Skyview's Restaurant

On Wednesday evening families and locals appeared at the Skyview's Restaurant for fine dining and were served by student employees. The Skyview's Restaurant is a full-service restaurant designed to provide guests with a great meal and to provide a hospitality experience for students at Tech. On Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018, at the Texas Tech Plaza in Lubbock, Texas.

Skyviews is hosting a pop-up restaurant dinner series put on by Texas Tech students.

Garvin O’Neil, professor of practice at Skyviews Restaurant, which is located at 1901 University Avenue in Suite 600 of the Tech Plaza, said there are 32 students who are split into teams. Twice a week those teams will decide what type of food they are going to serve, create the restaurant logo along with the menu for their pop-up restaurant.

“It is a real live restaurant that also serves as a lab here at Tech,” O’Neil said. “They get to wrap a particular lecture and book learning about restaurants with hands on real time, real customers, and real food.”

Erika Foster, sous chef at Skyviews, said that the majority of students that take this class are restaurant, hotel, institutional management majors. She said the chefs, teaching assistant and O’Neil will approve the menu. 

“What we are really challenging them in this year is to take something like a steak and we want them to elevate,” she said. “We are looking for something different.”

Cameron Potratz, a teaching assistant graduate for Galvin O’Neil, said they decided to do the idea of the pop-up restaurant because it is a very open idea. 

“It allows us a lot of creative license for our students, and we find that the more invested they can be with the originality of the project, the more stuff we have with it.”

The dinner series is a program Potratz said prepares students, so they understand what they are walking into as a professional in the hospitality industry. 

“It provides them with serving experience, hosting experience,” she said. “It gives them a chance to design menus and design a restaurant concept as a whole as well as giving them experience in the kitchen and managing.”

The students are in charge of making sure there is a good response to series, Potratz said. If the students only have 20 reservations from a week before, they are the ones in charge of getting the last 30 or 40 reservations in order to make sure that the dinner series is a success.

Whether it be in front of the house serving, in the back of the house making plates, on the fryer and grill or preparing desserts, Foster said the students complete a variety of tasks throughout the series.  

“So, they are, throughout the whole process, helping this menu come to life every night,” Foster said.

The students also learn to market their dinner night, as they get to choose how to market the restaurant, whether it is on Facebook, the radio or another platform, Foster said. Most of the marketing is free because the students use their budgets mostly for decorations.

How customers respond to the food, performance and individual sales is how the students get a grade in the class, Potratz said. 

“We do it as a tier system, so X amount of dollars results in a tier one grade,” she said. “If they do a little better, than it’s a tier two, and tier three is our highest.”

Having different groups of four to five people provides a chance for students, who may not be as willing to speak up in a full class, with the opportunity to give a little of their creative insight, Potratz said.

“It is beyond the normal customer,” O’Neil said. “It is not retail; it is not transaction. It is more than that. It is personal, and you are a successful restaurant because people want to come back.”

The pop-up restaurant dinner series will start September 25th and will run through November. It will be open from 6 p.m., and the last table will be set at 7:30 p.m.

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