup, remote work is viable in just about every industry imaginable. The same holds true for internships.

If anything, the rise of virtual internships has made these types of work opportunities more accessible to students and graduates who may not have had the ability to complete a traditional internship in person. Transportation challenges, scheduling conflicts, and other obligations may have prevented a person from completing an internship in the past—but with virtual internships, these opportunities for professional development are available to almost anyone. This levels the playing field somewhat, allowing everyone a more equal opportunity to gain the experience they need to join the workforce.

Structure of a Virtual Internship

The structure of a virtual internship can vary greatly based on the position, the employer, and even the industry itself. Virtual internship opportunities are common in industries such as technology, software engineering, and even sports management. Both entrepreneurial startups and larger, established companies are taking advantage of virtual internships as a means of filling staffing gaps in a way that’s affordable and convenient.

In general, virtual resources still include some sort of team or collaborative component that keeps interns on the same page as the rest of the internal team. This might include, for example, a daily or weekly meeting on Zoom, Skype, or some other video platform to discuss goals and progress. Typically, virtual internships last for a few months at a time and may be renewable, but this will depend on the company.

As with any other type of internship, a remote internship may also be paid or unpaid. For an unpaid internship, the main appeal would be the promise of valuable work experience and the potential for networking opportunities. In some cases, a virtual internship may even end with a formal job offer from the company.

Advantages of a Virtual Internship

Compared to a traditional in-person internship, there are many potential benefits of completing a virtual internship for graduate students and recent graduates alike.

  • Flexibility – A virtual internship offers unrivaled flexibility, saving you the time and hassle of commuting to an office each day. In some cases, you may even be given some flexibility with your schedule so you can work on your own time while keeping up with your studies.
  • Global Exposure and Diverse Opportunities – Virtual internships also offer global exposure and the potential for more diverse opportunities than a local internship. Rather than being restricted to internships that are located within commuting distance, a virtual internship can be completed from just about anywhere in the world. This means you can have more diverse and cross-cultural work opportunities to choose from.
  • Cost-Effectiveness – Whether the internship is paid or unpaid, completing it virtually can be more cost-effective because you won’t have to worry about the expenses associated with commuting to a physical workplace. This can help you cut down on fuel costs, bus fees, parking, and even wear and tear on your vehicle.
  • Enhanced Time Management – Many college students also appreciate how a virtual internship enables them to improve their time management skills. As opposed to trying to juggle schoolwork and an internship with strict work hours in place, many virtual internships offer greater flexibility that makes it easier for busy students to manage their coursework and internship at the same time.

Considerations of a Virtual Internship

While virtual internships undoubtedly present notable benefits, there are also some potential drawbacks to consider if you’re thinking about pursuing this kind of work opportunity.

  • Limited Face-to-Face Interaction – By their very nature, virtual internships don’t offer much (if any) face-to-face interaction. For more extroverted individuals, this can detract from the overall experience. Not being able to stop by a person’s cubicle and ask a question or strike up a conversation with a coworker may be a major drawback for some. The good news is that many virtual internships have systems to keep workers in communication while encouraging collaboration. Tools like Zoom, Skype, and Microsoft Teams make it possible to set up live video chats and meetings, keeping everybody on the same page and allowing them to interact in real-time.
  • Technology Issues – Another possible disadvantage to consider with a virtual internship is that of technology issues. Internet connections, software, and hardware aren’t 100 percent reliable. If you encounter a technology issue during the middle of your workday, you may be unable to complete your work as expected. Ongoing problems could affect your reputation, your reliability, and the quality of your work—so it’s vital to ensure you have stable internet and dependable technology in place if you want to complete a virtual internship. NOTE: Yes, you need reliable internet – but many companies provide laptops, monitors, etc. and also IT services.
  • Communication Barriers – In a virtual workplace, communicating with others can also be a challenge—and it can be difficult to stay on the same page. This may be especially true for global internships where not everyone speaks the same language.

Tips for a Successful Virtual Internship

If you’re thinking about pursuing a virtual internship, here are a few things to keep in mind so you can make the most of the experience.

  • Communication – First, make sure you have a plan in place when it comes to communicating with both your supervisors and managers and fellow interns and other coworkers. Will you plan to catch up with a video chat every Friday? How often should you check in throughout the day? Establishing these rules for communication ahead of time can help set you up for success.
  • Dedicated Workspace – Create a space in your home that you can dedicate 100 percent to your work. Ideally, this will be a desk with a computer and a reliable internet connection, as well as anything else you may need to do your job well. A designated workspace can eliminate distractions while increasing productivity, helping you get the most of your experience.
  • Time Management – Brush up on time management techniques and strategies to make sure you can effectively juggle your internship and school.
  • Organization – It’s just as important to keep your workspace neat and organized as it is to have a dedicated workspace in the first place. At the end of each day, set aside a couple of minutes to tidy everything up and prepare for the next workday.

Professional Development in a Virtual Internship

A virtual internship can offer some excellent opportunities for professional development, but you’ll need to take a proactive approach, too.

Building Connections in a Virtual World

To maximize your networking opportunities in a virtual internship, make sure you have a LinkedIn profile set up and fleshed out as extensively as possible. This professional platform is the best way to connect with peers, colleagues, and others around the globe, especially as remote work becomes increasingly common.

The Future of Virtual Internships

Only time will tell what the future holds for virtual internships—but if the past few years are any indication, remote internships are likely here to stay. Looking to make the most out of your graduate experience? Explore JWU’s Master of Business Administration degree, which is available 100 percent online and can be completed in as little as two years.

For more information about completing your degree online, complete the Request Info form, call 855-JWU-1881, or email [email protected].

Where to Get Started: 11 Tips on How to Franchise a Business

Franchising is an excellent option for aspiring small business owners who want to play a pivotal role in the daily operations of their business while having the support of a corporation to rely on. However, many aspiring entrepreneurs are not sure exactly how to franchise a business.

This guide will walk you through the basics of franchising, the pros and cons, and the best tips for successfully launching a franchise business.


A franchise is essentially a business agreement between a franchisor and a franchisee in which the franchisee is able to rely on a successful business model to launch their own location of a business.

A franchisor is an individual or corporation who owns the brand, and a franchisee is a small business owner who enters into the business agreement.

While franchise agreements will vary depending on the franchisor, the general purpose of the agreement is to provide the franchisee with the structural support and resources necessary for them to launch a successful location of that business in a new region or neighborhood.

The Concept of Franchising

The concept of franchising has been around for hundreds of years, but the modern iteration of franchising came into its own in the latter half of the 20th century. As suburban spread increased the opportunities for small business owners, franchising became a lucrative way to invest in a tried-and-true business brand.

This business model allows for a brand name to begin to spread in different regions of the country while offering entrepreneurs and investors the opportunity to benefit from business ownership.

Some of the most successful franchises in the world include Chick-fil-A, McDonald’s, and Ace Hardware.

Differentiating Franchising and Licensing

The main difference between franchising and licensing is the way that brand information is legally shared between two parties. In a franchise agreement, the franchisee acquires the right to rely on a specific business model to offer the same service to a targeted area. In a licensing agreement, an individual or business owner can sell products with a licensed logo or image. Franchising is best for service-based businesses, while licensing is preferred by business owners selling a product.


Knowing your customers and understanding the needs of your community are critical components of franchise success. You will want to invest in a franchise that fills a void or addresses a need in your community, rather than add another similar business to an already crowded landscape. For instance, avoid purchasing a fast-food franchise that specializes in hamburgers if there are several other burger joints within a five-square-mile radius.


