Director for Retail Dining

Harvard University Dining Services invites applications and nominations for the role of Director for Retail Dining to lead the strategic and tactical planning and execution of its self-sustaining retail dining program.

Reporting to the Managing Director for Dining Services, Smitha Haneef, the Director for Retail Dining oversees the operational activities of a portfolio of a dozen locations from small, student-run coffee shops to large, multi-concept, prestigious professional school accounts. This position is a member of Harvard University Dining Services (HUDS) Senior Leadership Team. Collectively, the department provides hospitality and dining experiences to vital members of the community. Retail Dining has an annual operating budget of approximately $20 million, with 120 exempt and union staff. The Retail business group is a self-sustaining financial model and the Director will have direct responsibility to maintain profitability at each location and overall operations.

With a holistic view of welcoming and service, the Director of Retail Dining, in partnership with Harvard’s professional schools and departments, will shape and guide the Harvard University Dining Services retail team in delivering an inclusive, delicious, warm, and friendly experience for students and community members in a range of café settings and service styles. This individual will be a strategic leader, with excellent interpersonal and communication skills, creating a bridge between daily operational activities and longer-range strategic plans.

The Director will possess a genuine passion for hospitality and a commitment to a diverse, delicious, nutritious, and sustainable program around which community at this world-renowned institution can be forged.

For a full description of the role, please see here.


Basic Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s Degree.
  • 10 years of senior leadership experience in a food service, retail, or corporate environment including responsibility for multi-unit retail venues, and operations management.

Physical Requirements:

Light to medium work. Exerting up to 25 pounds of lifting force occasionally and/or a negligible amount of force constantly to move objects. Subject to wet floors, temperature extremes, and excessive noise. Position frequently involves long hours and widely diverse duties. Must be able to bend, stoop and perform regular walking and standing.

Additional Qualifications

  • Degree in Hospitality Management, Culinary Arts or related field.
  • Strong record of exceptional business acumen including, but not limited to strategic planning, financial and human resource management, budget development and management, etc.
  • Operational experience with a variety of food service, restaurants, bars, pubs, coffee shops, kiosks, concessions, pop-up concepts, catering events, applications and computerized menu management systems.
  • Outstanding communication skills including interpersonal communication, writing, public speaking and presenting, teaching and instruction.
  • Exceptional customer service skills.
  • Highly skilled at addressing complex situations and negotiating successful outcomes with a diverse group of stakeholders. 
  • Experience managing in a unionized environment and general knowledge of labor relations practices.
  • Extensive knowledge of current food trends. 
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office applications.
  • Ability to learn and adapt to new systems and applications as needed.
  • Ability to become ServSafe Certified within six months of employment.
  • Ability to work nights, weekends and holidays as needed.


Emergency Status Designation: Essential Personnel


Harvard University has engaged Opus Partners to support the recruitment of this position. Katie Dean, Associate Partner, and Chris Stadler, Associate are leading the search. Confidential inquiries, applications, and nominations should be submitted by email to Chris at


An application should include a resume and cover letter. Harvard University values diversity, equity, and inclusion, and seeks a leader who is committed to promoting these values throughout the organization. We encourage candidates to address in their cover letters how they might promote these values as the Director for Retail Dining and to highlight past professional support of initiatives designed to remove barriers and to increase participation by groups historically under-represented Dining Services.


Harvard University Dining Services plays an important role in supporting Harvard's commitment by seeking to create, procure and deploy technologies that are accessible to all, including and especially those who live with disability. Harvard welcomes individuals with disabilities to apply for positions and participate in its programs and activities. If you would like to request accommodations or have questions about the physical access provided, please contact our University Disability Resources Department.


Harvard University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, protected veteran or disabled status, or genetic information.