By: Nikki Nies
As of 5/4/15, I can proudly call myself a Brinkerhead! A head of what, you say?! You heard me, I’m a Brinkerhead, otherwise known as an employee at Brinker International! While you might not be familiar with the company Brinker International, I’m sure you’ve come across the restaurant name Chili’s or Maggiano’s once or twice! Brinker International is the headquarters of said companies, priding itself as a multinational hospitality company.
I’ve been at Brinker for almost 2 months and have taken advantage of every learning opportunity that has come my way or which I’ve saught! What I’ve learned so far:
- My primary role at Brinker has been to provide nutrition information for Maggiano’s banquets. While I had previously been to a Maggiano’s for a business event, I wasn’t aware of all the menus that Maggiano’s has: delivery, carry out, children’s, dessert, wine & beverage, family style, family style lunch, all day meeting, breakfast & brunch, etc. There is some crossover from the dining room, but a good portion of the banquet menu items need their own nutrition analysis as portions are different (i.e. Banquets uses a lot of ‘mini’ versions of dining room menu items).
- Brinker uses ESHA Genesis Food Processor as the primary tool of nutrient analysis. Working with my supervisor, Ms. Alisa Via-Reque, RD, we’ve consulted with the chefs numerous times to better understand the recipes. I’ve had the opportunity prep materials for lab testing, which requires everything from coordinating the lab’s courier, to weighing the raw weight of the tested item, with breading, the edible portion (i.e. with shrimp’s tail off) and vacuum packing the products for delivery to lab.
- I had the opportunity to partake in a ‘Culture of Accountability’ workshop, which enlightened me on the values and culture of Brinker. We’re all here to obtain desired results and obtaining results requires providing and obtaining feedback. Yes, feedback can be a sore subject, but it doesn’t have to be.
- Called the ‘ops experience’, I was able to work the Back of the House and the Front of the House of Maggiano’s Willow Bend in Plano, TX. I have a greater appreciation of all the work that goes into delivering a quality, fresh meal! Many restaurants claim they’re making homemade, scratch kitchen meals, but when you can take the ‘processed’ ingredients, the credibility of chain’s claims fall through. Not at Maggiano’s! I wish everyone could see what the kitchen is like! As someone said, the restaurant business isn’t ‘for the lazy.’ I’ve been working closely with the recipes, which I was proud to see that the kitchen staff follow to a tee. This brings me great pride as I know that the nutrition information that is being provided by Brinker is credible and there aren’t any ‘add ons’ being put in by the staff themselves.
- While Maggiano’s is in a mere 47 locations, as of July 2015, it does extremely well for itself! In comparison to Chili’s 1500 locations, Maggiano’s is able to hold its own, with its banquets driving a good portion of the business! Professional meetings and socials are equally a favorable outing to gather at Maggiano’s. With buffet lines, omelet, pasta and/or carving station, there are menu items for all to enjoy!
I’ve learned so much in the past couple months and have enjoyed soaking up as much of the corporate culture as I can. Brinker knows how to have fun while getting the serious work done first! My kind of life! Can’t wait to see what the next few months bring, I’ve been blessed!