Equipped for the hospitality industry

By Vanessa Zambrano

The Rolling Raptor EduKitchen is providing experiential learning experiences for students in Montgomery College’s (MC’s) hospitality management program.

The 26-foot-long mobile food lab arrived at the Maryland college in October. It is equipped with the most cutting-edge culinary equipment and technology to serve as a business lab. Its design enables students to develop a food truck business/ concept, fabricate and test out products to be served, cost out and develop menus, operate the food truck in a real setting (e.g., golf courses, breweries, City of Rockville events), and finally evaluate the success of the concept based on customer feedback and financial gains or losses.

“The Rolling Raptor creates an unprecedented opportunity for students to gain real-life entrepreneurial experiences throughout their studies at Montgomery College,” said Jana Anderson, program coordinator and associate professor at Montgomery College. “The mobile food lab allows students to bring the products and business ventures they develop in the classroom to actual customers in real-life settings. It also creates an opportunity for the hospitality management program to partner with local businesses such as True Respite Brewing Company in securing locations for the Rolling Raptor.”

Two hospitality management students praised the opportunity for hands-on experience. “Throughout my journey working on the Rolling Raptor I have been able to increase my knowledge of menu formatting and food truck administration while being able to gain real life experience by serving delicious food to the people of Montgomery College,” said Luis Armenta.

Angelo Rochester said he has high expectations for his future in the hospitality industry: “The Rolling Raptor gave me just a small taste of what it takes to ensure my goals are met.”

Students can also use the Rolling Raptor EduKitchen to present their business findings as it is equipped with an external digital screen that can be used for presentation purposes, as well as a digital menu board. Custom-designed and fabricated for the program, the Rolling Raptor EduKitchen is incorporated into the curriculum of several hospitality management classes related to entrepreneurship, marketing, and food service operations.

The mobile lab idea for the hospitality management program was developed in January 2022 by Professor John Coliton, acting BEACAHMPS Dean at the time (which stands for Instruction, Business, Economics, Accounting, Computer Applications, Hospitality Management and Paralegal Studies), and Jana Anderson, Hospitality Management Program Coordinator and Associate Professor at MC. The lab was custom designed and fabricated for the program by ELHAJ Custom located in Manassas, Va., and arrived on the Rockville Campus in early October.

This story was originally published here.

Vanessa Zambrano

is the strategic content producer at Montgomery College in Maryland.

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