Lenoir Dining, the University of Mississippi hospitality department’s on-campus restaurant, is halting business for the fall semester because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“It was a hard decision because of the meaningful experiences for the students, but really it was the best option,” Melinda Wells Valliant, the hospitality department chair, said.
The Lenoir Dining restaurant is a part of the hospitality training program that offers students “real-world experience by providing a laboratory setting in which students work every aspect of a restaurant,” according to Valliant.
To fulfill degree requirements, students must complete the quantity food production and service lab and perform all roles within the establishment, from dishwashing to management. Instead of operating Lenoir, students are working in local restaurants to earn the class credit.
“We are appreciative of our industry partners for being willing to continue to accept our internship students, as well as those in (the quantity food production and service lab). This speaks to our faculty’s relationship with folks in the industry,” said Valliant.
Though Lenoir Dining will be closed for the remainder of the fall semester, the department hopes that the restaurant will open again in the spring. Meanwhile, the hospitality management program, like many on-campus, is offering remote classes, as well as some face-to-face sections of food preparation labs.
“Our faculty has been very creative in providing our students with alternate ways to still receive the necessary skills for success while also meeting COVID-19 guidelines,” said Valliant.