YMCA Teens Experiencing “A Day in the Life” at NEXDINE

The NEXDINE Foundation is proud to have partnered with the YMCA of Greater Boston on Thursday, February 23rd. Teens ranging from seventh to twelfth grades enrolled in the Career Program visited one of NEXDINE’s corporate dining locations to experience “A Day in the Life” of a NEXIDNE Hospitality Colleague. Throughout the morning, 41 teens toured the front of the dining facility as well as the back of the kitchen and learned more about what it takes to run a large-scale dining program.

Shannon Merlin, VP of Operations, welcomed the group with an overview of who NEXDINE Hospitality is, how corporate dining is integrated into different types of facilities, and our philosophy around creating amazing experiences for our colleagues and guests. She shared her own experiences on why she was drawn to a career in hospitality and how she rose to her current position over the years.

Colleagues Sean McCaffery, VP of Operations, and David Murphy, Regional Director of Operations, walked the group through the front of the facility, explaining how each of the food stations is set up, the different pop-up menus options that are available, and NEXDINE’s commitment to sourcing fresh, healthy food. The teens were impressed to see a Babylon Micro Farm on display and learn how we use technology to help us grow our own greens. Kelly McCarthy, Field Support Manager, was on-site to explain how Toast technology self-checkout platform is integrated throughout our locations and what it takes to set up and maintain the technology. The teens learned how the hospitality industry is currently using technology and the future of where we hope to be with the integration of AI in not only non-contact checkout areas in the front of the house but potentially using robots to perform cooking tasks in the kitchens someday.

Kevin Chaves, Regional Culinary Director, took the teens on a tour of the back of the house, showing them what goes into the daily operations of running a large-scale kitchen. The teens learned how we plan and order food and supplies, they were able to peek into the walk-in and dry storage areas and see the chefs in action as they prepared for the upcoming lunch rush. Kevin spoke about the NEXDINE culture and the importance of allowing our chefs the creative expression to develop their own recipes and menus. They are encouraged to draw from their background and use their cultural influences to create amazing meals for the guests. There was a discussion around food waste and NEXDINE’s commitment to thoughtful ordering and planning to keep waste to a minimum and integrate composting stations at many of our locations.

The teens could pick a featured dish from several stations for lunch. The BBQ sandwich and Mac and Cheese were the crowd favorite!

The tour was wrapped up with the teens learning about career opportunities within the hospitality industry and the many facets of the field to explore beyond food service. Career opportunities can encompass the IT field, marketing, or the business side of operations. Several colleagues spoke about what NEXDINE looks for in potential candidates and the importance of working hard and following your passions.


We would like to thank the team at the YMCA of Boston for the opportunity to share our love for hospitality and the culinary arts and to engage with these inspiring young people in the community.

The Boston YMCA Youth Government, Leaders Club, and Achievers Program are character and leadership development programs that serve teens in the Boston area. These programs are designed to provide young people with knowledge, career development opportunities, and expose them to real-life on-the-job experiences. Through these programs, the teens become strong leaders in their communities, foster a spirit of service to others, and help shape a healthy lifestyle in Body, Mind and Spirit. Learn more about the YMCA teen programs here.

The NEXDINE Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization started in 2010 to give back to the local community through mentoring opportunities for youth, educational scholarships for colleagues and their families, and financial contributions to other like-minded organizations in the Boston area.