Ed’s: An Arts & Letters Perspective on Business
  By: Francis Spesia, Senior, Illinois 

 I am not a business student. I’ve never taken an Econ class, and I don’t really understand how to work Microsoft Excel. So naturally, when I learned that I would be in charge of Ed’s this year, I quickly began asking Fr. Ralph rapid-fire questions that were designed to boost my own ego. Questions like, “But why me?” and “What special qualities do I have?” were quickly followed by queries such as, “You must have had so many other people who wanted to do it!” and “Are you sure that I’m the best man for the job?” Yes, in the beginning, I was hoping Fr. Ralph would fall into my trap and tell me that I was given the job of Ed’s manager because I have a brilliant mind for business… that I was the only man he ever considered for the job. 

Instead, with time, Fr. Ralph looked me in the eye and told me that he was afraid he had made the wrong choice. He encouraged me to give it my best effort, but explained that if I were to fail, there would be dire consequences. Ed’s would have to shut its doors. He signed off by reminding me that I was just a boy, not a man, and that I had to prove myself on the battle ground of Hall cuisine before I could claim to be anything more than a wonderstruck country boy, trying to find his way in the big city of life. 

With this less than glowing endorsement in the back of my mind, I set out on a quest to make sure Ed’s retained its status as the greatest eatery on campus. I hired a crack team of workers, who each spend 2-3 hours a week serving the loyal customers of Ed’s with a smile and a happy-go-lucky attitude. I brought in new talent for our sandwich artist, finding a diamond in the rough that can make any sandwich, at any hour, with almost no notice. Finally, I hired a driver that is more than happy to buy the foodstuffs necessary to make Ed’s function. These three phases—Food acquisition, sandwich making, and food selling—have combined to make Ed’s another smashing success. 

I wish that I could take credit for the success of Ed’s this semester. I wish that I could tell you that the cupboards are always stocked and the worker schedules are always released on time. However, I was raised to be honest, so I can truthfully tell you that I take no credit for the success that Ed’s has seen on its bottom line this year. Still, I DO take credit for the countless smiles of Ed’s customers! 

Yet, it would be wrong to take all the credit. Like an actor at the Oscars, I would like to thank so many others who helped me be the manager that I am. To the employees who put in all the hard work on the ground level, to the sandwich maker who shares his love and craft for food preparation, to the food purveyor ensuring that the workers have the food they need to properly serve the customers… THANK YOU. They are the ones who deserve all of the credit. However, I’m the BOSS, so I am going to take all the credit anyways. I haven’t earned it, but if there’s one thing I know about business it’s that the boss always needs to get the most credit no matter what. If people don’t like it, well… welcome to the big city of life, kid. 

Still, managing Ed’s isn’t just about the here and now… it’s also about the future too. To ensure the prosperity of Ed’s in years to come, I will not rest until Ed’s makes a profit of at least one million, billion dollars. My business school friends have told me that this is, in fact, not a real number. In reply, I look them in the eye and tell them to dream bigger, because when you eat at Ed’s, anything is possible!

Always smiling and sometimes managing,

Frank Spesia