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Hazell Nut Café Gives Hospitality Students a Taste of the Business
The student-run coffee shop in Maxcy Hall offers beverages, snacks, and opportunities for students to apply what they are learning in the classroom.
April 17, 2019
By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications
Voniettee Jacobs-Haynes ’19 says serving as the general manager of the Hazell Nut Café has been "fun and challenging," and it has taught her how to be a leader.
In regular discussions with her fellow student employees, Jacobs-Haynes tries to engage them as much as she can, seeking their input and ideas when making decisions about the café.
"The goal is to get everyone to be creative," said Jacobs-Haynes, a hospitality and tourism management major with a concentration in hotel and resort management. "Although we have rules that student employees need to follow, we encourage them to be innovative and engaged and to think outside the box."
"Working here has helped with my customer service skills. It has also been an excellent networking opportunity, connecting me with other students in my major."Voniettee Jacobs-Haynes ’19
As she prepares to pass the reins after she graduates, Jacobs-Haynes is conducting workshops on topics such as completing purchase orders and conducting inventory, hoping to prepare the next group of leaders to take on the café’s day-to-day operations. One such student is Mary Andrle ’21, who has worked in the café since her first semester at the University.
"I enjoy interacting with customers, and working at the café has taught me how to be more of a people person," said Andrle, a hospitality and tourism management major. "Working here has helped with my customer service skills. It has also been an excellent networking opportunity, connecting me with other students in my major."
Each semester, the café offers something new, and Jacobs-Haynes wants students to be involved in designing the menu (look for quinoa soon). The café’s business model has also changed, since some of the students are now paid employees. One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is the students’ dedication to serving the best food and creating an enjoyable experience for customers.
"I like putting a smile on people’s faces," said Emma Bushway ’21, a hospitality and tourism management major with a concentration in food service management. "While working here, I have learned how to take charge, and I have learned how to work as part of a team."
Jacobs-Haynes, who hopes to one day open a bed and breakfast, also says that she has developed valuable skills while working at the Hazell Nut Café, and that she feels prepared for the next step in her career. After graduation, she will begin working at The Study at Yale, a hotel in downtown New Haven, where she also completed an internship.
"Working at the Hazell Nut Cafe gives students true insight," said Jacobs-Haynes. "It helped me to see that if I owned a coffee shop, this is what I would be doing on a daily basis. I love that aspect of working at the café, and I love that I get to put everything I’ve learned into action."