One of the primary advantages of purchasing a franchise is that you are investing in a business that will offer you structural support in terms of branding, marketing, and business strategy. However, you still need to develop your own business plan that allows you to become profitable as quickly as possible. A quality business plan should include things like an executive summary that highlights your mission and goals, market research that explores the competitive landscape for this kind of business, and a well-defined operational plan that elucidates overall logistics you’ll implement to ensure your franchise’s success.


It’s important to know that the start-up costs of the most successful and well-known franchises are significant. In essence, you are going to pay more upfront to purchase a franchise from a nationally or even globally recognized brand. However, each franchisor is different, so you will want to get specific information about the franchise fee for the brand you are considering. Knowing what you will need to pay upfront and what types of payments or profit-sharing are required in the long term will allow you to make the best financial decisions for your personal and professional portfolios.


In order to protect your business assets as well as your personal assets, recommends that you form a corporation or an LLC once you begin investing in franchises. Not only will your corporation status help you qualify for additional tax breaks that you would not otherwise be eligible for, but it also will ensure that your personal and professional assets are kept separate. This lowers the risk of investing in a franchise and makes it easier for you to grow your franchise portfolio. In fact, many of the top franchisors prefer to deal with franchisees who have formed a corporation or LLC.


Before you sign your franchise agreement, you will need to secure financing for your transaction. If you are not able to pay cash, you will want to obtain outside financing. Most franchisees obtain financing by applying for a loan through their bank or credit union, applying for a Small Business Administration loan, or borrowing money from family members who have the capital available and are interested in helping you achieve your professional goals.


Franchise Disclosure Document, or FDD, is a legal document that franchisors are required by law to create and maintain. A franchisor must supply their FDD to the interested franchisee to maintain transparency. An FDD contains information about current franchisees who own a location and data related to the number of franchisees acquired and lost within the past year.

The FDD gives you additional information and context as you make your final decision and provides you with an opportunity to contact other like-minded franchisees to learn more about their experiences.


Rather than trying to reinvent the wheel once you open your new franchise location, rely on the information and resources provided to you during your training program. Standardize the operations at your franchise in accordance with brand guidelines and best practices. Not only will this help you maintain your relationship with your franchisor and adhere to their brand standards, but it also will ensure that your operations run smoothly and efficiently from the outset. You have a reliable playbook to work with, and there are many advantages to that.


One of the most significant benefits of purchasing a franchise is that you have access to trademark products, brands, marketing strategies, and advertising campaigns. In many cases, you can rely on brand marketing and advertising to funnel business to your specific location, which can decrease the amount that you spend from your franchise budget on this line item. Branding, marketing, and advertising should remain consistent from one franchise location to the next, which is another reason why you should rely on the materials provided to you by the corporate office.


From the managers that you recruit to the part-time employees that you hire to work at your location, it’s essential that you have a strong and trustworthy team on your side. Everyone should work together to reach the common goals of your location, which may include certain sales goals as well as community outreach objectives.

Ultimately, the team extends from the top down, so the best thing that you can do as a franchisee is set an example and lead with confidence, integrity, honesty, and empathy.


Maintaining compliance is critical to your success as a franchise business owner. You will have to work to ensure you follow regulatory guidelines within the industry as well as any compliance standards that have been put in place by the brand itself. In addition, your local government may mandate that you acquire business licenses or permits to operate in the community, and you will need to keep those current to keep the doors open.


Your franchisor will set you up for success with brand guidelines and best business practices, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t work to improve on your own. By prioritizing efforts to give back to your local community and ensuring that your employees enjoy a healthy and happy work environment, you can continuously improve your reputation as a franchisee. Ultimately, you want to be the type of franchisee that people know and recognize in your local community.


At Johnson & Wales University, we can prepare you for life as a franchisee with our innovative business degree programs. We offer both an online Bachelor of Science in Business Administration — Entrepreneurship as well as an online Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management, both of which can provide you with the business foundation and practical skills necessary to own your own franchise business.

For more information about completing your degree online, complete the Request Info form, call 855-JWU-1881, or email [email protected].

My First Professional Conference Presentation and My Journey Towards My DBA

I recently presented at the Big Data Days virtual conference, hosted by Enterprise Big Data Framework. This was my first presentation at a professional conference, and I was quite honored to do so, especially as the conference coordinators approached me and asked if I would like to speak this year. My topic was “Organizational Culture Transformation: Challenges and Benefits of Adopting a Data Culture.” The overall theme of this year’s Big Data Days conference was ‘Data Democracy,’ so my presentation fit very well with the overall program and theme of the other sessions.

In my presentation, I outlined why adopting an organizational data culture is important in today’s business environment. An organizational data culture is a shared set of beliefs, values, behaviors, practices, and attitudes around data that crosses all boundaries of the organization to enable data-driven decision-making.

I outlined the multitude of the benefits of adopting a data culture, and how doing so will enable data-driven decision-making. There are significant benefits to the organization, its employees, and the overall decision-making process by adopting a data culture. However, there are also many challenges. The most important characteristic needed to successfully adopt a data culture is also the biggest challenge. Namely, it is paramount that the top-most leadership must be committed to a data culture — without this commitment, achieving a successful transformation will be extremely challenging. You can view the full presentation, as well as all the other sessions from Big Data Days 2023, at the Big Data Days YouTube channel.

This was my first professional presentation, and I was a bit nervous going into it. I prepared and was ready to go, but at the beginning of the presentation I hit a small technical problem; my slides were not presenting as they were meant to. I was more than 5 minutes into my talk before the moderator was able to stop me and let me know the slides weren’t advancing. As a new presenter, this was not what I wanted, so there was a moment of anxiety.

I remained calm and did what I would have done if presenting to coworkers or peers. I made a joke, we fixed it, and got back on track quickly. But it caused me to pause. I think I reacted the best way and it did not seem to hinder the presentation. Nevertheless, it was not how I hoped it would go. Lesson learned; test your technology beforehand!

Since then, the organization that held that conference asked to interview me for their podcast, Big Data Talks, so my presentation must have gone ok! In the podcast, I discuss my journey to becoming a data professional, my leadership style, and other tidbits.

Suzannah Hicks Big Data Talks

My Experience in the DBA Program

The topic for my presentation is also my dissertation topic for my DBA. I began Johnson & Wales University’s Doctor of Business Administration program in August 2021. I’m currently coming to the end of my second year and am hard at work writing my dissertation proposal. I have always been a life-long learner and achieving this terminal degree has been a professional and personal goal my entire life.

I chose the Johnson & Wales DBA program because of the way the program is organized and built towards working professionals that want to further their education beyond an MBA or other graduate degree. I have gained practical business and organizational knowledge that I put into practice every day. The DBA program has expanded my skills and level of understanding of business concepts and strategies. It has developed in me a greater knowledge of the challenges and risks facing global business in our fast-changing environment.

The DBA and its extremely knowledgeable faculty have developed my skills in critical strategic thinking, decision making, leadership, organizational transformation, and business development. Overall, I have learned a tremendous amount as a student of the DBA program. Without the knowledge I have gained since beginning the program, I do not believe I would have been asked to present at the Big Data Days conference and I certainly would not have had the opportunity to further my research regarding organizational data culture.

Since presenting I have been approached by contacts in my LinkedIn network to share my presentation and to potentially speak at future conferences. I look forward to doing so. My goals once I complete the DBA program and achieve my doctorate degree are to continue working as a data professional in a leadership capacity. I hope to continue to grow my career to the executive level and help organizations achieve an organizational data culture and all the benefits that come with its adoption.

Suzannah Hicks

My Role as a Data Scientist & Strategist

My current position is with the International Association of Privacy Professionals where I am the Data Scientist & Strategist. When I started at the IAPP, almost five years ago, I was the only data employee and there was no data team. I was brought in to solve a few specific business needs, but it did not take long for me to realize that more was needed.

