Food Service Trends and Challenges


    General Information

    Professor Information

    Professor Photo
    Prof. Mark Traynor
    (305) 919-4577
    HM 341 (BBC)
    By Appointment
    Canvas Inbox

    Fax:                   (305) 919-4555

    Course Description And Purpose

    This course will allow the student to study and learn how to manage issues relating to the most relevant trends and challenges facing the food service industry today. The topics covered will change as the issues for the industry change. Some current major topics include but are not limited to: Technological advances in hospitality; Sustainability and the “greening” of the industry; Role of social media and its impact on hospitality businesses; and how external political and economic issues effect our industry.

    Course Objectives

    Students will be able to:

    • Identify current trends that are influencing the hospitality industry
    • Examine future challenges that hospitality professionals may encounter
    • Describe the impact of advancements in technology within the industry
    • Discuss the prominent role of social media and its impacts
    • Recognize ethical challenges and moral decision-making practices
    • Define the importance of sustainability and green hospitality

    Teaching Methodology

    This is a fully online course in which all of the instructional materials and activities are delivered through Canvas, and/or other internet-based media. You will be using the Discussion Board and Assignments tools in Canvas. Should you have any questions, please contact the professor.

    Important Information

    Course Prerequisites

    There are no prerequisites for this course.


    All learning material in this course is entirely free and will be accessible through Canvas.


    Please review the FIU's Policies webpage. The policies webpage contains essential information regarding guidelines relevant to all courses at FIU, as well as additional information about acceptable netiquette for online courses.

    As a member of the FIU community you are expected to be knowledgeable about the behavioral expectations set forth in the FIU Student Code of Conduct.

    Technical Requirements & Skills

    One of the greatest barriers to taking an online course is a lack of basic computer literacy. By computer literacy we mean being able to manage and organize computer files efficiently, and learning to use your computer's operating system and software quickly and easily. Keep in mind that this is not a computer literacy course; but students enrolled in online courses are expected to have moderate proficiency using a computer. Please go to the "What's Required" webpage to find out more information on this subject.

    This course utilizes the following tools:

    1. Adobe Connect
    2. Assignment Dropbox
    3. Discussion Board
    4. Podcasts

    Please visit our Technical Requirements webpage for additional information.

    Accessibility And Accommodation

    The Disability Resource Center collaborates with students, faculty, staff, and community members to create diverse learning environments that are usable, equitable, inclusive and sustainable. The DRC provides FIU students with disabilities the necessary support to successfully complete their education and participate in activities available to all students. If you have a diagnosed disability and plan to utilize academic accommodations, please contact the Center at 305-348-3532 or visit them at the Graham Center GC 190.

    Please visit our ADA Compliance webpage for information about accessibility involving the tools used in this course.

    Please visit the Canvas Accessibility webpage for more information. 

    For additional assistance please contact FIU's Disability Resource Center.

    Academic Misconduct Statement

    Florida International University is a community dedicated to generating and imparting knowledge through excellent teaching and research, the rigorous and respectful exchange of ideas and community service. All students should respect the right of others to have an equitable opportunity to learn and honestly to demonstrate the quality of their learning. Therefore, all students are expected to adhere to a standard of academic conduct, which demonstrates respect for themselves, their fellow students, and the educational mission of the University. All students are deemed by the University to understand that if they are found responsible for academic misconduct, they will be subject to the Academic Misconduct procedures and sanctions, as outlined in the Student Handbook.

    Academic Misconduct includes: Cheating – The unauthorized use of books, notes, aids, electronic sources; or assistance from another person with respect to examinations, course assignments, field service reports, class recitations; or the unauthorized possession of examination papers or course materials, whether originally authorized or not. Plagiarism – The use and appropriation of another’s work without any indication of the source and the representation of such work as the student’s own. Any student who fails to give credit for ideas, expressions or materials taken from another source, including internet sources, is responsible for plagiarism.

    Learn more about the academic integrity policies and procedures as well as student resources that can help you prepare for a successful semester.

    Expectations Of This Course

    This is an online course, which means most (if not all) of the course work will be conducted online. Expectations for performance in an online course are the same for a traditional course. In fact, online courses require a degree of self-motivation, self-discipline, and technology skills which can make these courses more demanding for some students.

    Students are expected to:

    • Review the how to get started module located in the Module area
    • Introduce yourself to the class during the first week by posting a self-introduction in the appropriate discussion forum
    • Interact online with instructor and peers
    • Review and follow the course calendar
    • Log in to the course five times per week
    • Respond to discussions
    • Respond to emails and messages within 72 hours
    • Submit assignments by the corresponding deadline

    The instructor will:

    • Log in to the course daily from Monday-Friday, excluding holidays
    • Respond to discussions within 96 hours
    • Respond to student emails/messages within 48 hours of reading them.
    • Grade assignments within 7 days of the assignment deadline

    Course Detail

    Course Communication

    Communication in this course will take place via the Canvas Inbox. Check out the Canvas Conversations Tutorial  to learn how to communicate with your instructor and peers using Announcements, Discussions, and the Inbox.

