It is amazing how a small conversation about importing gourmet products from the Dominican Republic can lead to such a detailed and interesting project. Every semester these students amaze me and this group of Business 101 students really ‘knocked it out of the ballpark”. I was really impressed by the results of each group as well as all the parents and invited guests were as well.
In my live classes, I open my consulting company, “Bergecco-Parc Consulting Inc.”, for business and the whole class bands together and we have one big project. In the era of post-COVID and online learning, I was lucky that I was able to teach one of the live classes on the Bergen Community College, Paramus Campus. It was such a pleasure welcoming students back to campus with live lectures and conversing with them.
The Bergecco-Parc Consulting Inc. corporate logo of the six trees
In the past, I have created these projects under the Bergecco-Parc Consulting Inc. banner, the main consulting company, the Orion Malls banner, a Mall design company and the Buscomonzefi.com banner, my Tech Division. Each business does its best to be creative, forward thinking and have a thought producing presentations. I also challenge the students to top on another in their presentations and build on what they have seen others do in the past.
Professor Justin Watrel, CEO & Co-Founder of Bergecco-Parc Consulting Inc.
How this project was created was when the class was having a discussion importing and exporting. I asked some of the students whose families have either lived or are from the Dominican Republic about food products that manufactured in their country. Could they sell here to non-Dominican customers, or should these vendors cater exclusively to one type of customer? What was the class thoughts on it? I have to say that the class as a whole did not have much of an opinion on this, but it got me thinking.
I had to put together a group project for the students and since one of my classes was already out in the field with the “It’s Wonderful in Westwood” project, I did not want to take any more students out of the classroom. So, we would have to do an in-class project. I approached a group of the students who I had had a discussion with that week on their thoughts on importing products into the country and how they would sell. Again, not many opinions but they thought it might work if it was done in conjunction with either a grocery store or a restaurant. Also, it might be better to use the whole Caribbean as a market.
So, I went home and thought about ideas for a restaurant/gourmet foods Panera type Spanish restaurant concept that might work in the suburbs and “Caribe Cafe” was created under the Bergecco-Parc Consulting Inc. banner.
The Bergecco-Parc Consulting Inc. “Caribe Cafe” proposal project:
The project was to create the “Caribe Cafe” concept from ground up. The students would be serving as consultants for the company pitching their concepts to future investors. I broke the students up into four groups and they had to create:
*The Floor Plan
*The Menu with a Caribbean theme
*A Gourmet Department with food items from Spanish/Caribbean vendors
*Have a music soundtrack of Spanish/Caribbean artist
*Create design of the restaurant with Spanish/ Caribbean art work from /well-known and. or local artists.
*Design the restaurant with ideas on the color scheme and furniture for the interior
*Set up a Marketing campaign that included Restaurant Opening ideas, a Membership Program, a Coupon Program and Advertising.
*Film a commercial to promote their Restaurant concept
From there, things that they added like staffing, prices, menu breakdown etc. that it takes to open a restaurant would be considered extra credit. How far they wanted to take the project and in-depth they wanted to be in the presentation was up to the individual teams. Then I put the students into their groups and left the last forty-five minutes of each class for them to meet. Then I dangled the prize for the best team, a half grade bump up in their final grade for the class. That got everyone motivated.
For the next five weeks I saw the enthusiasm of the project build and everyone come up with ideas and brainstorm their projects. I also saw by two weeks before the project was due was the grumbling many Team members whose partners were not stepping up the plate and not doing their jobs. The Team Leaders also complained to me of members who would not listen and not meet deadlines. I told everyone that this is why “they were the boss” and that we would have two more meetings before the project was due. Every week we had Board Meetings to check on progress and I reminded everyone that we would be presenting this project on November 17th right before Thanksgiving. They needed to be finished and ready to go the week before.
The Teams presented these ideas for logos to Corporate:
The day of the Presentation, I got in early to set up with the AV representative and set up for the reception. Each of the Teams got there early to set up their Team displays of foods that they would be featuring and getting their Dress Code grades.
The day of the presentation was not without its drama with some students still arguing with one another on the project and the kids who did not want meet the Dress Code standard. Then there were the students who did not show up or did not present that evening. Being the CEO of a company does come with its pitfalls. Still the presentations were excellent and the Food Displays were fantastic. I saw so much creativity with the food selections.
The presentations were all done in English and Spanish and with the amount of visitors including family members and friends who do not speak English well, this project makes them feel more comfortable and part of the business equation. I reminded the students that not every investor would be a English speaker. We are ‘pitching’ this idea to an International crowd of investors.
This is the Bergecco-Parc Consulting Inc. website for the “Caribe Cafe” project:
These videos represent the students ideas and presentations by Team groupings. It also includes their proposals for the Company Corporate Christmas party.
The Project “Caribe Cafe”: A taste of the Islands commercials to promote the restaurant.
Group One’s Commercial for “Caribe Cafe”:
Group Two’s Commercial for “Caribe Cafe”
Team Three’s Commercial for “Caribe Cafe”:
Team Four’s Commercial for “Caribe Cafe”
Team Commercial for “Caribe Cafe”
These are the Team Presentations that were filmed by our AV Department for the class. Each Team presented their proposals to the audience of International investors in English and Spanish. I could tell the students were nervous but watching these videos again even I did not know these were a group of students. They became the Consultants that they were trained to be. I could not have been prouder of them.
The Group Presentations:
The Bergecco-Parc Consulting Inc. Corporate Christmas Project:
I was tired of giving traditional quizzes by this point of class, I decided to do something different for the class. I was so impressed by the competition between the student groups that I created this project where the students had to create a Corporate Christmas Party idea for a Partner who was impressed by their Team project. They had to create a Invitation, a menu with an appetizer, main dish, dessert and signature Christmas drink. They also had to create a greeting for Corporate in English and Spanish. These are their ideas:
The Corporate Christmas Party Project:
Group One: Not Available
Group Three: Not Available
I swear you could not tell these were students. Their professionalism that night was excellent.
Merry Christmas from Bergecco-Parc Consulting Inc!