That was the genesis of building the data team, which now is myself with five direct reports. It was difficult; I had to work hard to get leadership to buy in that we needed a data team and that by developing a data program, the organization as a whole would benefit. I think this is where my initial ideas around data culture began.

Additionally, as an employee of a membership association for privacy professionals, I have had the opportunity to learn a great deal about data privacy and how it impacts everyone, not just privacy pros or data pros. Data privacy touches all of us and it should be something everyone should at least be aware of. In my role, once I got my legs under me, it became apparent that we also needed to do our internal data privacy work. So, I work very closely with our data privacy officer. There have been several big data privacy regulations—such as the GDPR from the EU, and the CCPA out of California—that are changing how we are able to collect, process, use, and ultimately protect data. There are now ten US state data privacy laws, and they are all slightly different. This is a burden on businesses and there is a strong movement to pass a federal US data privacy law. It will come soon, but no one is sure when that may be. We need one — that is my personal opinion.

On the note of learning about data privacy. I did not learn anything about data privacy as a student in my graduate data science program. This is the norm; young and eager data professionals are being pumped out of academic programs, online courses, and other types of learning opportunities but none are teaching data professionals about data privacy and how it will impact their work. And it will impact their work. I continue to spread this message everywhere I go and will continue to do so because I’m very passionate about data privacy now that I have a greater understanding.

As I design my dissertation research, I am designing with privacy first in mind. All my research will assure that individuals and the participating organizations will be anonymous and deidentified. It is my responsibility to them to make sure that their data and their privacy are protected. I hope my peers in the program are doing the same. We receive great methodology instruction, but I think there could be more about data privacy when designing our dissertation research.

I could go on about the importance of this because I feel so strongly about it. I am no longer the data scientist that wants all the data. I now am the person always asking should we use this or that data? Are we managing and using the data with privacy first in mind? That is a significant difference in how I approach my work before I learned anything about data privacy.

Suzannah Hicks Data Culture Presentation

Balancing Work and School

Balancing my work and the DBA program is challenging. It is designed for working professionals, but it still requires time and lots of self-discipline. It took me at least the whole first semester to find my rhythm and balance. Now I think I’ve got a good balance; and as long I stick to my internal schedule, I have managed to hit all my deadlines.

But we are also now into the dissertation so it’s very good that I figured it out before the added work, and the dissertation is definitely added work. Luckily, I enjoy school and learning so working on my dissertation isn’t ‘working.’ In addition to all the incredible benefits of the program I’ve already discussed, I think I would add self-discipline as a big benefit I have really—and finally—learned. I am looking forward to my last year in the DBA program and can’t wait to finally achieve my lifelong aspiration to complete the terminal degree.

From Food Passion to Successful Enterprise: A Guide on How to Start a Catering Business

Do you have a passion for the culinary arts and enjoy taking on new challenges each day? Then a career as a catering entrepreneur may be right up your alley. Opening and running your own catering business can be a great way to expand your culinary reach beyond a single restaurant location, opening up new doors of opportunity. Operating your own catering business also allows you to create new menus and diversify your offerings based on your client’s unique tastes and requirements.

Of course, successful catering ventures don’t launch overnight. Instead, they take years of formal culinary education, training, research, and planning. If you’re ready to get the ball rolling on your catering enterprise, there are some things you should know before you get started.


Catering refers to a service where a business prepares and serves food at a third-party location. One of the most common events that require catering, for example, is that of a wedding reception. When a couple needs to feed a large group of people at the reception (sometimes hundreds of people at once), a catering company may be called in to create a personalized menu and serve food at the event.

In addition to food preparation, catering companies may offer hosting, serving, and even bartending as part of their services as well.

Catering services may also be used to feed people at major corporate events (such as industry trade shows and conferences), birthday parties, graduation parties, retirement parties, and more.

Getting into the catering business can be quite lucrative if you know what you’re doing. However, it can take some time to get your business running, established, and profitable. In general, a new catering business can expect to bring in around $30,000 during the first year of operation. However, as business becomes more established and profitable, it is not uncommon for successful catering businesses to bring in more than $80,000 per year in profits.


So, where should you begin if you’re interested in starting your own catering business? One of the most important things you’ll need to do at the beginning is to identify your niche. After all, if you think about some of the most successful catering businesses you know of, they likely have one thing in common: they specialize in something. Whether it be Italian cuisine, decadent appetizers, or spectacular desserts, an excellent catering company will have a particular niche.

Take some time to consider where your own strengths lie when it comes to your culinary skills. If you have unique experience and proven track record with a certain type of cuisine, it may make sense to start there. Or, if you have lots of experience with cooking for a particular type of event (such as a wedding), you might make that your niche.

Market Research and Target Audience

Next, it’s time to do some extensive market research. This will help you get a better understanding of who your target audience is and what they’re looking for when it comes to catering services.

One of the best tips to keep in mind when doing market research at the early stages of the game is to pull up reports and statistics on catering businesses in your area. How well are caterers performing in your target location? How many new catering businesses have recently opened and what are their areas of expertise?

Taking the time to research your competition is also wise, as it can give you a better feel for what they’re doing right (and what strategies you may want to adopt in your own business) and where they may be lacking. From there, you can aim to fill in service gaps and set yourself apart from your competitors.

Likewise, understanding your target audience and their pain points when selecting a catering service can go a long way in better serving your future clients.


While it may seem like a formality, drawing up a formal business plan is a must for any aspiring catering entrepreneur. Not only does a business plan give you the opportunity to put your plans in writing, but it also forces you to think about some essential aspects of your catering business that you may not have otherwise considered.

Meanwhile, if you plan on applying for any small business financing (including loans and grants), there’s a good chance your potential lenders and investors will ask for a formal business plan to review.

Define Catering Services and Menu

As part of your business plan, be sure to include some specific details about your catering services and menu. What exact services will your company offer? For example, some catering companies may set up buffets and handle clean-up, whereas others may include hosting and serving as part of their services. Will you offer bartending services? If so, then you’ll need to obtain a liquor license.

This is also a good time to narrow down your menu a bit. You don’t necessarily have to create a list of all your final dishes, but you should at least be able to home in on the type of cuisine you plan to serve, along with some examples of potential menu items.

Marketing and Promotions Plan

Having a solid marketing plan is also a must when it comes to launching a successful catering business. After all, you can’t expect your business to grow by word-of-mouth alone. While you may not have a massive budget for marketing and advertising as a small catering business in its early stages, there are some things you can keep in mind to make your marketing strategy as cost-effective as possible.

Consider, for example, setting up dedicated social media accounts on Instagram and other popular platforms. From there, you can post quality, share-worthy photos of your best menu items to help spread the word without spending a penny.


Depending on where you live, there are also some legal hoops you’ll need to jump through before you can start operating your catering business. Take your time to research and familiarize yourself with these important steps so you can plan (and budget) accordingly.

Legal Requirements and Permits

There are a few different types of licenses and permits that you may need. Again, these can vary from one state to the next, so you’ll need to do your own research to determine what your state requires. In general, some common permits and licenses you may need to start a catering business include:

  • Zoning permits
  • A general business license
  • A health permit

Location, Equipment, and Supplies

The location of your catering business will also play a vital role in your potential for success. Many catering companies choose to rent out their own commercial kitchens rather than prepare food on-site. Doing so allows you to have consistent access to the same equipment, cookware, and space with each new job you take on. However, this setup does tend to come with some higher operational costs.

