Eagles Scramble to Egg Harbor
On a Thursday evening in May, the 5th grade students from Manor Hill Elementary School in Lombard took a crack at managing Egg Harbor Café at Yorktown. The 45 students served family and friends from a special menu during two seatings, an enjoyable learning experience that raised money for local school families in need. Since March 2010, Gregg Wisniowicz and Jennifer Klingbiel, managers at EHC Downers Grove, spent 90 minutes each week with the 5th graders, teaching them about managing a restaurant – how to choose menu items, make reservations, staff the restaurant and serve – with the goal of becoming profitable.
Through many weeks of planning, the students became menu designers, restaurant managers, bankers and shirt designers. The menu designers’ special menu included Rainbow Pancakes; the Special Eagle Combo with 3 mini-pancakes, scrambled eggs and bacon; the Golden Delight Omelet; the Ultimate Grilled Cheese; the Chicken Caesar Salad; Captain Mac; and Puppy Dogs. The restaurant managers learned how to schedule staff, take reservations and plan logistics for the evening. To make the learning experience authentic, the bankers took out a real loan for $1,800 from Harris Bank in Lombard to cover expenses for the evening. The loan covered minimal fees for restaurant rental, food and staff. Last year, after students repaid the loan, they made $1,100 for their special fund. The shirt designers created a t-shirt for the students to wear at the event. This year’s t-shirt said, “Eagles Scramble to Egg Harbor” in reference to the school mascot.
All students were servers at the event. To provide entertainment, six student band members performed during the first seating and six student orchestra members performed during the second seating.
Egg Harbor Café employees were on hand to supervise the students and make sure that the evening ran smoothly. Five cooks, a busman and a dishwasher, all from the Downers Grove restaurant, staffed the event. In addition, along with Gregg and Jennifer, managers from nearby Egg Harbor locations oversaw the evening’s activities – Jim Cadwell (Elmhurst), Glen Martensen, Sue Chapman and Lorena Hernandez (Yorktown) and Laura Finkelman (MOD Downers Grove, Yorktown and Elmhurst).
Overall, the children had a great experience and gained awareness of the many important details that go into managing a restaurant. They learned about working with a wide variety of people and how everyone’s contributions are needed to create an eggstraordinary Egg Harbor experience. The students brought big smiles and positive energy to every class-time meeting. They really enjoyed learning, and they picked up lots of information about many aspects of the business.
Gregg and Jennifer said that they had a blast working on this project and the kids’ enthusiasm gave them an extra boost of energy. They were delighted by the result of their work, when the Eagles scrambled to Egg Harbor on May 20 and created a sunny-side up evening for all the students, staff and guests who attended.Go Back to Community