Java City in NFA becomes Café NFA two times a week

Katrina Sargent

Katrina Sargent

Café NFA is in full swing; Italian pasta salad, a ruben sandwich, crudités and peach cobbler are on the menu for March 13.

The Tuesday and Thursday luncheons are put on by Gary Franz’s quantity food production and serving class. Franz is an assistant professor of foodservice management.

The class is made up of hospitality and dietetic students who run every aspect of the café to learn about restaurant management.

The café is located in Java City on the second floor of the NFA from 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and costs $7.25 per meal.

“It is basically student-run,” said Franz.

There are 24 students enrolled in the class, and three teaching assistants help out as well.

“It’s a lot of work,” said Whitney Jerman, a junior dietetics major and member of the class.

According to Jerman, students do various tasks such as planning menus, ordering food, coming up with recipies, preparing the food, planning the production and equipment needed, promoting the event and evaluating nutrition.

“It’s a real-life activity, and students are actually using the theory and working with it,” said Franz.

In the café, there is room for 40 diners each time the lunch is offered, and as part of the salesmanship aspect of the class, each empty chair is a five point deduction from the students’ grade.

When a restaurant has empty seats, it’s losing money, said Franz.

Café NFA has been running for three years and in the past, has generally sold out, according to Franz. “We seem to be down five to six people per meal this year,” he said.

“We are having a hard time filling spots and getting people to come,” said Jerman. “That’s the hardest part to control: other people’s schedules.”

The main customers at Café NFA tend to be faculty, staff and graduate students, but the café is attracting more students, said Franz.

“It is open to the whole community. We have had people from Sioux Falls, Arlington and Webster come,” Franz said.

Running the café is a good experience for the students because it gives them an idea of how busy and fast restaurants and kitchens have to operate, said Franz.

“It is a lot of work, and a lot of details are easy to forget, but overall it’s a pretty good experience,” said Jerman. “I would be ready to manage a restaurant after this course.”

Café NFA will be offered until April 24. Reservations are required to participate in Café NFA and can be made by calling 688-5656. Vegetarian meals are available upon request.

For more information and a list of planned menus, visit the Café NFA Web site at