Whittier Tech Opens Coffee Café to the Public, Adding to Student Hospitality Career Pathway

Students Noel Allen and Haley Miller, both of Salisbury, work in Whittier Tech’s new coffee café, which allows Hospitality students to learn systems for takeout businesses. (Courtesy photograph.)

More hospitality learning opportunities are available to students of Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School with the opening of a new coffee café.

Whittier Tech opened the coffee café in mid-September, first to faculty and then to the public. Adjacent to the school’s Poet’s Inn restaurant, it includes a bakery case, espresso machine and point of sales systems to allow students to learn operations for takeout orders, said Superintendent Maureen Lynch. It is an expansion of Whittier Tech’s Hospitality pathway with real-world job training and opportunities for students upon graduation.

“One of our main goals at Whittier Tech is to anticipate market needs and prepare our students to fill those emerging jobs,” Lynch said. “Hospitality instructors Krizstina Perron and Nicole Grupposo have been working diligently, given projected growth in industry, to provide the most opportunities for our graduates.”

As part of the initiative, students toured Briar Barn Inn in Rowley, a farmhouse inn, restaurant and spa. The Inn now is working with Whittier’s Hospitality Advisory Board to create an unpaid internship for a sophomore in the fourth quarter of the school year. They also toured Willowdale Estates in Topsfield.

Hospitality students say they are benefiting from these new opportunities. “I like the experience of helping customers. At the end of the day, I feel happy,” said Jana Vicioso, a sophomore from Haverhill. “I feel proud of the work I did.”

The café is open for breakfast from 8:30-10 a.m. and for lunch from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., except Wednesdays, weekends, holidays and during in-school functions. Daily offerings include a “Daily Brew,” weekly pastries and cold lunch options. Patrons also may order the regular Poet’s Inn menu for hot meals or daily specials.

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