Some catering businesses instead forgo renting out their own kitchens and rely on their clients to provide kitchens and equipment for food prep. This tends to be a more affordable option, but it also prevents your business from having a set location and requires you to adapt to the equipment and space your client is able to provide.

Ultimately, it’s best to consider your own business goals (along with your menu options) to determine which setup will be best for your catering company.


Your catering business can only be as good as the team you hire to help carry out your services. Even if you possess excellent culinary skills, the reality is that you will have little time to prep and cook food as the owner of a catering enterprise. Instead, you’ll need to hire a team of workers that you can trust to carry out your vision and replicate your dishes to the highest level of quality possible.

Even if you can partake in a lot of the prepping and cooking in the early stages of your business, this probably isn’t as sustainable as your company grows. Regardless, you’re likely to need a few employees to help you transport food, serve food, and set up and tear down at events.

Hiring and Employee Development

As you begin the process of recruiting for your catering team, there are a few things to consider. First, you may want to consider working directly with a temp agency or other recruiting agency to help you find the right people for the job. Working with a temp agency is also a great way to free up some of your own valuable time and resources while still finding qualified candidates.

Even after you’ve found the right people for the work, you’ll need to create and implement a training program that you can carry out consistently with your catering staff. Consider, too, whether you’ll provide uniforms or have your team follow a dress code.


One of the best ways to set your catering business apart from the competition (and set it up for long-term success) is to really home in on your branding and marketing. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you consider your own marketing strategy.

Unique Brand Identity

Work to form your own brand identity so your clients can differentiate you from other catering companies in your area. This can be easier said than done, but over time, you’ll be able to narrow down the key differentiators that your business has to offer and build on those. Perhaps you’re the only catering company in town that also specializes in desserts and sweet treats—or maybe you’re known for your catering staff showing up in formal attire to every event.


Your social media presence can work wonders for your marketing, especially if you’re regularly posting photos of your work. Make sure, however, that you don’t neglect your website. Oftentimes, your website will be one of the first impressions (if not the first impression) that you make on a potential client.

When building your website, make sure your design is responsive so that potential clients can browse on both mobile and desktop devices with ease. Likewise, include as much practical information as possible, ranging from your catering menu and general pricing to contact information and more.


Optimizing your catering company’s logistics and operations can go a long way toward your success, as well. From how you inventory and store your food to your customer service approach, there are a few best practices to keep in mind as you start out.

Efficient Inventory and Food Safety Protocols

Make sure you have an efficient system in place for maintaining your inventory. This includes keeping track not just of your equipment (such as cookware and utensils) but the ingredients that you keep on hand as well. Ensure that you have the proper equipment to maintain food safety protocols, such as warming dishes for transporting food and deep freezers for storing ingredients.

Streamlined Order Management and Delivery Processes

Make it as simple as possible for clients to place orders, and you’ll be off to a better start than many other catering companies out there. Ideally, you’ll be able to set up your website for online ordering. At the very least, create a simple catering order form that your clients (and your team) can easily understand.

Take time to properly train and practice your delivery processes as well. Shorter delivery and set-up times can improve your bottom line while enhancing the client experience, so these small details matter.

Excellent Customer Service

Never lose sight of the importance of customer service in each job you take on. At the end of the day, your clients and their guests need to feel valued. If your clients have a good experience, word-of-mouth recommendations and referrals can go a long way in helping you grow your business.


If culinary arts is your passion, the idea of managing finances may not be the most exciting part of running a catering business. Still, finance management and profitability are crucial to your long-term success.

Budgeting, Revenue, and Expense Tracking

Establish a thorough and reliable bookkeeping system early on that keeps detailed records of your spending, profits, and other aspects of your budget. Quality bookkeeping software can go a long way in saving you time and hassle while making things like payroll and taxes easier.


Once your catering business has its footing, follow these tips to scale and grow even further.

  • Assess Business Performance and Customer Feedback – Take reviews and feedback seriously. Create a system for assessing performance and making improvements as needed.
  • Identify Opportunities for Expansion – Keep an eye on new opportunities for expansion. Take time to assess these opportunities and make sound decisions based on market research and other factors.
  • Maintain Quality – Never sacrifice the quality of your services or menu items for the sake of perceived growth. Without consistent quality, your business will fail.


If you already have your Associate of Science in Culinary Arts and are ready to take your education to the next level, JWU’s 100 percent online Bachelor of Science in Food and Beverage Entrepreneurship can prepare you to open your own business or partner in a food or beverage startup. From there, you’ll have the skills and experience needed to start your own catering business with confidence!

For more information about completing your degree online, complete the Request Info form, call 855-JWU-1881, or email [email protected].

Student Spotlight: Rich Clay ’23 – (A.A.S.) in Professional Culinary Studies

Rich always liked to cook. The son of missionary parents, Rich experienced the tastes and textures of traditional foods in the countries where his parents served – his mom as a teacher and his dad as a maintenance worker. As a young adult in college, Rich questioned whether a musical career would bring him joy in life. Inspired by his love of international cuisine, combined with his early interest in learning how to cook, Rich enrolled in the first cohort of Johnson & Wales College of Professional Studies online culinary studies degree program. Grateful for the partnership between Chipotle and Guild Education that paid his tuition, and the culinary education he received through JWU CPS, Rich has new dreams and the goal to give back to his community through his love of food.

Early Culinary Influences

My first culinary job was in Cameroon, Africa, while I was still in middle school. My mom and dad wanted me to ‘do something,’ so they found me a job in a mom-and-pop restaurant that served traditional Cameroonian food. Located at the junction of western and central Africa — bordered by multiple African countries — the cuisine has multiple cultural influences. Cameroon has no child labor laws, so the owners were able to hire me to wash dishes. After a couple of weeks, the owners asked if I would like to do the food prep. I said ‘yes’ and enjoyed learning various culinary techniques.

Musical Training

I didn’t consider pursuing my interest in cooking as a career when I graduated high school in 2017. Instead, I went directly to college in Iowa to study vocal performance. I was learning loads of music theory, but not much about performing. After about two-and-a-half years, I left the program and moved to Florida to help my grandma until she passed. I was out of school for about a year, while waiting to be considered an ‘in-state’ student.

Finally enrolled in the Florida school, I liked learning the operatic techniques they were teaching me. But the atmosphere at the school was tense. The competition was fierce, and it wasn’t a healthy competition. I didn’t feel uplifted around my classmates or inspired by my teachers. I certainly wasn’t finding a sense of community at the school, and no longer wanted to be in that environment.

Feeling overwhelmed by the constant pressure to perform, I left school. I questioned whether I wanted a musical career for life. I kept asking myself, ‘will this bring me joy?’

When the country locked down during COVID-19, I became increasingly depressed. It was a very dark time for me. I stayed in my house, thinking about what I wanted in life. I didn’t feel like I had many interests that I could pursue as a career. However, I had a yearning to make food.

A Culinary Dream Comes True

I began thinking about cooking – about how, when I was six years old, I really wanted to know how to prepare food. At six, I already knew how to steam vegetables, make omelets, macaroni and cheese, and homemade fettuccini alfredo.

Cooking is one of the only things that brings me happiness. After my grandma passed, I moved to North Carolina. I wanted to get into cooking again. I knew that Chipotle, in partnership with Guild Education, offers employees educational benefits. I applied for a job and was hired at Chipotle in Gastonia, North Carolina.

Looking through Chipotle’s catalog of qualifying college credits and undergraduate degree programs, I saw that I could earn a culinary degree online through Johnson & Wales College of Professional Studies. I could take two classes a semester, while continuing to work full time. Chipotle, in partnership with Guild, would cover the entire tuition. The school supplies cookware, including pots and pans and professional kitchen knives, and provides equipment to record yourself while cooking for the assignments. I wanted to improve my performance at Chipotle and earn the degree, so I applied. 

