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Focus on the Entrepreneur: Ross Treichel

Focus on the Entrepreneur: Ross Treichel

Fall 2011

Out of the Lab and Onto the Grill

Graduate Ross Treichel uses the FVTC experience to open his own restaurant.

Six years ago, Fox Valley Technical College Marketing instructors Teri Stark, Sandy Plank, and Caethe Brockman recognized the need for a business lab on the Oshkosh campus. “Students in other programs have access to hands-on experiences like printing, engine repair shops, interior design studios, and culinary labs,” says Stark. “We felt it was important to give our business students the same kind of hands-on learning.”

As experienced business professionals, Stark, Plank, and Brockman began their project with an extensive research process. “Through that process we determined that the Oshkosh campus really needed some type of convenient food service facility,” explains Stark. “As a result, we launched the Fox XPress.” Fox XPress is a mobile, kiosk-style restaurant that is completely operated by students. “We felt the restaurant would serve as a learning lab that would offer practical, real-world experience to students in marketing, business management, entrepreneurship, accounting, and other related programs.”

Marketing graduate Ross Treichel was one of the first student managers for Fox XPress. “I had worked as a cook and managed restaurants, so I thought I could help out,” Treichel recalls. “The experience just started out as an internship, but I learned a lot about vendor relationships, product selection, and equipment. I learned many little things that can help you later in life.”

Treichel credits FVTC with helping him fulfill a childhood dream of owning the Lakeside Grill in Minocqua, Wisconsin. “I first saw this restaurant when I was a small child vacationing with my family,” he says. “We’d been coming here for years, and I always dreamed about how neat it would be to own this place. So, when we saw it was up for sale last year, I called the realtor and made it happen.”

Treichel is currently working hard to restore Lakeside Grill to the wonderful place he remembers as a child. “I am updating the menu, but it is hard,” he says. “We have such a diverse customer base and everyone has different tastes. We’ve worked at adding things that are better, newer.” Treichel is also planning to redo the kitchen and update the seating area and grounds while the restaurant is closed this winter.

His hard work is paying off. Stark, along with her friends and family members, visited the Lakeside Grill this summer and gave Treichel rave reviews. “The fish was the best I’ve ever had,” laughs Stark. “However, when I asked Ross for his recipe, he said it was a professional secret and refused to give it to me!”

Even as he focuses on success in Minocqua, Treichel maintains a vision for the future. “A longer term goal for me personally is to open another restaurant in Oshkosh,” he says. “This all just goes to show that when you believe in yourself and have the right skills, other people will believe in you too.”

High Fives for High Profits

Fox XPress celebrated its 5th anniversary in 2011, during a special ceremony, which included faculty, students, alumni, and members of the media. Still owned and operated by FVTC students, the kiosk-style restaurant continues to experience success. During the previous five years, Fox Xpress:

  • Generated more than $85,000 in sales
  • Served as a profitable learning experience
  • Reinvested $5,500 in scholarships
  • Helped FVTC develop new relationships with area businesses
  • Helped many graduates land internships and jobs in business-related fields
  • Played a role in helping some students launch their own businesses

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