Alumna Joins Forces with Local Non-Profit To Share the Joys of Cooking Virtually

Lauren Furey ’19  has always loved feeding people, and recently she’s been doing so virtually.

Since social distancing orders have been put in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Furey – owner of  Lauren Furey LLC which offers personally curated culinary experiences – joined forces with Lowcountry Local First to produce a cooking webinar that utilized products from local farmers. With more than 30 viewers, Furey feels it was a good way to collaborate with those in the community.

“I think the webinar was a perfect way to combine the farmers, Lowcountry Local First, and what I’m doing on the culinary side of things to make it entertaining for people,” says Furey.

As a culinary entrepreneur, she aims to do just that. With goals to create unique and thoughtful experiences for her guests, she says this time social distancing has given her more space to think outside of the box on ways to do this.

“Instead of focusing on booking bachelorette parties, I’ve had no other option but to pivot and notice what other people in the community are doing,” she says. “It’s been challenging, but it’s also giving me a lot of time to think about where I want to go with everything. It’s been interesting seeing restaurants offering curbside service and everyone supporting each other. It’s made me more motivated to keep on trucking.”

Furey graduated from the College with a double major in business administration and hospitality and tourism management. While still a student, she launched her company that provides private chef services and cooking classes. She knows without her time at the b-school she would not be able to think about her business the way she does now.

“The business school helped me figure out where that inner spark in me was and how to apply it to cooking,” says Furey.

Furey is currently working on new webinars and cooking lessons. In the meantime, she says she can be found on Instagram (@laurensfurey), where she is always cookin’ up new recipes.

BBC News Highlights Hospitality Professor’s Analysis of Airbnb Impact on Communities

Guttentag

With its renowned location in one of the top tourist destinations in the world, the College of Charleston School of Business reinforces its unique position as a leader in the exploration and examination of the tourism industry.

Daniel Guttentag, professor of hospitality and tourism management and director of the Office of Tourism Analysis, recently discussed the impact of peer-to-peer rental giant Airbnb on residents with BBC News. Read the full story >>

“While Airbnb opens up some neighborhoods to more tourists, it has sometimes proved unpopular with existing residents,” says Guttentag.

In his review of several studies specific to Airbnb, Guttentag found that the short-term lettings have both positive and negative effects on communities. These effects include increased profitability for property owners; the expansion of tourism into different parts of a city; and higher rents for adjacent properties.

Guttentag has been at the School of Business since 2017. His research interests include peer-to-peer lodging, volunteer tourism, market segmentation and casino gambling behavior. Under his direction, the Office of Tourism Analysis advises Charleston’s travel industry by providing key tourism data to decision-makers and stakeholders in the city.

Hospitality Students Ditch First Day of Class for Hotel Grand Opening

Unlike a typical first day of class, hospitality students were treated to a tour of a new hotel.

Traditionally, the first day of classes is a bit lackluster. Commonly referred to as “syllabus day,” a significant portion of the class meeting is dedicated to giving introductions, discussing expectations and — you guessed it — reviewing the course syllabus.

Luckily for students in professor Steve Litvin’s HTM 350 hospitality and tourism marketing class, that was not the case.

Shortly after roll call, Litvin announced that instead of poring over the syllabus, they would be special guests at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for Charleston’s newest inn, Hotel Bella Grace.

Located in the Mother Emanuel Way Memorial District, the boutique hotel sits across the street from the very church that inspired its name. Bella Grace is a nod to the forgiveness the churchgoers offered to the perpetrator of the 2015 church shooting.

Hotel owner Don Semmler and Kelsey Stoffel, director of sales and marketing, gave Litvin’s students an exclusive tour of the space just days before Hotel Bella Grace welcomed its first guests.

The tour of the lodging showcased an impressive mash-up of contemporary decor and nearly two centuries worth of history and architecture.

Following the walkthrough, students joined community members and leaders including The Rev. Eric Manning, pastor of Mother Emanuel A.M.E., and Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg for the grand opening reception.

Students gained valuable insight into the strategies behind a guest-focused hotel in one of the top tourist destinations while reinforcing the School’s’ mission to provide a quality education through experiential learning.

Now that’s what we like to call the first day of classes — the School of Business way!

Eat, Drink and Tip

Do you think the effects of alcohol have any impact on whether a restaurant diner leaves a tip for a server?  Is there any connection between how much wine or beer a person drinks and how much of a tip is left at the end of dinner?

What may seem like a comical question is really something to consider for millions of restaurant owners and servers who rely on diners’ tips left at the end of their meals.  It’s a topic that four Hospitality and Tourism Management students are researching this semester.

MC Gravis, Carrie McGeehan, Mary McGovern and Sarah Roshfeld, along with their faculty advisor, Dr. Frash, have reviewed a number of studies on the social norms of tipping and the effects of alcohol on behavior.  They discovered that little research studied the link between alcohol consumption and tips when dining in full-service restaurants.

“We see this as an opportunity to apply the skills and knowledge we’ve gained in our classes,” says Sarah Roshfeld, one of the team’s researchers.  “We’re using what we’ve learned from research methods to customer service to conduct the research that will ideally be used by others in the hospitality industry.”

To frame this research, the student researchers are testing two hypotheses on the subject.  The first hypothesis is:

There is a positive relationship between the percentage of alcohol consumed during the dinner meal and the tip percentage left for the server.

Their second hypothesis offers another variable to consider; the meal hour.

There is a positive relationship between the time of dinner and the tip percentage left for the server.

Although the percent of alcohol consumed and the dinner hour are both behavioral variables, the students submit that the variables are discrete and are acting on tip-percentage outcomes independently of each other.

 

Data Collection
The data for this study was collected from four full-service restaurants in the area.  Two of the restaurants are classified as casual-dining establishments ($15-$25 avg. ck.) and two are classified as fine-dining establishments ($30-$50 avg. ck.).  To address some the methodological inconsistencies of past studies, the student researchers took sample data directly from the respective restaurants’ point of sale (POS) computer system reports.  To control for bias associated with self-reporting, tip amounts were only taken from diners’ credit-card receipts and not from cash tips left on the dining table.  In addition, only dinner meals taken in the restaurants’ dining rooms were considered.

The study will conclude at the end of the semester and the students will report their findings.  The results could provide insight for restaurateurs to better understand and serve their customers and to subsequently maximize their profit potential.  While it is well known that alcoholic beverage sales significantly increases the profitability of a restaurant, the students’ results would offer restaurant managers tangible incentives to motivate their service staff to better up-sell and become more knowledgeable about the restaurant’s alcoholic beverage offerings.

“Working hands-on with such a practical topic has been more beneficial to our education than any of us could have imagined,” says Mary McGovern.  “Applied learning brings to light what we learn in a classroom.  We appreciate Dr. Frash for supporting our efforts to research and publish a study that’s meaningful to us and restaurateurs.”