    Please do not email me, instead send a message via the Inbox feature on Canvas. My work email receives a lot of traffic each day, for this reason I may not see your email, or get to it as promptly as you may need. The Inbox on Canvas is exclusively for this class, I try to check it three times a day, so there is a high chance that I will see and respond to your message in a timely fashion.

    Visit our Writing Resources webpage for more information on professional writing and technical communication skills.

    Discussion Forums

    Keep in mind that your discussion forum postings will likely be seen by other members of the course. Care should be taken when determining what to post.

    Tips for Electronic Discussions (adapted from Creating Strong Contributions to Electronic Discussions)

    • Remember to use your subject line effectively.
    • Sign your posting to the discussion; this helps because it:
      • Lets classmates get to know who you are
      • Lets readers know who wrote a particular contribution
      • Supports and enhances your overall conversation online
    • Adopt the right tone.
      • Be specific in your writing. For example, include names and examples that explain or make known who you agree/disagree with, why you agree/disagree, and what you want to add to the conversation. This helps other readers follow your ideas and tie them back to the discussion.
      • Invite interaction and collaboration from others. Consider using phrases like "What do you think about my idea?" and "Do you agree with this?" Let readers know you want to hear their opinions.
      • Respect others' thoughts and ideas. Be constructive in challenging different views and explain where you disagree and why within the rules of "netiquette."
      • Take a chance. Electronic discussions afford the opportunity to brainstorm and think online. The nature of an online discussion is more relaxed than other forms of written communication. Test ideas. See how others can help you look at and stretch your thinking.
      • Don't use fancy formatting or bullets. Remember that online are discussions are text-based. Stick to the basics:
        • Single-space within a paragraph and double-space between paragraphs.
        • Keep your paragraphs short.
      • Consider why it is called a "threaded discussion." Use the "reply" function to respond or reply to a posting. This helps keep the thoughts and threads of a discussion grouped together in order. Use the "new message" function for new thoughts or ideas.
      • Proofread and check the spelling. While online communication is more relaxed, it is not careless communication. Doing a quick proof of your work before you send it may alleviate the need to clarify your posting and save you some time and and potential embarrassment.
    • Keep your responses to less than 20 lines and at least 200 words. Use paragraphs to organize your thoughts. Remember: the longer your response is, the less effective your message becomes.
    • The posting must occur between Monday 12:01 AM and Sunday 11:59 PM for that particular week’s module. You must post by Sunday 11:59 PM for that week.
    • Each week’s postings will be graded by the instructor within 72 hours of the Discussion Forum’s closing.
    • Your posting will be graded based on the rubric provided.
    • You must respond to at least one other classmate’s posting within 48 hours of the closing date for that week’s discussion assignment

    Grading Rubric for Discussion Questions

    The Total Possible Points for each Discussion Question is 30 points


    Exceeds Expectations

    Meets Expectations

    Does Not Meet Expectations

    Offers substantive comment or opinion


    10 points

    Responses to questions are substantial, well thought-out, detailed and well-written.


    Responses to questions have detail and are written with minimal grammatical errors.


    Responses to questions lack significant detail and/or are not well-written.


    Discussions relates to the topic*


    10 points

    Addresses the specific topic in explicit detail while citing sources


    Addresses the specific topic


    Strays from the specific topic, or fails to address the topic


    Student has responded to another student's posting


    10 points

    Student significantly responds to at least one other participant's comments.


    Student significantly responds to at least one other participant's comments however, the response lacks sustenance and/or only states whether they agree or disagree


    Student does not respond to at least one other participant's comments.



    See assignment schedule on Canvas


    All written assignments are to be submitted electronically according to the instructions on Canvas. Assignments WILL NOT be accepted via email, Facebook, text or any other means other than as indicated on Canvas

    Assignments must be formatted as follows:

    1. All assignments must be typed
    2. Assignments must be submitted as ONE document, Word document only. Attachments must be saved with the class name, group or individual name and assignment and attached as such. 
    3. Use a 12 point plain font such as Arial.
    4. Use 1" margins on all 4 sides.
    5. 1.5 spacing.
    6. Justify so the left edges of the typing are perfectly straight.
    7. Head the first page this way, single spaced in the upper right corner.
      • your last name, your first name
      • your class (ex. HFT 4853)
      • due date
      • name of assignment (ex.  Menu Planning Exercise)
    8. Use a header with the page number and your last name or group name on page 2 to the last page.

