NY, UNITED STATES
Story by Sgt. Paul Williams III
1st Marine Corps District
Garden City, New York – – The Marine Corps Community Service’s Food and Hospitality Excellence Awards probably aren’t the first thing to come to mind when the thinking of the Marine Corps, but for Gunnery Sergeant Jose Bugarin, those awards represent a personal commitment to excellence and a legacy of achievements.
1st Marine Corps District’s Tun Tavern was created in 1941 and, historically, it hasn’t always been the award winning establishment it is today. Fast forward 77 years, and Tun Tavern had won zero awards, ranked last in the entire Marine Corps, and was on the verge of being shut down indefinitely.
“When I took over almost a year ago, we were pretty much the worst Food & Hospitality installation in the Marine Corps,” said Bugarin. “The plan was just to come in on day one and pretty much just shut down because it wasn’t making any money.”
Despite almost eight decades of poor rankings, Tun Tavern and the crew guided by Bugarin punched their way into an unforeseeable comeback placing 12th out of roughly 200 other competitors aboard 14 Marine Corps installations and earning Tun Tavern’s first Marine Corps Community Service’s Food and Hospitality Excellence Award. There are several categories for placing as well as other subcategories. The main four are customer service, financial performance, human resources, and operations.
“Not only were we able to make profit, but we’re the 12th most profitable establishment at Food & Hospitality in the Marine Corps,” said GySgt Bugarin.
Upon arrival to 1MCD, Bugarin took his new position running Tun Tavern personally.
“For a small place like this one you have to treat it like it’s your own personal business, the profit and loss statements are like your bible,” said Bugarin.
To 1st Marine Corps District, Tun Tavern’s success means more than just a profitable business. Oftentimes the establishment is a focal point for various events, oftentimes relating to the local community breaking bread with Marines.
“It is a hub of our outreach to the community that we are part of and lets us build relationships with first responders, local government, veterans, educators, and more,” said Col. Ivan Monclova, commanding officer, 1st Marine Corps District. “This enhances our recruiting mission by bridging the civilian-military gap that has grown so wide in recent years with the consolidation of military units onto large bases and out of the smaller installations that once dotted our country.”
Bugarin’s ability to turn the tavern around comes as no surprise. He has a solid history of excellence in his field, having already won five awards for Food & Hospitality in the past. While his track record proves he holds himself above the standard, he credits his team’s hard work and dedication for the successful turnaround of Tun Tavern.
“We have been fortunate to have GySgt Bugarin and his team of motivated employees that have transformed Tun Tavern into a resounding success; and the profits have followed which is important to stay viable and have the resources to reinvest to make it better in the future,” said Monclova.
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