On March 16, Kendall College seniors from the hospitality, culinary and business programs came together to exhibit our hard work as we held a tradeshow and presented our final pitches for Kendall’s Capstone project. It all started in October of last year when we were told that our project would be to conceptualize and plan the development of a new hotel in downtown Chicago. The site was at 111 W Wacker, right on the Chicago River where building had begun in 2008 for the Shangri La Hotel. Apart from being informed it was compulsory to have three operations within the plan (hotel, retail and a restaurant), we were left to decide on the exact details of our concept.
We were put in teams of five or six with representatives from each school to add our individual expertise to the overall project. I was fortunate enough to be put in a fantastic group that had a strong multi-cultural leaning including students from the US, UK, Mexico, Spain and China. Our team name “International Icons” was very apt! Over the first 10 weeks of the course we covered a wide range of topics and guest speakers from building development, building management, marketing, finance and culinary. Using these tools and resources we began to build our concept and brand in preparation for the final part of the project.
In the final half of the course we had to develop extensive marketing, finance, operations and culinary plans which were used to compile the final report, which for most teams meant a hundred page business plan. The final day was an amazing experience and an ideal opportunity for all the teams to exhibit the skill sets that we had developed during our time as Kendall students. My team was fortunate enough to win two awards for best business plan and for best culinary presentation which legitimized all the hard work and effort we had put in. It was a refreshing experience to be given so much freedom and scope to create a complete business and use the creativity and passion we all share to make the project a success.