Troubleshooting Restaurant Issues with Tundra Restaurant Supply
Tundra Restaurant Supply, a Boulder-based restaurant and kitchen supply company, approached Northglenn High School students for assistance in creating custom solutions for two big-name clients.
Snooze Eatery and Chipotle both have a huge following and are particularly popular restaurants among the students. Northglenn’s students were eager to design and execute solutions for such popular eateries.
The Work with Snooze Eatery
For the first project, Tundra challenged students to create a fly mitigation system that could be hidden within Snooze Eatery’s sconces. This project was not a formal problem-based learning (PBL) project, so students worked on their designs outside of class. Students set out to research, build and pitch their designs. Two mitigation system designs were chosen. Plans were set to install the designs in two restaurants to test which system was the most effective.
Just before manufacturing of the mitigation systems, Snooze Eatery went public and the fly mitigation system plans were put on hold indefinitely. While the students were disappointed their design didn’t come to fruition, they have the intellectual property rights to their designs, which they’re free to pitch elsewhere. In addition to the design experience, students gained a valuable business lesson that things don’t always go according to plan, and were able to come away with pride in their work and passion for problem solving.
The Work with Chipotle
For its second project, Tundra asked students to help develop a modified guacamole smasher. The tool the restaurant used was awkward and many chains requested a simpler smasher that was more comfortable to use and could smash avocados quickly. Student groups collaborated on a number of design ideas and a handful were chosen for consideration.
Student designs are now being manufactured and will undergo case testing before one is chosen and distributed more widely.
Both of these PBL opportunities exposed the students to real-life business challenges and empowered them to be part of the solution. The design and implementation process is a powerful motivator for students to pursue a STEM career. Tundra has enjoyed becoming an important part of these students’ education and is looking forward to providing other PBL projects in the future.