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Student Restaurant- what would get you through the door?

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Applying to Uni? Let Universities come to you. Click here to get your perfect place 20-10-2014
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    (Original post by heyday)
    Also, what kind of events would draw your custom? Live music perhaps? We were thinking of marketing it as "The Place To Predrink." Somewhere to come and line your stomach on some good food, get a couple of drinks before going clubbing? Maybe run a predrinks package deal- a meal and 3 drinks for 12.99. How does that sound?
    No. No. No. No. NO.

    If you want to open a bar or a pub, go do that, but please don't waste funds throwing alcohol at students in a bid to open a restaurant.

    To be honest, your main rival for that demographic is Nandos. They have perfectly captured the demographic of young, 16-25 year olds and they are literally always busy from lunch at 12pm all the way through to dinner at 10pm. You need very simple offers that'll act as memorable 'hooks'. Something that'll make students remember 'Oh, it's Two-for-Tuesdays let's go to such and such for dinner'. Create a fairly jovial atmosphere, young staff and a decent menu - great.

    You don't even have to be as cheap as people are describing. I know people hear 'student', they think 'cheap budget meals' but seriously, the amount of students with iPhones and Mac Pros ordering from Dominoes and eating at Prezzo, we have more money than you might think. Just make sure you're competitive with local rivals and not extortionate and you'll be fine. Main dishes with a couple sides for £6-10 ought to do the trick.

    Stay away from the idea that you need to provide 'live music and cheap booze' to cater for students. Students will 'pre-drink' at their houses, they're not going to go out for 'pre-drinks' because that defeats the point. What you want is strong, pervasive branding. Not the omnipresent 'leaflet-in-the-door-every-ten-seconds' approach that kebab places go for, but distinct, memorable and young-people friendly. Just stay clear of flogging booze on the back of student stereotypes in a desperate bid to attract business from us. If we want a place to drink, we'll go to a supermarket/off license and pick up a bottle or go to a pub/bar/club. Not a restaurant.

    This is all presuming you have a decent menu with tasty, student friendly food.
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    First of all: good luck! I hope it goes well I would love to do what you are doing.

    There are a couple of places near where I live which are awesome and they are always filled with students. They are popular because:

    -They are near where the students live (so maybe this is more important than being on campus)
    -They cater for hungover people/leisurely weekend brunches - cooked brekkie, comfort food, awesome burgers and sandwiches
    -They are cheap
    -The food is YUMMY!
    -They have something a bit quirky about them - cool interiors, sofas, interesting decoration
    -They have a relaxed vibe. People will spend all day there.

    (Original post by heyday)
    What kind of interior would most appeal to you guys? I'm thinking about having separate dining/bar areas, i like the idea that was posted earlier of a place where you can get a good meal on the cheap and then stay at the bar for a couple after. What would set the atmosphere for you?
    As You Like It in Newcastle sounds similar to the kind of place you are thinking of setting up. It has a cool interior.
    http://www.asyoulikeitjesmond.com/

    The Butterfly Cabinet also in Newcastle has a quirky, retro interior:


    Also, another one of my favourite cafes has board games. I don't know if anyone has mentioned it but I think that is a great idea. Jenga and Scrabble, etc.
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    Also, get a stall at freshers fair or put some kind of voucher in one of the voucher booklets they give out. Doesn't have to be anything amazing, just some kind of offer and people will take advantage because they love to feel they're saving money

    This was posted from The Student Room's Android App on my MB526
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    I'd suggest maybe keeping the menu fairly limited but change it frequently. Lots of variety on the menu sounds great, but unless you go with Spoons style microwaved meals you need to hold a lot of different ingredients which you may not use often and may not keep well. If you have a few core options (steak, burger, pizza etc.) and then a changing menu - maybe weekly - you can bulk buy and prepare for that menu and your chef doesn't have to try and remember the best way to cook a dish you only serve a couple of times a week. It may also bring people back - "I wonder what they're doing this week?"
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    (Original post by meow444)
    As You Like It in Newcastle sounds similar to the kind of place you are thinking of setting up. It has a cool interior.
    http://www.asyoulikeitjesmond.com/

