3 crucial ways to grow a university restaurant in 2020

3 crucial ways to grow a university restaurant in 2020


The modern campus isn’t a reflection of what these communities used to look like a decade or two ago. The social aspect of going to university is a big part of what attracts students to campuses all across Australia, and the bustling atmosphere of a good cafe, bar or restaurant on site only further emphasises this. Millennials form a big part of this, and they come with their own unique behaviours and demands. As a hospitality business that’s established in surroundings where they’re the dominating demographic, you need to know how to hit their interests hard.

For example, Australia’s largest campus is Monash University in Victoria, playing host to over 60,000 students. RMIT comes in at a close second place, with 57,000 calling the site home. That’s a whopping number of people to reel into your venue. So how exactly can you make sure you’re doing everything you can to garner their attention?

It all starts with social media

You’ve probably heard it time and time again, but Millenials – and even mature-aged students – are likely to be tapping away on their phones day in, day out on social media. Making use of this behaviour is where your success will kick-off. Avoiding it or turning a blind eye will only cause you to lag behind potential competitors on campus who are already fuelling their digital presence.

Social media strategy is a big driving factor for hospitality businesses of all shapes and sizes. We recommend using any spare time you have to wander around on Instagram profiles to see how other venues like yours are taking advantage of this platform. From bright and vibrant shots of menu items, through to promoting onsite events, it’s an all-rounder for getting the good visual word out.

Tip: Ask your customers to post a photo on their Instagram and tag your business in it, with an incentive of a discount or offer to do so. This will encourage students to share their experience around their own social circles, empowering word-of-mouth.

RELATED: On the grapevine: why word-of-mouth advertising should be your top marketing priority.


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Remember the world is mobile

We’re influenced by the ability to be on-the-go – to consume content where and when we want; to study at times that suit us best and in environments that inspire us. And that sometimes means not being chained to a desk and surrounded by four white walls. Modern times call for modern, flexible options, and for students that are driven by technology and inspired by social factors, providing an appropriate venue is the next step in line.

University students are always on the move, and it’s your responsibility to incorporate this behaviour into your offering to them. Use creative tactics like onsite smartphone charges or power outlets, or easy food options that they can quickly pick up as they head off to their next class. Be as agile as they need to be, and you’ll rapidly reap the rewards. Above all, remember that millennials place technology integration above all else as a priority.


Appeal to student groups

Marketing yourself online is all well and good, but you’ll also need to make sure you’re doing everything in your power to get in the minds of the student body. As we’ve preached before, word-of-mouth marketing is still one of the most influential forms of expanding brand exposure, so utilise student communities to your advantage. Offer partnerships or create valuable relationships that can help your venue break through the competition and establish spheres of influence.

Looking to kick your campus cafe, restaurant or bar into a higher gear? Learn how Impos can power up your success and offer students even more value with a POS system.

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