Russ Bendel ’05,
The Collins School of Hospitality Management
Operating Partner, Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar in Newport Beach
Russ Bendel has been with OSI Restaurant Partners, Inc., for nine years. He spent six years with Outback Steakhouse and three with Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar. During his career he has held an array of titles, from dishwasher to manager.
When asked what advice he would give to students who were thinking of entering the hospitality field, he replied: “Work in the industry while you attend school. Start from the bottom and learn every aspect of your business. This will help you to relate work experience to the reading materials involved.”
Cal Poly Pomona has always been recognized for its “learn-by-doing” approach. Bendel has also benefited from this theory and when asked how his experience at his alma mater prepared him for his career, he mentioned that “It was very nice to see the direct relationship of Collins School’s education to actual work experience. I believe the professors who have worked in the industry have brought an incredible amount of real-world experience to the program. I felt like I was ahead of most students from other schools because we are required to run an actual restaurant on campus before we graduated.”
A relatively recent alumnus, Bendel is looking forward to participating in the Southern California Tasting & Auction because “it provides an opportunity to give back to the program that I graduated from and, to help make The Collins School more widely known in the industry as the best in the nation. “
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