    The Butterfly Cabinet also in Newcastle has a quirky, retro interior:


    Also, another one of my favourite cafes has board games. I don't know if anyone has mentioned it but I think that is a great idea. Jenga and Scrabble, etc.
    Bleugh. It looks horrible. It just reeks of a desperation to be 'hip and cool' by putting any old random tack on the walls and calling it 'urban chic'. It's the kind of thing you would have seen in the 'antique sale' task on this series Apprentice and overall, it's about as convincing as Cher Lloyd is 'gansta'.

    When it comes to branding, I appreciate something much more sincere. It doesn't need to be the Ritz, nor do I need to feel like I've been transported to 1960s Paris, just an exuberant atmosphere complimented by comfortable furniture and pretty looking wall décor. What I don't need is a flipping bass drum taped to the ceiling.
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    I'd love it if you had a salad and pasta bar like in Harvester which you can have for free with every meal! :coma:
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    (Original post by MovieMoments)
    Yep, it has to be cheap and probably have pizza on the menu. There is one near me and they have a scheme where on Tuesdays, they flip a coin and if it lands in your favour, then they foot the bill. - Oooh, and they also deliver a cavery meal and ice cream, not just pizza.
    And how does the restaurant make money if they are losing 50% of their business by paying for it.
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    (Original post by tehforum)
    And how does the restaurant make money if they are losing 50% of their business by paying for it.
    :dontknow: They only run it on a Tuesday (which is presumably their least busy day) and the novelty gets people through the door. Plus, there is the fact that it might by a trick coin or something. But its been around for a while, so its obviously surviving well.
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    (Original post by tehforum)
    And how does the restaurant make money if they are losing 50% of their business by paying for it.
    Whilst I agree with your comment in premise - i.e. it sounds like a monumentally stupid idea, you're missing the point of a 'promotion'. The idea is that the running promotion draws in more business to offset whatever they lose in costs by dishing out a free pizza. Presumably it's not something they run all the time universally, or at the very least, it'll something they'll run for a while before pulling it.
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    (Original post by jumpingjesusholycow)
    Bleugh. It looks horrible. It just reeks of a desperation to be 'hip and cool' by putting any old random tack on the walls and calling it 'urban chic'. It's the kind of thing you would have seen in the 'antique sale' task on this series Apprentice and overall, it's about as convincing as Cher Lloyd is 'gansta'.

    When it comes to branding, I appreciate something much more sincere. It doesn't need to be the Ritz, nor do I need to feel like I've been transported to 1960s Paris, just an exuberant atmosphere complimented by comfortable furniture and pretty looking wall décor. What I don't need is a flipping bass drum taped to the ceiling.
    Why are you being so rude about other people's suggestions. You make yours and I'll make mine. No need to be a snob about it.

    The places I gave as examples are hardly pretentious. Nandos is about 100x more pretentious. It's tacky, over priced, with pretend Portuguese cuisine that is normally so toned down on the spices that it's just roast chicken in a wrap. I'd much rather go somewhere independent with some character any day. Sorry maybe I'm just not part of the Mac Pro clique you described.

    How is this restaurant going to have a USP if they don't do anything different? if everything about them is bland? You clearly don't understand branding.
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    We have those already, they're called cafes/ fast food places.
    Or wetherspoons.

    Starting a restaurant and aiming it downmarket, toward what is essentially a poor demographic? It's nothing new, you're also limiting your low earning demographic by aiming purely at students. I would suggest this isn't about making money, you've just gone "well, we're students, that a market, lets do that" without doing any prior research.

    Most successful student caff round here is open 24 hours, serves horrifically large meals if you've got the dough and is joined to an underground bar and a bakery. Which isn't just students either, locals like it too.

    Avoid cliches like uber modern interior, white with colours splashed about. It seems to be synonymous with "young hip students", it's not an episode of ****ing changing rooms. Go for ragged around the edges and character.
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    just dont end up on ramseys kitchen nightmares
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    (Original post by jumpingjesusholycow)
    No. No. No. No. NO.

