Alumni Stories

Jay Richardson

Culinary Arts

Director of Food and Beverage Services, Compass Group
The Art Institute of Atlanta

Jay Richardson

The technical skills I gained in school helped me to succeed and the Career Services department provided contacts at my current employer. Jay Richardson , Director of Food and Beverage Services, Compass Group Associate of Arts in Culinary Arts, 2008 , The Art Institute of Atlanta

Emphasizes Creativity Among Culinary Staff, Oversees Catering in 55-story Building

Jay Richardson is the director of food and beverage services for Compass Group in the Bank of America Plaza. He oversees the cafe, coffee shop, catering, vending, human resources, finances, loss prevention, team development, menus, and promotion.

“Each day, I ensure that all food stations are operating efficiently, following standards, and staying relevant and exciting. I'm also responsible for catering to various clients in a 55-story office building that houses 4,000 people,” he says. Jay additionally oversees vending and off-premises catering. “It is nonstop from the time I arrive until I leave, ensuring that cooks are following recipes, cashiers are ringing correctly, and inventory is controlled.”

He explains that culinary arts is a demanding profession that requires self-reflection. “While you may have an image of your attitude and character, others may not see things the same way. Regardless of how you think you are, it doesn't matter if others see or hear you differently. Learn to see from others' points of view, and how your words or actions may affect them.”

Jay mentions that his industry requires employees to be all-in if they want to succeed. “You need to be dedicated to overcome obstacles, and do better tomorrow than today. If you don't face your career or job with that attitude, you're probably at the wrong job. You'll never be productive in the long term.”

He encourages his employees to find their own solutions to problems. “When there is an obstacle, I challenge them by walking through the problem and asking prompting questions, rather than give the answer outright. While it may be more time consuming than giving the most direct answer, it also challenges them to critically analyze the situation.”

Jay, who in 2008 earned an Associate of Arts in Culinary Arts from The Art Institute of Atlanta, says that the technical skills he gained in school helped him to succeed. He also utilized the Career Services department to help him find job opportunities—which lead to his current position. He’s proud to have received five promotions in just six years. Jay has also been featured in company publications and received bonuses for his work. He recommends that current students think outside the box to get tasks done. “Figure out what works best for your personal style, and stick to it.”

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