Director of Residential Dining

Updated: about 1 month ago
Location: Princeton, NEW JERSEY
Job Type: FullTime

The Director of Residential Dining oversees all aspects of the board plan dining program including the dining menus and meal plans.  The self-operated operations employ approximately 22 management and approximately 140 associates.  All of Campus Dining front-line associates are members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).  The Director of Residential Dining is responsible to capitalize on the strengths of each and broaden perspectives to execute an exceptional culinary program, which will meet and exceed customer expectations. 


The Director of Residential Dining must have a robust operational background and a good understanding of how to identify, develop, and implement changes resulting from food service trends, culinary objectives, and sustainability practices.  The Director of Residential Dining creates an environment where all are encouraged to suggest new ideas and must possess the ability to carefully evaluate these ideas.  They must be able to respond quickly to changing business needs and priorities and to balance strategic thinking with tactical implementation. 


The Director of Residential Dining must have a strong commitment to providing excellent customer service to both internal and external constituents; be able to get first-hand customer information and use it for improvements in products and services; act with customers in mind; establish and maintain effective relationships with customers and gain their trust and respect. 


Wellness and sustainability are important initiatives of Campus Dining.  Menus provide options for a healthy diet based on the principles of moderation and variety, and the department operates an Allergy Awareness Program to assist customers with special dietary needs.  In addition, through Campus Dining’s Sustainability Initiative, consideration is given to the broader context of social and environmental issues surrounding food production, distribution, and preparation.  The Director of Residential Dining is responsible for assisting in leading these initiatives and overseeing the development of innovative programs that ensure progress continues in these areas. 




Campus Dining maintains a flat organization structure.  The Director of Residential Dining will lead a management team which is comprised of approximately 22 managers. 


Success in this role requires a proven professional who brings broad-based management experience in administration and finance and a demonstrated ability to lead a multi-faceted service operation, comprised of distinct administrative and production staff, whose mission is to provide exceptional service to diverse populations of students, faculty, staff, and alumni.  The Director of Residential Dining must have a proven ability to attract, mentor, motivate, and lead a strong, cohesive, and a high-performing team.  The managerial skills to establish a team and goal-oriented environment; the ability to provide vision and encourage innovation; and the skills and confidence to empower staff through active communication, delegation, direction, assessment, confidence building, promoting diversity of thought, and celebrating achievements.  The Director of Residential Dining must possess the ability to coach, train, and evaluate professional team members and the courage to communicate honest, effective feedback in a transparent, respectful manner. 


The Director of Residential Dining is responsible for hiring staff and ensuring that they are provided opportunities for continued development.  As a result, the Director of Residential Dining must possess excellent human resource, supervisory, and mentoring/coaching skills, and the ability to successfully interact with administrative professionals and union staff.  The Director of Residential Dining must have a proven commitment to professional development, advanced training and education and the ability to identify professional development opportunities for staff to reach their full potential.  As a result, they must be able to create an environment which facilitates career planning. 


Campus Dining employs staff and serves customers with widely varying backgrounds, perspectives, education, and skills.  In addition, the primary language spoken by those who work within the unit varies greatly.  The Director of Residential Dining must have a personal and professional commitment to diversity and inclusion, as demonstrated by persistent effort, active, and innovative planning, allocation of resources and/or accountability for diversity outcomes, and the ability to relate well with such diverse populations. 


The Director of Residential Dining must be both an effective manager and team member who can work in a dynamic and collaborative environment and who has the ability to both take direction and communicate it to complex teams.  They must have the ability to communicate and implement, in collaboration with subordinate personnel, Campus Dining’s vision, mission, goals, objectives and strategic plans.  The Director of Residential Dining must have the ability to create a sense of ownership within the team by being a good communicator who clearly assigns responsibilities and objectives and who develops procedures and feedback mechanisms.  



Internal and External Relationships:

The Director of Residential Dining must possess effective communication and interpersonal skills to create collaborative relationships with a wide variety of internal and external stakeholders.  Princeton’s diversity initiatives have resulted in a vibrant, colorful, and inclusive campus.  Graduate and undergraduate student populations, along with faculty and staff, come from many different ethnic, religious, racial, geographic, and socioeconomic backgrounds. 


The Director of Residential Dining must represent the department in a positive manner while creating an environment that fosters respect and courtesy for all.  They work closely with staff in many administrative offices at the University.  The Director of Residential Dining must be able to quickly find common ground, solve problems for the good of all, represent their own interests and yet be fair to other groups.  They must be an active listener, dynamic, a critical thinker, and have ability to multi-task and ensure effective time management.