Rich Clay cooking chicken at Chipotle

Balancing School, Work and Life

Keeping up with culinary classes while working full time wasn’t easy for me. The program gives a very thorough professional training, which demanded a good deal of time. I often had multiple assignments – maybe three cooking assignments – in a week. Sometimes I would get behind and need to do two or three assignments all in the same day. Managing work and school, I learned to be more self-disciplined and understood how to better budget my time – a skill I use now at work.

Locating all the ingredients I needed for my class assignments was sometimes challenging. I don’t live in a city, so, many of the ingredients weren’t sold in stores near my home. I would look at the recipes and drive 30 or so minutes to Charlotte to shop at Whole Foods, or a mom-and-pop butcher shop.

I could have emailed my teachers to have them suggest substitutions — other students in the program did that and the teachers were always helpful. I chose to source the original ingredients, so the dishes I prepared would feel authentic.

Faculty Support

The support from the culinary faculty helped me meet the challenge of earning the degree online. Whenever I submitted my class assignments or emailed with questions, I received a response within a day. My experience in the culinary program was night and day compared to other schools I’ve attended; the JWU CPS faculty and staff were extremely helpful and obviously care about their students.

In the beginning, I found it difficult to watch the videos in which teachers recorded themselves critiquing my food preparation techniques. Watching myself on my own videos, I could see what I had done incorrectly. When they pointed out my mistakes, I would groan and say to myself, ‘I know, I know.’

As I improved my techniques during the program, it became easier to watch critiques of my cooking.

Eventually, the feedback I received in the videos became one of the things I really liked—for almost every assignment I received at least a 10-to-15-minute video response. The critiques were very thorough; I felt that all my teachers really wanted to help prepare me to succeed in the culinary industry.

I’m especially grateful to my advisor, Tracie Souza. She emailed me regularly to check in and make sure I was doing well. Right from the beginning, she made sure everything was set in place. Her attention was very reassuring and made me feel I had someone advocating for me at the school.

How To Learn Cooking Online

People ask me what it was like to study cooking online. When I first thought about enrolling, I wondered about that, too. How would my culinary teachers evaluate my cooking without tasting the food I made? I was surprised at the many ways we used our senses to analyze my cooking techniques.


I filmed videos of myself preparing food for each assignment and took detailed photos of each dish I made. My teachers are all highly experienced culinary professionals. They could look at a dish I was preparing and know whether the food was perfectly cooked, or if I had seasoned the dishes well. They also critiqued the visual presentation – what you see on the plate influences how the diner enjoys the meal.

Images of food cooked by Rich Clay


I was surprised at the amount of information my teachers got just from listening to sounds while foods were cooking. The teachers encouraged us to cook in a quiet environment, with no background noise – and to turn up the sound on our recording device. It reminds me of the ASMR videos on YouTube, which are intentionally quiet, while sounds made close to the microphone – for example, the repeated snapping in half of a Cheeto – heightens the senses and triggers sensations of tingling or goose bumps in the listener. In my situation, the teacher evaluating me would hear whether the food was cooking at too high a temperature, or even how well I seasoned the dish. I hoped the sounds of my cooking would trigger sensations of delight!

Taste, Aroma, Texture

Only I could smell and taste the food and feel the different textures in my mouth. I worked hard on learning about flavor profiles and expanding my vocabulary to adequately explain my sensory analysis. We had an honor system about reporting what we experienced; it wouldn’t be of any benefit to lie about my food. I wanted to learn and grow, so I was always honest about what didn’t taste right. My teachers would offer valuable feedback and instruct me on how to make the dishes taste better.

Capstone Project

My early experience learning to make traditional Cameroonian dishes gave me a basic understanding of how cooking works and inspired my passion for preparing culturally inspired cuisine. The capstone project in the culinary program was a fantastic opportunity to put that passion into practice by creating food fusions from two cultures. Given the choice of Peruvian – Chinese, English – (East) Indian, or Vietnamese – French cuisine, I chose the combination of India and Britain.

To plan the menu, I researched the history between the countries. Britain colonized India, so Indian food has been influenced by British culture. Beginning in the 19th century, Indian natives began immigrating into the UK and establishing restaurants in London. The spicy, flavorful dishes – both vegetarian and non-vegetarian — have become extremely popular in the UK.

I prepared a kachumber (Indian cucumber) salad, made from diced tomatoes, diced cucumbers, and diced onions, seasoned with oil, salt, pepper, lemon, and cumin. It is very fresh and remarkably simple. I added arugula and a British salad dressing. The dressing has a water base instead of a vinegar base, and includes English mustard – sharp, like American mustard. I puréed a mixture of boiled egg yolk, a little bit of red wine vinegar, garlic powder, onion powder, sugar, and salt. The result is unlike anything like you would think of as being a salad dressing because of the pungent smokiness of the mustard!


For the appetizer. I made a Scotch egg (which is of British, not Scottish origin) with puréed rutabaga (a root vegetable that is hybrid between a cabbage and turnip). The Scotch egg consists of sausage meat wrapped around a hard-boiled egg dipped in light, crisp panko-like breadcrumbs, and then deep fried.

I added onions and garlic and let that sweat. I added the rutabaga. and cooked the mixture on low. I mixed that together with brie and basil. Without adding sugar, the heat brought out the sweetness – the rutabaga tasted almost like a sweet potato.

Scotch Egg

For the entrée, I made an Indian-curried dish called Palak Paneer, and a Tandoori-style chicken. I made my own cheese for the curried dish. I cut up and marinated a whole chicken overnight in coconut milk and spices, including curry, cumin, paprika, garam masala (an Indian spice blend), and then grilled it.

Palak Paneer and Tandoori-style Chicken

I loved making the fusions. Cooking international cuisine during the program deepened my desire to experience food in other cultures. After graduation, I went to Puerto Rico for a short vacation, where I tried to find as many unique restaurants as I could. I traveled to a small town called Catania, where I took a ferry out to an outdoor cafeteria, right next to a fish market. My meal included a full fried fish—wow!

I plan to visit Thailand this fall to take short classes and learn more about the Thai culture in different regions. I’ll travel up north, then down south, and finally to the main city, Bangkok, in the central part of the country. In the future, if I like the short classes, I’ll return to take extended 3-week long courses.

Promotion to Assistant Manager at Chipotle

All those months of planning and preparing multiple dishes for the classes taught me how to manage multiple tasks and assignments. I’m able to work about four times as fast as anyone on my team in the restaurant. Shortly after graduating from the program, I was promoted to Assistant Manager at the Gastonia Chipotle, where I’ve been working.

To meet customer’s expectations each day at Chipotle, I make sure we are fully prepped with all the foods and condiments customers want. By making a schedule of every task that needs to be done, my crew has become more efficient. We are even completing the closing operations at the end of the day much earlier than we did in the past.

I’m able to help improve the quality of food we prepare by teaching my grill and prep people different cooking techniques I’ve learned in school. For example, my grill guys were having problems cooking chicken — they would either overcook or undercook the chicken so the pieces would stick to the grill. I’ve shared with the grill guys different ways to tell when the chicken is done.

There’s a sweet spot when the chicken just pops off the grill. First, I use a timer. I watch the chicken until the edges have turned white. I’ll pick up the chicken piece that has the least amount of heat on it, and if it’s lifting off easily, I know all the other pieces are ready to flip. When both sides are fully cooked, the chicken won’t stick to the grill. It’s basic, but it makes a big difference to the quality of the food.