    If you want to open a bar or a pub, go do that, but please don't waste funds throwing alcohol at students in a bid to open a restaurant.

    To be honest, your main rival for that demographic is Nandos. They have perfectly captured the demographic of young, 16-25 year olds and they are literally always busy from lunch at 12pm all the way through to dinner at 10pm. You need very simple offers that'll act as memorable 'hooks'. Something that'll make students remember 'Oh, it's Two-for-Tuesdays let's go to such and such for dinner'. Create a fairly jovial atmosphere, young staff and a decent menu - great.

    You don't even have to be as cheap as people are describing. I know people hear 'student', they think 'cheap budget meals' but seriously, the amount of students with iPhones and Mac Pros ordering from Dominoes and eating at Prezzo, we have more money than you might think. Just make sure you're competitive with local rivals and not extortionate and you'll be fine. Main dishes with a couple sides for £6-10 ought to do the trick.

    Stay away from the idea that you need to provide 'live music and cheap booze' to cater for students. Students will 'pre-drink' at their houses, they're not going to go out for 'pre-drinks' because that defeats the point. What you want is strong, pervasive branding. Not the omnipresent 'leaflet-in-the-door-every-ten-seconds' approach that kebab places go for, but distinct, memorable and young-people friendly. Just stay clear of flogging booze on the back of student stereotypes in a desperate bid to attract business from us. If we want a place to drink, we'll go to a supermarket/off license and pick up a bottle or go to a pub/bar/club. Not a restaurant.

    This is all presuming you have a decent menu with tasty, student friendly food.
    what would you recommend for advertising apart from the leaflet-in-the-door approach?
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    (Original post by non)
    what would you recommend for advertising apart from the leaflet-in-the-door approach?
    I know I am not who you directly asked but I will answer anyway. More opinions and that. Word of mouth is a great tool. If you are doing a BYOB system or a big group discount (I don't think you need to do both and you do want to make money in the end), then directly contact lots/all of societies for all nearby unis and colleges. Let them know your offers and why you would be great for their next society meal/social. Not only will this get lots of students in, hopefully they will have a good experience to pass on word of mouth.

    If you do get societies in have some kind of leaflet on a stand in the centre of the table suggesting yourselves as a great place for having a large birthday party.

    Give out a free meal for two to each student newspaper on the condition they write a review.
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    It should serve decent beer as well as decent food. What's the point of having a nice meal if there is nothing better to go with it than Carlsberg? Bleurrgh.

    A real draw is a create-your-own options. Just a set price for the basic package, with any toppings or sauces you want. This works for pizzas, burgers, steaks, fajitas, pasta etc etc etc.

    People actually get excited about trying different combinations and want to come back all the time.

    Oh and be generous with the chips. They cost virtually nothing to make and it nothing pisses people off like receiving about 10 chips with their £8 burger.
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    (Original post by py0alb)
    It should serve decent beer as well as decent food. What's the point of having a nice meal if there is nothing better to go with it than Carlsberg? Bleurrgh.

    A real draw is a create-your-own options. Just a set price for the basic package, with any toppings or sauces you want. This works for pizzas, burgers, steaks, fajitas, pasta etc etc etc.

    People actually get excited about trying different combinations and want to come back all the time.

    Oh and be generous with the chips. They cost virtually nothing to make and it nothing pisses people off like receiving about 10 chips with their £8 burger.
    Nando's FFS.

    It's almost like they think potatoes are being rationed.
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    Cheap, healthy, quick food.
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    One of my favourite places to eat is Interval at the Sheffield Student Union. They have a bar, so you can just go for drinks if you want, and there is a lunch and evening menu. Most of the food is no more expensive than £6.00. It also has access to the beer garden! It's a great place just to chill with friends rather than a party venue.
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    Am I right in saying that OP won't be using every idea right off the bat? :holmes:
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    Main courses for £5 (or less) each and sizeable portions too. Variety too.

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