    Work that does not meet these requirements will be handed back without comment. If you redo the assignment, it will then be late and the late submission policy will apply (see below).


    I do not accept work done early except under very unusual circumstances.  You must pre-arrange that.


    1. Late assignments lose 50% of the final grade before 24 hours. Late assignments must be submitted through Canvas using the appropriate link. This is your insurance policy so you avoid the late penalty. 
    2. I work very hard to grade papers quickly.  Late assignments do not get handled with the same dispatch. They go to the bottom of my priorities.  ON TIME IS THE WAY TO GO.
    3. No assignments will be accepted more than 24 hours after the submission date. 
    4. Failing to submit 5 assignments in total throughout the semester will result in a Fail grade (F) for the course.

    Syllabus Agreement and Academic Honesty

    This assignment is designed to ensure that you, the student, have read and understand the syllabus. If you have questions regarding the course content or assignments then it is your responsibility to ask me questions via email. This document represents an agreement between student and professor. I will do my best to uphold my end but I require you to do the same. You must read the entire syllabus, then you must log onto Canvas to completing the Syllabus Agreement and Academic Honesty Policy on Canvas (this can be found in Module 1). This must be completed by midnight (11.59pm) on the eve of the second week of the course, Sunday.

    Adobe Connect Pro Meeting

    Adobe Connect is an online meeting room where you can interact with your professor and fellow students by sharing screens, sharing files, chatting, broadcasting live audio, and taking part in other interactive online activities. No Adobe Connect meetings have been scheduled to date, if a meeting is scheduled then you will be notified of the time and date via email. If this time does not work with your schedule, then the meeting will be recorded and available for you to view on demand.

    Requirements for using Adobe Connect:

    1. Disable any window pop-up blocker.
    2. Adobe Flash Player is required to successfully run your Adobe Connect meeting.
    3. Use of a combination headset and microphone with USB connection is recommended to ensure quality sound and reduce technical difficulties

    Reference Adobe Connect (Tutorials & Help) to learn about the tool, how to access your meeting rooms and recordings.


    Course Requirements Number of Items Points for Each Total Points Available
    Syllabus Agreement and Academic Honesty Policy 1 15 15
    Introduce Yourself 1 15 15
    Discussion Board 9 30 270
    Mid-Term Assignments 2 50 100
    Assignments 4 30 120
    Final Paper 1 200 200
    Total 18 NA 720
    Extra Credit TBD    
    Letter Range (%) Letter Range (%) Letter Range (%)
    A 93 or above B 83 - 86 C 70 - 76
    A- 90 - 92 B- 80 - 82 D 60 - 69
    B+ 87 - 89 C+ 77 - 79 F 59 or less

    Course Calendar

    Weekly Schedule

    *Schedule subject to change as necessary

    Date TOPIC Tasks

    Module 1

    8/20 - 8/26
    Course Introduction

    Syllabus Agreement Quiz

    Introduce yourself

    Module 2

    8/27 - 9/2

    Trends and Issues in hospitality: 1990 - 2010

    Participate in discussion forum

    Module 3

    9/3 - 9/9

    Current trends and issues in hospitality industry today

    Written assignment

    Module 4

    9/10 - 9/16
    Industry Disruptors – Amazon, Delivery, Retail Home Meals

    Participate in discussion forum

    Module 5

    9/17 - 9/23

    Technology in the Foodservice Industry

    Participate in discussion forum

    Module 6

    9/24 - 9/30

    Social Networking

    Participate in discussion forum

    Case Study Social Media

    Module 7

    10/1 - 10/7

    Sustainability and Green Hospitality

    Participate in discussion forum

    Case Study Sustainability

    Module 8

    10/8 - 10/14

    Midterm Week

    Submit case studies (Modules 6 & 7)

    Module 9

    10/15 - 10/21

    Service? What is it?

    Participate in discussion forum

    Module 10

    10/22 - 10/28

    Ethics in Hospitality

    Case study assignment

    Module 11

    10/29 - 11/4

    Economic forces affecting the hospitality industry

    Case study assignment

    Module 12

    11/5 - 11/11

    Operational Challenges: The Changing Customer

    Participate in discussion forum

    Module 13

    11/12 - 11/18

    Operational challenges: Employee, Labor Cost and Multicultural Issues

    Written assignment

    Module 14

    11/19 - 11/25

    Operational Challenges: Financial Management Participate in discussion forum

    Module 15

    11/26 - 12/2

    Consumer Trends

    Participate in discussion forum

    Module 16

    12/3 - 12/8

    Final Paper

    Final Paper Due