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SEMO hospitality management department gives students glimpse into “real world” with Hawk Sauce
Students at Southeast Missouri State University are given the “hottest” opportunity to see what life is going to look like outside of college life. Hospitality management students, specifically, are getting the opportunity to make hot sauce and participate in activities outside of the classroom.
Hospitality professor Quantella Noto said she wants her students to experience as much as they can while being in college, such as making hot sauce.
Noto said she allows her love for hot sauce to be incorporated into her students' class work. In 2019, students in the hospitality department had the opportunity to make Hawk Sauce. At that time, there was only one flavor. Over time, students have created and added a green flavor to the hot sauce line.
“In 2020, we decided to bring the green sauce, because as we were selling the red, customers were asking if we had green [options],” Noto said.
Hawk Sauce is now more popular than it was when the product launched in 2019.
“We’ve made the most that we’ve ever made this year, and we made close to 500 bottles, and now we are at a completely different level,” Noto said.
Currently, Hawk Sauce is sold at the bookstore, the farmers market and Catapult.
Some changes have come into play in regard to Hawk Sauce. The hospitality department sent some of the hot sauce to Nestle in St. Louis to get an analysis on how its shelf life was.
In an email to the Arrow, Noto stated they wanted to ensure the quality of the hot sauce was still good. She stated the results came back and there was no trace evidence of “anything bad” which meant Hawk Sauce was bottled properly. Noto stated the new Hawk Sauce bottles have a “best by” date of two years from production.
Each student working on Hawk sauce has contributed and learned a different part of the entrepreneurial process.
“Some students helped with the label, which helped them work with graphic design. Others say, ‘I had no idea that we could do anything like this kind of thing,’” Noto said.
Hospitality management senior Anastasia Fundis said she enjoys the hospitality management program at SEMO for many different reasons.
“I was just a broad business management major before I was a hospitality management major, and here, I have encountered so many more speakers in the classroom to give the real-world experience. We get hands-on experience in this major, that I feel way more often than I have experienced prior,” Fundis said.
Sophomore Michael Jenkins’ family owns a restaurant, and they produce their own hot sauce that they sell at Schnucks. Through studying hospitality management at SEMO, he has gotten more experience outside of his family-owned business.
“We just got done talking to some high-level people in the hotel industry, and it just gives you a glimpse into the reality that life is going to have for you,” Jenkins said.
The program allows students to leave campus and see how the business and entrepreneurial worlds function outside of the classroom.
“No one knew how to work an espresso machine, and Professor [Nick] Johnston was like, ‘Let's go to Catapult this week, and they will show you hands-on,’” Fundis said.
To see more about hospitality management, visit their page on the SEMO website.