Our third year students in Bachelor’s degreee in Food Service Management participated in the Institut Paul Bocuse Olympiads as part of their end of year project. This management project, which goes further than a simple case study, involves grouping students into different teams for a competition based on a specific problem and task, assigned by an industry expert. This year: the design of a pop-up restaurant concept for GL events and the next edition of the SIRHA LYON Food Exhibition in January 2023.

Designing an experiential, responsible and ethical concept

The key focus of this project is to set up a restaurant at the heart of SIRHA, the world’s largest trade fair dedicated to the food service, hospitality and catering industries.  Such pop-up restaurants, reflecting the trends and new ideas of the sector, are a must for the thousands of visitors to the show.

At the end of the Olympics, each team of students was able to pitch their restaurant concept. Their concepts were in keeping with the guiding principles of the 21st edition of SIRHA, namely eco-responsibility, ethics and impact reduction.

In planning and designing their restaurant, nothing is left to chance. The students have to think about the DNA and positioning of the restaurant, the zoning of the spaces, the flow of visitors, the decoration, the menu, the pricing strategy and also the customer experience from the reservation to them leaving the restaurant. Throughout the project, the students are supported and accompanied by coaches, teachers and professionals.

Students whose creativity knows no bounds

A number of unique restaurant concepts have been put forward, demonstrating our students’ creativity and commitment to rethinking the world of food service. For example, restaurant concepts light years away from Earth, at the time when Mars was conquered by the first humans. A modular space where the atmosphere and the menu evolve according to the development of man on the red planet.

In another vein, a restaurant that plunges you into an immersive 3-stage experience, making the diner aware of their footprint on the planet.

One of the concepts also received a prize from the jury. This concept puts the producer at the heart of the project, based on the observation that the producer is often “forgotten” when a restaurant or a chef is featured. The value of our terroir and of these human associations is, however, at the very centre of our dishes.

A competition but above all teamwork and solidarity

The Olympiads function like the Olympic Games with an opening ceremony, intermediate medal and trophy awards and a closing ceremony. Divided into 3 parts, the Olympiads make it possible to judge the specific skills of the students and teams at each stage of the competition.

Here is a look at the three phases of the competition:

  • Understanding the expectations of the project leader on the one hand (What is the remit given? The objective? The expected output?) and understanding the target on the other (What types of customers? What are their underlying expectations?).
  • This phase enables all the ideas to be identified, and then relevant choices to be made.
  • A phase where the groups start to materialise the concept: defining all the surrounding elements, their visual identity, their budget, servuction, the go-to-market strategy and the final presentation of the concept in order to convince others.

This educational project is an opportunity for students to develop and put into practice many of the essential soft skills they will need as future professionals and managers.  On the one hand, behavioural skills related to teamwork, stress management under time pressure, and leadership.  On the other hand, interpersonal skills enabling them to release their creative potential, their audacity and their commitment.

Is one of your career goals to create your own restaurant? Our 4-year Bachelor’s degree in International Food Service Management, approved by the French State, offers you a specialisation in Food Service Management and Entrepreneurship.

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