Tavon Daniels: Dining Room Manager

Never underestimate the power of a familiar, encouraging, friendly face. That’s one of the things most mentioned by Butterfield residents when asked why they value life in the Village – but the very same thing is important to BTV employees, too. One of those especially kind faces belongs to Dining Room Manager Tavon Daniels, recognized by his customary gentle smile and quiet demeanor.

Tavon joined the Butterfield team in August 2013, after his brother had also taken a job in dining services. Over the span of those ten years, he says practically all of his local family members have worked for Butterfield at some point. What keeps him dedicated to his job, though, is that key ingredient of familiarity – what he considers the priceless benefit of coming in each day to support the hundreds of people he has grown to care for and who clearly care about him. “They’re like family,” he said. “In most restaurant and dining services-type jobs, you’re serving different people all the time. Here at Butterfield you get to know everyone on a personal level, you hear about their ups and downs. People don’t just come and go. Everyone cares about each other.” 

Tavon’s first role on campus was as a dining room server, which was also his very first real job. Over the span of about five years, he learned all about front of house foodservice operations while also getting to know all of the BTV residents. When Director of Dining Services Memo Vaca was hired, Tavon was encouraged to apply for a newly-created dining room manager role, promptly leading to a deserved promotion. He appreciates the schedule he is able to work since the dining hours at Butterfield allow him to be home relatively early each night, especially for a service industry role.

To some degree, Tavon credits his enjoyment of and appreciation for the older generation he supports at Butterfield to the very close relationship he had with his two grandmothers. Family is extremely important him, and he comes from a large extended family with lots of cousins in Northwest Arkansas and in Kansas City – where he lived from kindergarten through fourth grade. 

That love of family has taken on even greater meaning in the past year, when Tavon became a first-time father to son, Kyson. In keeping with Tavon’s truly remarkable family connection to BTV, he met his wife of four years, Jessica Bode…you guessed it…at Butterfield! The Fayetteville couple is enjoying parenthood immensely, and Tavon says Kyson is the most easy-going baby you could ever hope to raise. Not shy about sharing pictures of his little boy, Tavon has residents regularly asking to see how Kyson is growing and thriving – dispensing encouragement and valuable been-there-done-that advice like so many proud grandparents.

When asked what is special about working at a place like Butterfield, Tavon says his conversations and interactions with residents are what make his role so rewarding. “I love how people’s faces light up when I remember their preferences. And, my favorite days are when we host big events – it’s fun to see how excited our residents get about the special occasions and all the great food we plan for them.”