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Director of Dining Services

Department: Auxiliary Services
Position: Full-time, 12 month position, full benefits package
Annual Salary: $60,000
Union Affiliation: None
Posting Date: June 2021

Overview of Responsibilities

The Director of UM Western Dining is responsible, under the direction of the Senior Director of Auxiliary Services, for the direction of all aspects of the University’s self-operated dining program. The Director will lead the department in fulfilling its mission in accordance with the mission of the institution, and in a manner that will achieve guest satisfaction and quality service while meeting/exceeding financial goals. Campus Dining is comprised of:

  • Residential Dining consisting of 350 – 400 residential students
  • Montana Youth Challenge Academy Meal Program (residential students between the ages of 16 -18).
  • Catering Services
  • Operational Support Staff (Assistant Manager, Culinary Professional Staff which includes cooks and catering staff, Maintenance and Custodial staff, Purchaser, Conference and Events Coordinator and Culinary Associates).

UM Affiliates

The Director of Dining Services participates in the UM Food Service Management and Purchasing Consortium as needed. This group collaborates to review products and develop future usage plans for the Prime Vendor contract.

Personnel & Supervision

The person assigned to this position oversees a staff base of approximately 15 management and classified employees and approximately 30-35 part-time and student employees. The following positions directly report to the Director:

  • Assistant Director
  • Purchaser
  • Conference and Events Coordinator
  • Culinary Professionals
  • Maintenance and Custodial Workers

The Director will provide the following:

  • Provide leadership, guidance, and support to the professional management team and staff of UM Western Dining Services in the areas of staffing patterns, training and professional development, supervision best practices, industry trends, and department business and financial development.
  • Within University and state policy guidelines, oversee personnel functions such as the recruitment and selection process, classification of employees, employee advancement, staff development, employee performance management, and termination or layoff of employees.
  • Supervise the performance review process for campus Dining employees.
  • In conjunction with Human Resource Services, oversee relations with employee unions representing UM Western Dining employees.


  • Orchestrate, facilitate, and coordinate all activities of UMW Dining, including the fiscal and budgeting responsibilities for a self-operated collegiate dining and catering program with annual revenue of approximately $1.5 million.
  • Support the mission of the institution along with the Campus Dining mission through professional foodservice management standards and practices.
  • Establish a variety of foodservice programs to satisfy students, faculty, and staff needs while maintaining fiscal health of UMW Dining operations, established institutional financial obligations, and capital requirements. Identify department strategic initiatives to support the mission and strategic plans of both the University and Campus Dining.
  • Continuously benchmark effectiveness of the operation and research and implement current foodservice trends to ensure all dining operations are providing high-quality guest services.
  • Endorse and maintain safety, sanitation, food quality, and nutrition standards within campus Dining Services.
  • Support the institution’s and UMW Dining’s commitment to sustainability through effective operational management, procurement and educational outreach.
  • Develop, implement, interpret and uphold departmental and institutional policies including cash handling, staff meal, alcohol service, hiring practices, procurement and sustainability.

Business and Finance

  • Oversee the development and management of the Campus Dining budget to meet or exceed expected returns to the institution while balancing the service needs of students, faculty, staff, campus departments, and the community.
  • Work directly with the Senior Director of Auxiliary Services to review and analyze monthly profit and loss statements. Conduct monthly fiscal meetings to ensure budget targets are met.
  • Develops and approves all operational price changes including meal plans, menu items, discounts, and other services provided.
  • Work directly with the Senior Director of Auxiliary Services to purchase and authorize capital improvements including building expansions, remodels, and major equipment.
  • Provide the meal program for the Montana Youth Challenge Academy and administer their State and Federal meal reimbursement program.

External Relations

  • Establish cooperative relationships with student groups, academic and administrative departments, The Youth Challenge Academy and the Dillon community.
  • Serve as principal spokesperson for UMW Dining and its activities. Work to build and maintain a positive public image for Montana Western Dining.
  • Serve on campus committees and participate in campus, student, and community functions.
  • Represent UMW Dining and the University in local, state, national, or civic organizations, committees or other entities.
  • Actively participate in local, state, and national professional food organizations such as NACUFS, AND, NRA, CIA ect., as appropriate.

