The entrepreneurship class of the Leon Hess Business School is currently in the process of creating a book that showcases various restaurants and wineries across the state of NJ titled, “Enjoy: A Taste of New Jersey.”
John Buzza, a Specialist Professor of the management and decision sciences, teaches the entrepreneurship class at the University which, according to the course description on WebAdvisor, “focuses on the actual tasks and activities of the entrepreneur, from the excitement of the original concept, the reality of researching venture feasibility, financing the venture, launching the venture, to managing growth.”
The students enrolled in the class have the entire semester to brainstorm and produce a product of their choice. Over the years, Buzza and his students have created 14 various products and services, some of which include dog treats, perfumes and an original salsa recipe. Previous classes have also set up a local soup kitchen called Soup D’Shore, and even created COREiculum, a workout program targeted at college students.
This year, the students chose to publish a restaurant guide to various types of NJ cuisine. “People are infatuated with the name of New Jersey itself,” Buzza explained. “whether it be Jersey Mike’s, ‘Housewives of New Jersey’, the Jersey Shore…New Jersey sells.”
The main focus of this book is not only to add to the collection of NJ-themed products already on the market, but also to “feature Jersey culture in food,” Buzza said.
Kristin Waring, a junior psychology major currently enrolled in the entrepreneurship class, said, “Recently, we have been going to different restaurants in the state and asking them to enter our book.”
It was the decision of the students in the class to choose which eateries would be featured in the book, and it was also up to them to approach each restaurant and express their interest.
Although there was no set criteria when it came time to select which restaurants would be featured in the book, Buzza explained that this is just the first volume of what he hopes will be a continuing series of more specific and selective publications.
“This is volume one, this is kind of a random sampling of restaurants; volume two will just be about Jersey diners, or wineries, or catering facilities, or white-table cloth establishments,” he said.
Buzza also explained that the class has never published a book before, but he is hoping that they will be able to see it sold on the shelves of Barnes & Noble, as well as online bookstores for those who use Kindles and other Internet-based reading devices.
Along with the restaurant selection process, as a group, the students were in charge of designing the entire book themselves, from front cover to back.
“It’s been a long and trying but very important learning process for the students. They’ve dipped their toes into so many aspects of business, from dealing with entrepreneurs, to formatting this [book], to being creative when they thought that maybe they couldn’t be,” said Buzza.
Regardless of all the hard work required of the students who take Buzza’s entrepreneurship class, the overall experience seems to be overwhelmingly positive for most students.
“Every single time I go to the class, I feel like I am learning another lesson that will benefit me when I am in the work field. I am a psychology major, but I still believe I am getting just as much from this class as all of the business students,” said Waring.
Alissa Catalano, a University alumnus who took the entrepreneurship class before graduating, admitted that the skills she learned from Buzza are currently helping her in the real world.
“Professor Buzza’s entrepreneurship class really gave me a taste of what to expect when working in corporate America,” she said. “I’m finding that things we learned and accomplished in his class, I’m actually doing day to day while working at Madison Square Garden: working with a team, managing a budget, developing a brand, or a product, marketing, so on and so forth.”
“Enjoy: A Taste of New Jersey” will be published on or about April 25. The class will also be hosting a “Chef’s Night” on May 5 at Branches Catering in West Long Branch that will feature most of the restaurants and wineries published in the book. Tickets can be purchased online at eventbrite.com.