Business Leaders Come Together to Mentor Kansas High School Kids

On March 6, the Kansas Restaurant and Hospitality Association Educational Foundation hosted the 2019 Kansas ProStart Invitational at the DoubleTree by Hilton, Wichita Airport. I was able to represent Hexcode Designs and help out as a judge, alongside other business and industry leaders.

What is ProStart, you ask? It is a high school program that has been providing high school students with the training they need to be successful in the hospitality industry.

I Chimed in on the Management Competition

This event brings schools from across Kansas to test their skills against one another. This all day event has three separate competitions: management, edible centerpiece and culinary.

I was there to represent the Management portion of the competition and judge the marketing piece of the event, which means myself and a panel of judges listened as the kids showed us their communication skills and ability to apply their knowledge of the restaurant and food service industry by developing a business proposal for a new restaurant concept.

We scored teams in the categories of concept, menu/costing, operations, marketing, and critical thinking. So, during the marketing piece of this competition, myself and another judge from Manhattan made sure they had at least two forms of marketing tactics with their explanation of why and how they would be used. They also had to present a budget and ROI, then we evaluated if it made sense and would be realistic. The students also presented a marketing poster that included their menu, tactics, and restaurant layout. And finally, we rated their presentation skills and creativity.

The kids were nervous, but I could tell they had worked hard and researched their information, they were excited about their projects and really wanted to learn what feedback we had for them. The winning team will compete nationally in Washington D.C. in May.

Future Industry Leaders Mentored by the Industry Leaders

This amazing event was a great way to see what these kids are capable of doing and being in their futures. This gives them a path to do what they love, but learn some of the struggles and hardships that can come with it. I was so excited to be part of this great event and pass on some marketing advice. I learned from other leaders and even the students, and can’t wait until next year!

Posted in Community by Jennifer Willits on March 14, 2019.

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