Ryerson students have many food choices, with the Eaton Centre urban eatery steps away from campus, the Hub Café’s recent opening in the Jorgenson Hall, and various hotdog stands and fast food restaurants nearby. But the school of hospitality and tourism’s restaurant, RU Dining, lets students make food choices in the kitchen.
Led by instructor Brian Heasman, RU Dining is a student-run restaurant in the Ted Rogers School of Management which serves lunch each Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. during the school year. A group of third- and fourth-year hospitality and tourism students manage the kitchen and dining room as part of a hands-on course.
Although the new Hub in Jorgenson Hall has been open since Oct. 6, Heasman is confident it will not compete with budget-friendly RU Dining. The two eateries are a completely different experience, with RU Dining offering fine dining at $12.95 for a two–course meal or $15.95 for three courses.
“I don’t actually think that the Hub is direct competition. I like the Hub as well. I think it’s a great idea,” said Heasman.
RU Dining attracts various diners each week. Some days, the dining room is packed with students. Other days it’s filled with Ryerson faculty and staff.
Heasman explained that while RU Dining has been around since he was a hospitality and tourism student at Ryerson in the ’80s, every week presents students with a different experience.
Students take the course for credit, with proceeds going to buy food and tips donated to Ryerson’s food bank, the Good Food Centre.
“The money is actually going onto the plate, into the food. You’re looking at a very high food cost and the students understand this,” said Heasman.
Students take turns working in the kitchen, hosting, bartending and serving tables.
Michelle Nguyen, a third-year hospitality and tourism management student, said she appreciates the behind-the-scenes learning experience.
“I love the fact that the course is hands-on,” she said. “We actually get to have experiences.”