WINNER: VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY
ENTRY: CHEF JAMES BISTRO
THE BIG IDEA: The Chef James Bistro replaced a previous station that served a niche audience in a space that needed to attract a much broader clientele. To effect this conversion, Vanderbilt Dining committed a $1.2 million investment that completely changed a fast-food style burger and chicken concept into a fresh, healthy, multi-platform cooking bistro that is food-centered, chef crafted and delivers an expanded, trendier menu straight from the oven to the customer.
Now the menu offers a rotating selection of meat-based and vegetarian entrees, specialty salads, sandwiches/wraps, soups, sides and baked goods. Entrée selections include Southern fried chicken, beef satay with peanut sauce and rattlesnake pasta, while the vegetarians enjoy dishes such as Curried lentil stew, saffron paella and vegetarian jambalaya. The salad choices travel the globe, from Barcelona (spinach, asparagus, radicchio, candied pecans, balsamic vinaigrette and crumbled goat cheese) to Shanghi (romaine, savoy cabbage, bean sprouts, red peppers, slivered almonds, ginger-sesame dressing and chow mein).
Located in the student center in the hear of the campus, it targets students, potential students, faculty, staff, visitors and even medical center employees, delivering much better revenue per square foot than the previous iteration. The revenue increase in the first year was $100,000 and customer response overwhelmingly positive.
Patrick Gilbert and Ashley Buckholtz of Gresham, Smith and Partners