Dreams and Ambitions

For the almost three years I’ve been their employee, Chipotle has been very good to me. I’m incredibly grateful to Chipotle and Guild Education for making it possible for me to go to school and receive a quality education in JWU’s professional culinary degree program. Without their financial support, I wouldn’t be where I am today — in my position at work, having earned a culinary degree, and feeling so much happier about my direction in life.

I have dreams, and the ambition to accomplish those dreams. Cooking is my calling in life. Food is an incredible tool for connecting with other people and bringing people together. Someday, I’d like to create a business through which I can give back to the community through food. Right now, I’m just happy I can create food that brings people joy.

17 Qualities of a Successful Restaurateur

Do you dream of someday owning and managing a restaurant? If so, then you’ll benefit from some prior experience in the hospitality industry as well as some formal education in this exciting field. Even with the right education and training, however, there are some personality traits and skills that only the most successful restaurateurs tend to possess. By developing these qualities as you embark on your formal degree program, you’ll be positioned to run a successful fine dining establishment down the road.


Before we go any further, we should take the time to define what a restaurateur is and what this kind of work entails. Generally speaking, a restaurateur is simply a restaurant manager, owner, or both. When a restaurateur is also the chef of an establishment, they may be referred to as a chef proprietor.

Depending on the size and scope of the restaurant, a restaurateur may handle tasks such as keeping inventory of ingredients and supplies, training staff members, completing payroll, and even working in the kitchen when the need arises. A restaurateur or restaurant owner is responsible for all aspects of a food establishment, keeping it running smoothly and optimizing the guest experience.

Top Qualities of a Successful Restaurateur

If you’re interested in a career serving up gourmet cuisine as a restaurateur, there are some personality traits and qualities you’ll want to start honing now to succeed in your future gastronomic business ventures.


At any given time, a restaurateur may have dozens of tasks to attend to. This is where strong time management skills can make all the difference, setting a successful chef restaurateur apart from the rest. One of the most important skills to have in time management is the ability to prioritize and delegate. This means completing the most pressing tasks first, as well as delegating tasks to others to get everything done well and in a timely manner.


There’s no way around it: Successful restaurateurs possess abundant amounts of energy. Their personalities are often described as “energetic,” “bubbly,” and sometimes even “overbearing.” This is because the best restaurateurs have such a strong passion for their work that it translates into over-the-top levels of energy and excitement.

This comes in handy, too, because the long hours and busy work of a restaurateur demand high energy. This isn’t exactly a skill that you can develop overnight if you don’t already have it, but you can focus on maximizing your own energy levels through habits like getting enough sleep, exercising, and staying in generally good health.


Restaurateurs also have some of the most creative minds out there. From coming up with restaurant concepts that have never been seen before to brainstorming new takes on classic recipes, restaurateurs are bursting with innovation. They are constantly brainstorming and finding ways to refresh old ideas—and they are rarely complacent with where they are. If you’re the type of person who is always in search of the next big idea, then you might have what it takes to be a restaurateur.


Working as a restaurateur or restaurant manager comes with its fair share of obstacles and challenges. From dealing with staffing issues to overcoming issues with productivity, a great restaurateur will have strong problem-solving skills that can be applied to overcome just about any challenge that comes their way.


Versatility and adaptability are skills that a great restaurateur needs to be successful in the hospitality field. In this line of work, you never know what kind of curveball might be thrown your way. Think about the restaurant owners who were smart enough to move to carry-out and delivery services during the peak of COVID-19 lockdowns. This level of adaptability could be the difference between a successful restaurant operation and one that’s closed within a few years.


Excellent communication skills are at the heart of any successful restaurateur. This means not only being able to communicate clearly to employees (such as servers, chefs, and line cooks) but also communicating on a professional level. Networking in the culinary field is a must for restaurateurs who want to advance their careers; in some cases, learning a language other than English may also come in handy. For example, an aspiring restaurateur looking to open a French restaurant may benefit from learning French and, of course, traveling to France to explore the culinary culture there.


At the end of the day, a restaurateur must serve as a confident and capable leader. After all, everyone working in the restaurant will ultimately turn to the restaurateur for leadership and guidance. Ideally, a restaurateur will have some formal education or experience working in a leadership role, whether as a business manager or supervisor.


No aspiring restaurateur can expect to find success in the hospitality field without a healthy amount of passion for food service and the culinary arts. This simply isn’t the type of field you can expect to get into and thrive in without a true appreciation and passion for the type of work involved. If you don’t feel strongly about fine dining and the food service industry, it may be time to cut your losses and explore other career prospects.


Ultimately, a restaurateur is a business owner who must understand the basic principles of running a successful business. It can be easy to get caught up in the logistics of creating recipes and innovative dishes, but a restaurant is a business at the end of the day. A strong sense of business acumen means understanding things like profits, losses, and revenue—as well as what it takes to keep a restaurant running smoothly and profitably.


If you’re the type of person who is a lifelong learner and continuously growing, then a career as a restaurant manager may be right for you. Due to the dynamic and ever-changing nature of the hospitality industry, the best restaurateurs accept the fact that there is always more to learn, with ever-evolving culinary trends to explore and new skills to acquire.


Maintaining good hygiene and food safety are two crucial aspects of running a restaurant. Successful restaurant managers understand this and have a strong knowledge of current food safety regulations and best practices in addition to the implications and possible repercussions. With this in mind, an aspiring restaurateur must prioritize the importance of proper hygiene and food safety awareness in their work, setting aside the time and resources to ensure that employees receive extensive training in this area.


A career as a restaurateur isn’t for the faint-hearted. Competition in the culinary arts and food service industry is fierce, with an estimated 60 percent of new restaurants failing within the first year of business. With this in mind, successful restaurateurs must be resilient and unafraid to fail. In fact, some of the most successful and well-known restaurateurs in the industry only got where they are because they persisted when their first ventures failed.


Considering the hectic pace of running a restaurant, a restaurateur would do well to focus on sharpening their organizational skills. After all, there is a reason Michelin star restaurants place such a strong emphasis on “mise en place” which refers to the practice of having everything in its place and maintaining a well-run kitchen. Being neat and organized can help you juggle numerous tasks and responsibilities at once without sacrificing quality.


You can’t expect to have a successful restaurant without repeat customers. You can’t beat the word-of-mouth-free marketing that is a happy customer who recommends your restaurant to family and friends. With that said, successful restaurateurs need to be hyper-focused on the wants and needs of their target customers. This means taking the time to truly get to know their customer base, finding out what they expect in a great restaurant, and striving to provide an experience that exceeds those expectations every time.


Motivation is another key to success in the restaurant industry. A strong work ethic will keep you going and empower you to overcome challenges. You can focus on building your work ethic while you’re in school, and these efforts will carry over as you prepare to launch your first restaurant and beyond.


Running any successful business, even a restaurant, requires a great deal of financial discipline and responsibility. Consider, for example, that the average cost to open a restaurant can be around $375,500. How can a restaurateur come up with that kind of money? Most won’t be able to pay for these start-up costs out of their own pockets, so they’ll need to apply for business loans, grants, and other forms of financing. From there, they’ll also need to have a plan in place for paying back any business loans in a timely manner. All of this requires a great deal of financial discipline and planning—skills that not everyone has but everybody can learn.


Some of the best restaurants thrive because they foster a strong sense of community. Ideally, then, a great restaurateur will focus on community engagement in their own lives; this can extend to how they run their restaurants down the road. For example, a restaurateur may opt to donate unused food and ingredients to a local shelter, or they may get their restaurant involved in a charitable cause. Regardless, a strong focus on community engagement and commitment to giving back will serve any aspiring restaurateur well.


