COVID-19 Updates and Information

Cafe Student Takeover

James Byers

By James Byers, Social Marketing Team Journalist
February 28, 2020

This semester, student organizationhave the chance to apply to control the Chesapeake Dining Hall for dinner one evening each month. Student organization members get to choose every detail of how their meal is run: from menu theme to activities to music selection and decorations, students have complete command over Chesapeake from 5-7pm.  

The first detail of a Student Café Takeover that needs worked out is when to hold your event. FSU Dining Services accommodates one organization per month. For the Lady B.U.G.S, their takeover was Wednesday, February 12. For the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW), their takeover will be Wednesday, March 4. Each takeover is during the dinner meal from 5-7pm. 

Lady BUGS

The Lady B.U.G.S at their Student Takeover 

The next component which needs to be addressed is selecting a menu. Students have complete jurisdiction over the recipes that are used the night of their takeover. Lady B.U.G.S chose dishes such as jambalaya and chocolate-covered strawberries. The NCNW will serve dishes such as chicken and waffles for their upcoming takeover. 

For Chef Adam Kenney, the most rewarding experience is working with students in the kitchen. The process of designing and executing a menu while building a relationship with the students is huge. 

“Working with the students is refreshing. My favorite part is getting to share our kitchen, telling stories and experiencing the food,” said Kenney 

The menu is almost nothing without a theme. Themes vary depending on holidays and other events happening during the month of the takeover. The Lady B.U.G.S. chose Valentine’s Day as their theme for the February takeover while NCNW’s theme will be famous African American women and their recipes.  

Serving Chocolate-Covered Strawberries

A Lady B.U.G. serving chocolate-covered strawberries 

A few extra details organizations planning a takeover should consider include activities, prizes, and decorations. These rely heavily on the theme and can add a very personal flair to each student takeover. Activities can include such things as a prize wheel, trivia, or BINGO. Prizes can consist ocoupons, gift cards, or other rewards provided by the organizations. Centerpieces, streamers, and tablecloths can encompass the decorations for each takeover. 

Prize Wheel

The Lady B.U.G.S. encouraged students to spin on the Valentine’s Day prize wheel for a chance to win a bag of chocolate kisses. 

Behind the scenes, student organization members help cook the recipes they’ve chosen alongside professionals. Then, members serve the food to diners, offering a chance to mingle with their “customers” for the night. Up to 8 students may assist with food preparation and food service while additional members can run the night's activities.  

The Lady B.U.G.S deeply enjoyed organizing and collaborating with Frostburg Dining. They also enjoyed the social aspect of the event, mingling with other students, and giving everyone a good time. 

“We had such a great time engaging with the FSU community. We gained knowledge of the amazing staff of the Chesapeake Dining Hall and had a lot of fun in the process. We hope to be back for another (student takeover),” said Nene O Bah, President of Lady B.U.G.S. 

Per the marketing of the event, Frostburg Dining Services will help students market the event if they wish. They will also offer each organization 30 free entry tickets to give to students who may want to attend.  

Not only is the takeover successful for student organizations, it’s also beneficial for Frostburg Dining. According to Marketing Manager Tiaju McCallup, students are central to each takeover’s success. 

We started the Student Organization Takeover in Spring 2019. Each event has been amazing. Takeovers are my favorite events, as they give our dining team an opportunity to connect with the students we see daily and gives students a chance to host low cost or free programs. Our goal is to host events that engage students, and since the Takeover Series is run by students, we are able to host very successful events. We see a large increase in guests in the evenings that we host takeovers, sometimes up to 150 more students than an average dinner period. We’ve also been able to connect with even more students on social media from these events. Our followers tend to increase after, which gives us a larger audience to share news, specials, promotions, and events,” shared McCallup. 

To learn more about the Student Takeovers at Chesapeake, contact Tiaju McCallup at tiaju.mccallup@compass-usa.com