Moneymaking Meals: Campus Dining Strategies that Boost Revenue

Lynn Russo Whylly's picture

In the summer of 2012, the University of Pennsylvania completed a sweeping renovation of one of its largest dining facilities—a three-story space that now includes a traditional dining hall, retail operations, and specialty dining concepts like a pizza oven and global cuisine.

A Starbucks in the building was remodeled to include a study area and conference room. It’s now open from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m., when previously it opened later and closed at 9:30 p.m. most days. The changes paid off. In the first semester after it reopened, the coffee shop experienced a 3 percent revenue increase, says Doug Berger, the university’s executive director for business services. Replacing a small convenience store with a gourmet market, meanwhile, resulted in a 48 percent increase in sales and a 24 percent increase in the average check compared to the previous year, he shares.