Foodservice Brands Securing Loyalty on College Campuses

25 Nov

Millennial and Gen Z customers are targeted demographics in the foodservice industry. They are all anyone in the foodservice can talk about and who can blame them. Brands want customers who will continue to buy from them, not once or twice, but for as long as the customer lives.

Although there is no exact start and end age for Millennials, most can agree that it’s somewhere between the ages of 20 and 35. One thing that experts can agree on is the fact that this demographic is, and will continue to direct food trends for quick-service brands, which means, new product development and new promotional strategies.

Some fast-food operators sit back and let Millennial and Gen Z customers find their product through marketing. Meanwhile, others see it as an opportunity and are being more aggressive, establishing locations in the center of college campuses to secure brand affinity amongst students.

For the companies that take the initiative to position themselves in college and universities, it gives them the advantage of increasing their brand awareness in front of thousands of individuals who are looking to experience new things.

For example, Moe’s Southwest Grill has 17 operating college-campus locations in the US. Positioning their restaurants on these campuses allows their brand to be exposed by thousands of potential customers between the ages of 18-21. As these customers go back home or move to other areas, hopefully that following will continue.

The connection is not only strategic but also emotional. Customers associate brands with personal experiences and that’s what college is about. Having a place on campus and becoming a notable part of your customer’s life builds a strong connection with them.

“I know with my college experience, there were a couple food and beverage places that are near and dear to my heart because of my experience in college,” says Charles Watson, vice president of franchise development for Tropical Smoothie Café, which has six college locations. “The ability to get a lot of brand affinity by being on the campus and being in that special part of someone’s life.”

In real-estate, there is a coined phrase: “location, location, location.” CHD Expert can deliver the most up-to-date location information to help restaurants determined the right college or university. With the most accurate foodservice data on over 5,000 colleges and universities in the US, CHD Expert can provide details and counts around schools in a specific area, enrollment size, ownership type (public/private), and contact details.

Whether you’re a business that wants data on all private colleges with less than 10,000 students in a 25-mile radius or a public universities with over 20,000 students in a 50-mile radius, CHD Expert can provide you with that data. CHD Expert can even break down the campus area to provide you with information as to where competitors are located and the type of cuisine offered.

If a quick-service restaurant, whether branded or proprietary, is trying to expand into the College & University market, CHD Expert can help you make more intelligent business decisions. If you would like more information on how to access CHD Expert’s databases, please contact Catherine Kearns via email at or call (312) 768-6916.


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