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Villanova's Tim Dietzler Wins IFMA Gold Plate

Villanova University’s Director of Dining Services was awarded the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA) coveted Gold Plate Award

For the first time in more than 40 years, the recipient of IFMA's Gold Plate came from a college or university

Timothy Dietzler, Director of Dining Services at Villanova University was awarded the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA) coveted Gold Plate Award during the Gold & Silver Plate Celebration on May 24 in Chicago, Ill. Dietzler is the first college or university operator to win a Gold Plate since IFMA switched from a single award to multiple silver plate categories in 1968.

For 56 years, IFMA has sponsored the Gold and Silver Plate Awards program, which honors those leaders who show extraordinary dedication, creativity and achievement in their segments of operation. The awards continue to pay tribute to excellence by recognizing the most outstanding and innovative talents in nine segments of foodservice operations.

Each year, a distinguished jury of trade press editors and previous award winners weighs the merits of hundreds of candidates before selecting the executives who are honored with the Silver Plate Award. From among these nine, one is chosen by secret ballot to receive the industry's most coveted recognition, the IFMA Gold Plate.

All past winners of IFMA's Gold and Silver Plate Awards are members of the International Gold and Silver Plate Society, a group that is dedicated tot he advancement of the foodservice industry.

Dietzler serves one of the most demanding consumer populations there is; yet he commands the forefront of college dining with best-in-class programs, innovative solutions and solid results. Cleanliness, service, quality, attention to detail, and safety are the core values of Villanova Dining Services.

Dietzler’s extensive operation includes 21 locations – three all-you-care-to-eat dining operations; two convenience stores; a video convenience store, six gourmet coffee bars; eight retail food operations; and catering. The varied outlets serve 16,000 meals each day.

With a strong commitment to superior customer service and a responsiveness that resonates with students, Dietzler keeps Villanova ahead of the curve. Villanova Dining Services led the industry by eliminating partially hydrogenated oils and MSG from all menu items and all food products sold on campus. For over 10 years, Villanova has been serving Fair Trade coffee, chocolates and rice in its dining operations. In 2008, Dietzler led his team in rolling out a compostable program in one of the largest cash operations on campus and successfully eliminating 98% of the trash from the waste stream.

Dietzler keeps operations fresh and interesting with effective merchandising. For example, at The Exchange, appealing pre-wrapped sandwiches entice purchasers, resulting in reduced lines and increased grab-and-go sales. The concept creates the perception of a fresh, made to order item. Sixty percent of sales come from pre-made sandwiches and salads. Dietzler uses several advertising mediums simultaneously, and a major part of his marketing effort is partnering with companies that are committed to social causes such as Fair Trade products and the Monterey Bay Aquarium. These partnerships generate positive coverage and support the University’s overall mission.

Food quality is key, and Dietzler ensures that organic and local produce, a fresh dough pizza program, sustainable seafood and fresh-daily food items take center stage. Over production is donated to a local food re-distributor in Philadelphia. A menu committee consisting of more than 45 managers, chefs and staff create a six-week cycle menu and special event offerings. In an out-of-the-box move, he redesigned the menu to feature vegetables before entrees to encourage the choice of vegetables as a main course rather than a side dish.

By moving the department away from a central warehouse system to direct deliveries and negotiating the first prime vendor contract, Dietzler helped reduce overall food costs by five percent. Implementing computerized systems for all facets of the dining program and purchasing the CBORD menu management system and events planning systems helped the department realize an additional two percent reduction in food costs. These efforts enabled him to expand the department and drive revenues while keeping labor expense in check.

As a result of Dietzler’s leadership and the efforts of his team, Villanova Dining Services has been recognized with many key awards, including: a 2004 Ivy Award from Restaurants & Institutions; 2004 Food Safety Award from the Pennsylvania Restaurant Association; the National Association of College & University Food Services’ (NACUFS’) 2003 Best in the Business Award for Convenience Store Design and Layout; NACUFS’ 2007 Most Creative Nutrition Program; and 15 NACUFS Loyal E. Horton Dining Awards.

IFMA ( is a leading trade association comprising more than 300 of the world’s most prestigious food, equipment and supply manufacturers in the $588 billion foodservice industry, as well as related marketing service organizations, trade publications, distributors and brokers. IFMA’s mission is to serve as a business partner to its members by bringing them relevant, actionable services that are fundamental to their business assessment, planning and execution.

Villanova University, a co-educational Roman Catholic institution, was founded by the Order of Saint Augustine in 1842. A premier institution of higher education, Villanova provides a comprehensive education rooted in the liberal arts; a shared commitment to the Augustinian ideals of truth, unity and love; and a community dedicated to service to others. A wide variety of undergraduate and graduate degree programs are offered through the University’s four colleges: the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering and the College of Nursing, as well as the Villanova School of Law. With a total enrollment that surpasses 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students, Villanova is the oldest and largest Catholic university in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.