A career as a restaurateur can be as rewarding as it is challenging. While the industry is competitive, aspiring restaurateurs with the qualities we’ve outlined above will stand the best chances for long-term success as a culinary entrepreneur.

Likewise, the right degree program can help you sharpen many of these skills while providing the formal training and education that you need to succeed. At JWU, we’re proud to offer degrees in culinary arts and food service management as well as hospitality management (both associate and bachelor’s degrees) to help you kickstart your career. For more information about completing your degree online, complete the Request Info form, call 855-JWU-1881, or email [email protected].

Unlocking Insights for Healthcare Excellence: The Vital Role of a Healthcare Business Analyst

Interested in the business side of healthcare? If so, then a career as a healthcare business analyst might be right up your alley. By working as a healthcare business analyst, you’ll be able to help medical staff and their patients alike by optimizing facility operations, ensuring compliance, improving patient care, and much more.

So, what exactly does a healthcare business analyst do—and how do you get into this challenging yet rewarding line of work? Let’s dive in.


In general, a healthcare business analyst is a professional who is hired by a medical facility (such as a hospital or physician’s office) to keep the business side of operations running as smoothly and efficiently as possible. Oftentimes, healthcare business analysts draw on their experience with finance, information technology (IT), and data analysis to help healthcare organizations gain insights into their operations, spending, and other vital aspects of running a facility.

While the exact roles and responsibilities of a healthcare business analyst can vary from one facility to the next, there are some general functions that most professionals in this role are expected to carry out.

Gathering and Analyzing Healthcare Data

One of the most essential roles of a healthcare business analyst is that of collecting and making sense of healthcare data—often in large amounts. Also known as health informatics, this process involves everything from ensuring the secure handling of healthcare data to maintaining databases and performing data reporting/analysis.

Healthcare facilities generate large amounts of data on a regular basis, so it is crucial for healthcare business analysts to help these facilities better track, store, and interpret their data to make sound business decisions.

Identifying Operational Inefficiencies

In addition to assisting with data and business analytics, analysts also have a responsibility to help healthcare facilities identify and overcome operational inefficiencies. Using their business analytics skills, these professionals can assess how these facilities are being run and what changes can be made to improve efficiency.

For many healthcare facilities, this means looking closely at staffing and spending, as well as making specific recommendations to run things more cost-effectively and efficiently. For example, a healthcare business analyst may recommend that a facility switch to a different medical equipment supplier as a means of saving money. Likewise, they may suggest changes to overtime policies or scheduling to enhance operational efficiency while optimizing a facility’s budget.

Enhancing Patient Experience

At the end of the day, any recommendations that a healthcare business analyst makes must be made with the patient in mind. This is often one of the most challenging aspects of a healthcare business analyst’s job. As easy as it may be to suggest operational changes from a business standpoint, these professionals must also understand the impact that these changes can have on the overall patient experience and quality of patient care.

The best healthcare business analysts are those who can help facilities operate more cost-effectively and efficiently without sacrificing the quality of care. This requires them to be in regular communication with healthcare providers, including physicians and nurses, to get a better understanding of how different business decisions may affect operations.

Supporting Healthcare Decision-Making

While healthcare business analysts aren’t the ones directly responsible for making decisions within a healthcare facility or organization, they generally are the ones making recommendations for higher-ups (including facility managers). These higher-ups rely heavily on reports and insights from healthcare business analysts to make sound decisions when it comes to operations, spending, budgeting, and more. In this sense, healthcare business analysts empower managers, supervisors, and other medical professionals to make smart decisions daily.

Implementing Healthcare Technology Solutions

These days, there are more healthcare technology solutions available than ever before—each making the promise that they will save facilities money, improve operations, or both. A healthcare business analyst can help facilities decide which technologies are best suited for their needs and budgets while also assisting with implementation.

A healthcare business analyst, for example, might recognize ongoing issues with data management within a small physician’s office. Based on the office’s unique needs and budget, this same analyst may be able to recommend and help implement a new data management platform that will streamline operations while improving the facility’s bottom line.

Ensuring Compliance and Communication

Compliance and communication must be at the forefront of any healthcare business analyst’s everyday work. When it comes to handling data, medical facilities must follow strict regulations based on the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). A lack of compliance can result in severe fines and other problems for medical facilities, which is why facilities of all sizes often turn to healthcare business analysts to ensure that they are operating within compliance. This is especially true when it comes to the handling of sensitive patient data, including patient records and other health information.

Healthcare business analysts, then, must be familiar with the ins and outs of HIPAA law while staying on top of changes as they arise.


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for medical and health services managers is expected to grow by 28 percent from 2022 to 2032. This is much faster than the projected average for all occupations, meaning the demand for these professionals will grow in the coming years. For those who are considering a career in healthcare business analysis, now is a great time to start taking the first steps.

The salary can vary based on many factors, including years of experience, certification, qualifications, and level of education. The median annual wage for medical and health services managers was $104,830 in May 2022.


Interested in a career as a healthcare business analyst? There are a few steps you’ll need to take to get started.

Obtain Relevant Education

Most medical facilities looking to hire a healthcare business analyst will be looking for candidates with a minimum of a bachelor of science degree, preferably in a related field (such as healthcare administration). This type of program typically takes around four years to complete. In some cases, an MBA in healthcare management or a related field may be preferred.

Develop Business Analysis and Technical Skills

Aspiring healthcare business analysts will need to develop some business analysis and technical skills to be considered for this type of work. For example, most employers look for candidates with a background in statistics, data science, or other analytical fields that will help them perform their jobs. Likewise, having some solid technical skills under your belt can help set you apart from other candidates. Some common technical skills that employers may prefer when hiring a healthcare business analyst include: 

  • Knowledge of statistical applications to biomedical and health-related fields.
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Excel and other spreadsheet tools for decision-making.
  • Development of data visualization graphics to represent complex medical statistics.
  • Measuring data and managing performance to improve healthcare quality.
  • Employing methods of measuring, managing, and improving healthcare quality.

Gain Experience

While some smaller medical facilities may be willing to hire entry-level healthcare business analysts with minimal hands-on experience, most will give preference during the hiring process to those who have some actual work experience under their belts.

One way to secure some work experience before you enter the field is to explore a school or university with a program that includes career and professional development services. This way, you can further open the doors of opportunity by gaining practical experience before you complete your degree.

Having specific experience working in a healthcare setting can differentiate you from your competition when it comes time to apply for jobs in the field. This can also help you enter the workforce with a greater sense of knowledge and confidence.

Network and Find Career Opportunities

As with many career paths in business, achieving success is all about networking and who you know. As you prepare to apply for healthcare business analyst jobs, then, it’s critical to network and explore your career opportunities as much as possible. If you can, try to attend industry events (such as trade shows and conferences), which can provide you with some valuable insights into the field. Likewise, you can make some great connections at these events—which can help you discover new career opportunities.

Don’t underestimate the power of social media when it comes to networking as a healthcare business analyst, either. Platforms like LinkedIn make it easy for you to connect with others in your field while publishing your own articles and posts, helping you establish yourself as a thought leader while building your reputation as a knowledgeable healthcare business analyst.


Working as a healthcare business analyst can be a great way to put your analytical and problem-solving skills to work while improving patient care and work conditions for medical staff. While the responsibilities of a healthcare business analyst can be complex and challenging, many of these hardworking professionals find the work extremely rewarding.

If you’re interested in a career as a healthcare business analyst, then a quality education can be a great stepping stone. Johnson & Wales College of Professional Studies Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration offers a 100 percent online, career-focused curriculum that can be completed in as little as four years. Upon completion of this program, you’ll have the skills you need to become an expert in data analysis and healthcare operations.