The Director of Residential Dining must be a person of the highest integrity with a collegial style that engenders trust and enables collaboration – someone who brings enthusiasm for day-to-day management of efficient, responsive operations, and for working as part of a leadership team to develop and implement an effective management strategy.  The Director of Residential Dining must have the ability to understand the objectives, goals, activities and regulations of the institution and departments and their implications for programs, policies, and decisions.  They must be a good listener who has a willingness to support and contribute to the University’s culture of respect and uphold a strong work ethic, be caring and thoughtful, and have the ability to think strategically.



Financial and Compliance:

The Director of Residential Dining is responsible for overseeing the preparation and management of budgets and monitoring the financial success of all Residential Operations.  They must possess a strong background in fiscal planning, budget preparation and management, revenue forecasting and financial modeling, understanding, interpreting, and explaining profit and loss reports and recommending corrective actions.


The Director of Residential Dining must be able to evaluate opportunities to refine services, perform operations analysis and quality control analysis.  The Director of Residential Dining is responsible for ensuring compliance with University policy and enforcing, reviewing, and interpreting safety and sanitation standards and regulations mandated by local, state, and federal agencies.  They are responsible for quality control systems in food production and presentation within units.




The Director of Residential Dining must be an innovative leader and thinker who can bring a wealth of cutting edge and diverse food service/ hospitality experience to reimagine the residential dining program.


The Director of Residential Dining will design, research, analyze, and develop new concepts and programs that with have an impact on revitalizing the front of house experience of the students and constituents who utilize dining services at Princeton University. 


Princeton University has retained JDR Quest, an executive search firm, to assist in this search.

Confidential inquiries, nominations, referrals, and resumes with cover letters should be submitted to: Josh Reich at

Candidates must also apply online on this site as well.


A full job description will be furnished prior to interivew. 


The Director of Residential Dining is responsible for the planning and management of all service, production, personnel, and financial aspects of the board plan.  This includes oversight of the residential dining program including Butler/First, Rockefeller/Mathey, Whitman, Forbes, The Center for Jewish Life, and programs related to the Graduate College.  The director must employ careful oversight of menus and programs while adhering to university policies, regulations, and procedures.  The Director will be expected to maintain a flexible work schedule that may include some evenings and weekends.


Residential Talent Management:

  • Maintains direct responsibility for acquisition, development, motivation, retention, conflict resolution based on diversity and inclusion for all Residential staff.
  • Maintains direct responsibility for hiring, scheduling, and performance management of all team members.
  • Work effectively and collaboratively with team members and the union leadership to ensure effective delivery of services to the campus community.
  • Assist in developing training programs for the Residential Dining team.
  • Maintains direct responsibility for the development and performance management for all team members in Residential.

Residential Dining Program:

  • Conducts quarterly meetings with clients including the Residential College Administrative staff and other campus partners to support departmental/college initiatives.  
  • Survey customers and develop programs based upon feedback from students.
  • Review concepts and menu design and make recommendations for modifications based on dietary and industry trends.
  • Provide guidance and collaborate with campus partners designing opportunities to celebrate diverse cultures, including Heritage months, theme meals, and special college events.


Operations & Finance Management:

  • Maintains direct responsibility for the menus and concepts within the Residential Dining program.
  • Identifies unique needs of multiple user groups to serve and nourish to ensure all Residential operations perform at a consistent level.
  • Maintains direct oversight of the menus and pricing strategy for all Residential events.
  • Identifies metrics and rationale for measurement in participation, food cost, plate cost.
  • Monitor financial performance of all Residential operations.
  • Maintains direct oversight of a kosher facility ensuring compliance with kosher law. 

Minimum Required Knowledge, Skills & Experience:

  • Bachelor’s Degree.
  • Minimum of 8-10 years in progressive leadership/management roles in the hospitality industry.
  • Working knowledge of State health department rules and regulations and ServSafe.
  • Experience managing people.
  • Experience with all Microsoft platforms.
  • Valid Driver’s License.
  • Knowledge of Local, State and Federal Nutritional Guidelines.
  • Reliability and willingness to take initiative.
  • The ability to work nights, weekends, holidays, etc. 
  • Essential Personnel,


Preferrred Knowledge, Skills & Experience:

  • Managing people in a union environment. 
  • Experience in college or university setting. 



Princeton University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law. EEO IS THE LAW .









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