‘Restaurant Wars’ engages students, hopes to raise profits for local restaurants

Mar. 7, 2016

Hannah Harvey
hharvey@uccs.edu

UCCS offers a variety of real-world applications for students within their majors, but Principles of Marketing does more than just assign group projects.

Students in Marketing 3000 compete in a marketing competition during the semester called the “Restaurant Wars.”

The project aims to engage marketing students and reach out to local businesses on the west side of Colorado Springs. Students create a promotional campaign for the business they are assigned.

The promotional strategy is up to the students, organized in teams of 19, to decide.

This semester’s competition will take place at Mother Muff’s Kitchen and Spirits and Front Range Barbeque, located in Old Colorado City. Two teams in each of the two MKTG 3000 classes will compete against each other to raise profits for the restaurants.

Marketing lecturer Anthony Santella started the competition last semester and said he has already witnessed significant success of his students.

“We have never had a team increase profit by less than thirty percent,” said Santella.

“Students who do well become leadership consultants and become a part of a consultant club where advanced business projects are assigned.”

Past students who have participated in the competition are working on marketing a multi-million-dollar spa startup. Some students who participated in the project have also received paid internships around the world.

“Would you rather have someone who has created results, or memorized a list of terms?” said Santella.

The project incorporates problem-based learning, which involves putting the students in the context of what they’re learning to figure out a solution.

Students participating in the project this semester are in the planning stages, so there have not been many concrete decisions made in terms of what the exact strategy will be yet.

Sophomore business major Tamara Marshall is one of the project leaders for the class. Her team has been assigned to Mother Muff’s Kitchen and Spirits and is planning on using the restaurant’s strengths to attract more customers.

“A lot of it is community outreach. A lot of the stores and restaurants there are close together, so it makes sense that they would promote each other,” said Marshall.

Junior undeclared major Nick Timberlake has found value in the experience, although it can be stressful. Time management and working under pressure are valuable skills that students can take away from the competition, according to Timberlake.

“If someone is not focused, then the class is not for them. The project does teach students about having things in on time and finding leadership,” said Timberlake.

Timberlake’s team will be working with Front Range Barbeque.

The skills that students learn can be applied to other mediums too, with one of the most important takeaways being leadership and teamwork.

“The team has really banded together; if we don’t depend on each other, then everything will fall through,” said Timberlake.