For more information about completing your degree online, complete the Request Info form, call 855-JWU-1881, or email [email protected].

Empowering Justice: Exploring the Impact of Criminal Justice Technology in the Modern Era

Law enforcement officers have more tools at their disposal today than ever before. From technological advancements like surveillance systems and facial recognition to digital forensics and body-worn cameras, criminal justice technology has changed the way law enforcement agencies handle crime scene investigations, probation and parole, and even courtroom appearances.

If you’re interested in a career in criminal justice, you’ll need to stay up to date on the latest technological advancements. With this expertise, you’ll be better positioned for long-term success in law enforcement, corrections, or any other criminal justice role.


Criminal justice technology refers to the advanced tools and resources that have become increasingly ubiquitous across law enforcement agencies nationwide.

Although crimes have been committed since the dawn of humankind, access to technologies for solving and prosecuting crime has evolved over time. For example, when the first police radios were introduced in the 1930s, this technology completely revolutionized the way beat officers communicated with control and dispatch on their routes while enhancing officer safety immensely.

Over the decades, additional technologies that we view as commonplace today changed the scope of law enforcement and criminal justice in significant ways. From patrol-mounted laptops and fingerprint scanners to robotics and smart devices, criminal justice technology has come a long way over the years.


In recent years, several technological advancements have made it possible to improve crime prevention and enhance detection within the criminal justice system.

  • Predictive Analytics and Data-Driven Approaches – This refers to the use of large data sets by law enforcement agencies to predict where crime is most likely to occur while identifying who is most likely to commit crimes or become the victim of crimes. These data-driven approaches can, in turn, be used to increase policing in these areas in an attempt to prevent future crimes.
  • Surveillance Systems and Facial Recognition Technology – More police departments are also using video surveillance systems and facial recognition technology to identify potential suspects while creating biometric profiles. This technology can save law enforcement agencies a great deal of time and resources that would otherwise be spent manually combing through video surveillance footage and images.
  • DNA Analysis and Forensic Advancements – DNA analysis has come a long way since the discovery of the double-helix structure in the 1950s. Today, new forensic advancements like DNA profiling and polymerase chain reaction processes are being used to solve cold cases.


Criminal justice technology isn’t just changing the way law enforcement prevents and detects crime. It’s also transforming the investigations side of law enforcement while increasing transparency and building a greater sense of trust between officers and members of the community.

Digital Forensics, Cybercrime Investigations, and Electronic Evidence Management

These days, cybercrime is more common than ever before. In fact, some of the latest research suggests that nearly half of all American adults have been victims of cybercrime in some capacity.

Fortunately, new technologies in digital forensics, cybercrime investigations, and electronic evidence management have also made fighting these crimes more productive than ever. Specifically, digital forensics makes it possible for investigators to put a stop to cyberattacks before more extensive damage can be done. Likewise, advancements in digital forensics now make it possible to identify what information has been compromised and how data can be kept safer in the future.

With more digital evidence being produced due to the increased prevalence of cybercrime, law enforcement agencies and investigators also need a reliable and secure means of storing digital evidence. Today, many agencies (including federal law enforcement agencies) rely on digital evidence management systems to keep evidence securely stored. These systems keep investigations of these crimes better organized and increase the chance of a successful prosecution and case.

Body-Worn Cameras and Their Impact on Transparency

Body-worn cameras have become increasingly common technology used by police officers, state troopers, and other law enforcement agents across the country. In fact, studies have found that nearly half of all general-purpose law enforcement agencies in the country now use body-worn cameras. In larger police departments, that number is as high as 80 percent.

Not only has body-worn camera technology become more affordable and accessible for police departments in recent years, but there has also been a growing demand by the general public for law enforcement agencies to be more transparent in their operations. When a critical incident occurs, body-worn camera footage can be integral in determining whether the actions of a police officer, state trooper, or other law enforcement agent were justified.


The impact of criminal justice technology can be seen far beyond law enforcement. You can also see these technologies played out in the courtroom and legal process.

  • E-Filing Systems and Digital Document Management – Many court systems across the United States now rely on electronic filing systems and digital document management, making it possible for case documents (such as motions and petitions) to be filed and stored digitally rather than on paper. These electronic systems make it much easier for documents to be shared and retrieved, keeping the criminal justice system running more smoothly while keeping attorneys informed on case progress.
  • Courtroom Presentation Technology and Virtual Hearings – During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, many courts relied on courtroom presentation technology to hold virtual hearings when it was not possible to conduct them safely in person. Even now that these restrictions have been lifted, some courts continue to hold virtual hearings and rely on other digital technologies to better accommodate schedules. It is not unheard of for courts to hold probation hearings, juvenile justice hearings, and parole hearings digitally, cutting down on the need for correctional officer staffing at a physical court appearance while better accommodating the often-conflicting schedules of judges, attorneys, witnesses, and testifying officers.


Recent advancements in criminal justice technology and criminology have also made the work of police officers and other members of law enforcement a bit safer and more productive.

Real-Time Crime Mapping and Predictive Policing

Using data-driven tools and real-time crime mapping, law enforcement agencies can readily implement predictive policing strategies to cut down on crime and (potentially) prevent it from happening. Through the automated analysis of crime data and other large data sets, police agencies can predict where crime is most likely to happen. From there, they can bolster their police presence and increase patrols to strategically prevent crime in problem areas.

Mobile Applications for Law Enforcement Operations

Law enforcement agencies’ access to mobile applications is greater than ever before. These applications can make it easier for them to do their jobs and potentially even prevent or mitigate crime. Many officers, for example, are now using apps that make it possible to do anything from collecting notes and issuing citations to completing and submitting reports. Meanwhile, other apps can help to identify the appearance of commonly abused prescription drugs, which can aid officers in their investigations while keeping illegal drugs and controlled substances off the streets.

Wearable Technology and Officer Safety Enhancements

Wearable technology has also come a long way in recent years, especially as it relates to officer safety. In addition to body-worn cameras, many departments are also implementing body-worn devices (such as watches and other wearable sensors) that can detect when an officer has a hard fall or may be otherwise injured on the job. These kinds of technological advancements can help to keep officers safer and ensure that a rapid response is deployed if an officer is believed to be in danger.


Technological advancements have also made it easier for police departments and other law enforcement agencies to collaborate and share information than ever before. Digital evidence, documents, and other files can now be shared more seamlessly with other departments or agencies, which can aid in the investigation and prosecution of crimes. In the past, this would have been difficult and time-consuming, as physical documents would need to be meticulously scanned or otherwise digitized to share with another agency.


Only time will tell what the future holds for criminal justice technology—but with so many great advancements in just the last few years, things are looking promising.

AI and Machine Learning

Perhaps the biggest impact we can expect to see in criminal justice technology will come from advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. Police departments and other agencies are already beginning to explore the ways in which AI solutions may assist law enforcement in making decisions or performing tedious tasks (such as sorting through evidence or surveillance footage). It is also believed that machine learning may be useful in helping agencies enhance their own predictive policing strategies to cut down on crime and better serve communities.

Criminal justice technologies have come such a long way in a very short period—and anyone interested in a career in law enforcement should be familiar with these new and emerging advancements.


Looking to take your own criminal justice career to the next level? Johnson & Wales University’s Master of Public Administration in Criminal Justice and Master of Science in Criminal Justice are excellent starting points. These 100 percent online programs are designed to prepare you to stand out in the criminal justice field with an enhanced understanding of criminal justice technology, advanced legal issues, public policy, personnel administration, and much more.

For more information about completing your degree online, complete the Request Info form, call 855-JWU-1881, or email [email protected].