Pendulum Court Teaches Real-Life Skills

Plates served with desserts
Between one hundred fifty and two hundred patrons visit BYU’s unique Pendulum Court Café every day. But few of them know exactly how much work is put into the food
they are being served.

The Pendulum Court, officially called the Food Production Management lab (NDFS 375), is a required class in the dietetics program. The lab is designed to give students experience as managers in hot and cold food production, bakery, and quality assurance. “The lab is a very real-life experience, so it gives the feel of what food production and management is like every day,” says Julie Duncan, one of the two instructors for the lab.

Students spend the first three weeks learning basic procedures. The remaining time is spent actually running the café. The primary focus of the lab is on food service management rather than on nutrition. However, Dr. Nyland, professor and director of the dietetics program, says that the Pendulum Court “still tries to have healthy foods,” serving dishes that are high in fiber and low in fat.

While all dietetics programs have lab requirements, few have their own kitchen and dining facilities. As one of their supervised practice experiences, postgraduate dietetic interns manage students taking the class. The internship helps them fulfill the credentials necessary to take the exam to become a registered dietitian. This experience helps graduates get management positions in food services for hospitals or care centers, where diets need to be regulated. These students certainly agree with Duncan that “we’re very fortunate to have the lab at this university.”