Required Qualifications

  • Demonstrated supervisory, leadership, and human resource management experience to effectively administer and manage within a diverse and complex organization including recruitment, hiring, evaluation, compensation, time management, training, progressive discipline and safety programs.
  • Related foodservice operations management experience in a high-volume, high-quality, diverse, multi-faceted operation, including but not limited to financial management, food and labor cost management, menu development, sustainable business practices, and information technology systems.
  • Food and beverage inventory control, food production, handling and storage; quality control, health and safety, marketing, and merchandising.
  • Demonstrated ability to study, analyze, interpret, and execute solutions for complex challenges and/or opportunities.
  • Demonstrated ability to provide vision and leadership in a complex foodservice environment while staying current with local, regional, and national foodservice trends.
  • Ability to interpret and effectively navigate the changing campus political climate, skillfully collaborating with all campus constituents, particularly students.
  • Demonstrated engaged participation in committees, work groups, and community and professional organizations.
  • Excellent oral communications skills and the ability to make effective public presentations.
  • Exceptional writing proficiency for letters, memos, reports, articles, policies and procedures, presentation content, business plans, project proposals, etc.
  • Ability to gather and assess guest feedback, especially from students, and create timely action plans in response to that feedback.
  • Ability to develop and implement strategic, marketing, capital, and facilities master plans.
  • Strong organizational skills and the ability to delegate appropriately, monitor progress, and meet deadlines.
  • Demonstrated commitment to sustainable business practices and ability to maintain Montana Western’s Farm to College program.
  • Lift 40 pounds from the floor to counter height.
  • Work standing up for long periods as needed in the operations.
  • Ability to work long hours, including evenings, weekends, and some holidays.
  • Work at a desk with standard computer applications for long periods.
  • Ability to taste and experience recipes and menu items to assess and assure high quality.

Preferred Qualifications

The Director of UMW Dining must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in Foodservice Management, Dietetics, Hospitality Management, Culinary Arts, Food Systems Management, or a related foodservice field, or a minimum of seven to ten years’ of senior or administrative level of progressive foodservice management experience in a complex, foodservice and catering operation.

The ideal candidate for the Director of Campus Dining will have knowledge, skills, and abilities that include:

  • Extensive knowledge of current trends and cutting-edge college and university residential and catering operations.
  • Experience with the development and implementation of collegiate meal plans and the ability to analyze effectiveness and respond appropriately to meal plan problems.
  • Expert knowledge of and experience with annual operating planning and long-term strategic, marketing, facilities, and capital planning.
  • Extensive knowledge of foodservice equipment technology and product development.
  • Extensive experience with campus dynamics and the ability to maneuver effectively as an engaged member of the campus community.
  • The ability to envision, develop and implement “eatertainment” events that transform the dining experience for our guests.
  • Proven track record of implementing inventory control best practices, food and labor cost management, budget development and analysis, and entrepreneurial revenue generation in collegiate foodservice.
  • Expert knowledge of menu engineering.
  • Effective public speaking skills for presentations to small and large audiences of students and parents, guests and administrators.


To apply, submit a letter of application, current vita, and the names, addresses, and phone numbers of three professional references. To be fully considered, the letter of application must address all of the job qualifications. Send application materials to:

Patti Lake, Personnel Officer
The University of Montana Western
710 South Atlantic Street
Dillon, MT 59725

For questions relating to this position contact Michael Piazzola at 406-683-7565 or by email at

Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled

The University & Dillon Area

The University of Montana Western is a dynamic, innovative, undergraduate university with over 65 full-time faculty and 1,300 students. It is located in Dillon, Montana in the scenic Rocky Mountains and has been awarded numerous top national rankings for delivering high quality, affordable education.

Montana Western is the only public four-year college in the nation offering Experience One (X1), experiential learning delivered on the block schedule. Class sizes are small and students take a single course at a time, three hours each day for 18 days, before moving on to the next course. Each course is four credits and four blocks are offered each semester. The block schedule facilitates field and lab work, undergraduate research, study travel, and interdisciplinary teaching. Montana Western’s faculty strongly believe in mentoring and inspiring students, and assisting them in the transition from university life to professional careers.

The University of Montana Western is an integral part of the Dillon Community. With a population of 5,000 people, Dillon is known for outstanding public schools, safe environments, recreational opportunities, and an excellent quality of life.

The University of Montana Western is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and encourages applications from qualified women, minorities, veterans and people with disabilities. Qualified candidates may request veterans‚ or disabilities preference in accordance with state law. Reasonable accommodations are provided in the hiring process for persons with disabilities. Finalists for any position will be subject to a criminal background investigation.

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