McDonald's encourages future entrepreneurs

  • Friday, December 16, 2011

    image001(128)PRINCESS ANNE, MD - (Dec. 16, 2011) - Future entrepreneurs at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore recently vied for a "contract" in a mock competitive bidding scenario presented to representatives of Baxter Enterprises, owners of 21 McDonald's franchises on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

    "One of the teams walks away with $2,500 from Baxter Enterprises to split among members," said Dr. Karl Binns, director of the Hospitality Entrepreneurial Institute at the university.  Students faced a five-member panel of judges from the company.

    Almous Harrod, McDonald's USA, Baltimore Washington Region Field Operations Manager, was among the judges. "It was an excellent opportunity for me to participate as one of the judges.  The students displayed true professionalism and everyone did a great job.  The teams presented their plans with great leadership, passion and commitment to doing their best," Harrod said.

    The winning team, Casey's Crepes, was announced to an impromptu drum roll of 32 students' hands thumping on desks.  Team members are:  Jahmael Todman of St. Thomas, V.I., Amanda Ngangana of Baltimore, Md., Gisan Kankanamge of Sri Lanka, Ashley Davis of Baltimore, Md., Allen Quinton of Tucson, Ariz., and Tysheen Twitty of Washington, D.C.

    The event is in its fifth year at UMES.  This is Baxter Enterprise's first year as sponsor of the end-of-semester project in the Facilities Design 304 course for seniors.  Baxter has previously been involved in other projects in the HRM and business departments.

    "We appreciate the relationship we've developed and like to help the students in any way we can," Thomas Baxter, CEO and one of the owners in the family business, said.  "It's good for us and good for them (the students)."

    Six teams were challenged to "put together a business plan proposal for a quick service concept that hasn't been done before in the industry," Binns said.  Students had a hypothetical $1.2 million budget to "create a concept, make it profitable and convince professionals in the industry (the judges) to 'invest' in their deal." 

    Team research and presentations included marketing, operations and financial plans for 36 months. Elements presented were a concept statement, market analysis, menu strategy, method of execution and a management plan.

    "It teaches how to work through stressful situations with a group," said Justin Smith of Jamaica, N.Y., a competitor on the Hibachi Soul team.

    Team Casey's CrepesKimberly Doram of Baltimore, Md., Ensalada Verde team, said, "I really felt like they (the judges) were interested in what we were bringing to the table-our concept.”

    The final project brings together what seniors learned in the marketing, finance and managerial courses they've taken through the Hotel and Restaurant Management program, said Binns, who called it an exercise in “active-learning to expose them to entrepreneurial principles in a competitive environment.”

    When Crystal Cottle of West Orange, N.J., Team Hibachi Soul, graduates, she wants to get her masters in hospitality industry studies. “My end goal is to run a hospitality consulting firm producing events, training staff and other hospitality solutions,” she said.


    Photo (top left)-Baxter Enterprises CEO Thomas Baxter (center) presents a check for $2,500 to Department of Hotel and Restaurant Management faculty, from left, Dr. Karl Binns and Dr. Ernest Boger, at UMES.  Student members of the winning team in a facilities design competition will share the award.

    Photo (bottom right) -The winning team is Casey's Crepes.  Pictured, from left, are:  Tysheen Twitty of Washington, D.C., Gisan Kankanamge of Sri Lanka, Amanda Ngangana of Baltimore, Md., Ashley Davis of Baltimore, Md., and Jahmael Todman of St. Thomas, V.I.  Allen Quinton of Arizona, N.M. is not pictured.

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    Gail Stephens, assistant director, UMES Office of Public Relations, 410-651-7580, gcstephens@umes.edu.

    Bill Robinson, director, UMES Office of Public Relations, 410-621-2355, wrobinson3@umes.edu.