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Café soon to be named
University taps students' marketing skills

The names are in. As the last of the carpeting gets installed at the new upscale restaurant being built on campus, students have issued their recommendations for naming the facility.

The Candlelight Café? Too romantic. The Greenleaf? Too vegetarian.

Students in the School of Business Administration's Consumer Behavior class spent the semester creating names for the new café and testing them in the marketplace, namely with numerous deans, directors, department heads, faculty, staff and students. The selections are: The Nutmeg Grille, University Bistro, The Colloquium and the Greenhouse Café.

The new facility is set to open next semester in direct response to the need for such a dining room to bring the University community together. Its development is an integral part of the strategic plan and the campus master plan, and responds to calls from faculty and staff for more places where they, students, visitors, and other guests can come together to share University life.

The café, which will offer lunch weekdays and will be available at other times to cater events, is being furnished by a $100,000 gift from the American Association of University Professors. The 100-person capacity dining room will be located in the Student Union in the heart of campus. Extensive renovations, funded by the University, are presently underway in Student Union rooms 278 and 282.

The students worked in four groups with Susan Spiggle, associate professor and department head of marketing. They brainstormed the characteristics the restaurant might have and created two position statements, outlining how to position a brand name in the consumer's mind. For each statement, they selected three names to test.

The students conducted the interviews with the campus community, asking people to say what the names suggested to them and whether they liked them. They also had to fill in forms that asked them to associate the name with adjectives such as warm or cool, and folksy or sophisticated.

"Both of these aspects gave us an idea of how people would picture the restaurant if it had one of our names, and whether it matched any of our own ideas," said Brian Sherwood, a 7th-semester marketing major. "Based on the research we then chose names."

Sherwood's group chose a name that they felt positioned the facility as one that would be casual, yet elegant. They recommended The Greenhouse Café because their research indicated the name portrayed a warm, bright, accessible place that had contemporary style. Their second choice was The Pearl Lounge.

The Nutmeg Grille was favored by the second group, whose matching position statement highlighted a New England feeling, while warm and friendly at the same time. The community interviews said the name suggested good tasting, healthy food at reasonable prices as well as a carefree, comfortable atmosphere to have discussions.

The next group took a different route in their research, focusing on the fact that the café will be open to all members of the community. They selected University Bistro because their data reflected the emphasis on an upscale, sophisticated dining experience that focused on quality of service, food and was inclusive to the community as a whole. Their second choice was the Seasoned Palate.

The last group selected The Colloquium, which means a gathering for discussion. Their other suggestions were The Grand Sphere or Chuck and Augie's Place, which commemorates the Storrs brothers who founded the University.

The students said the projects were hard work, but worth the effort.

"It was very challenging, especially getting the surveys completed on what associations people have with certain words and how the names would fit the position statements," said Beate Helsel, an 8th-semester marketing major.

Sarah Hoskin, a senior marketing major, said coming up with names was the easiest part of the project. "I learned a lot about the difficulties of research and coming up with data and analysis in a short time," she said.

But most students were excited about the project because of the end result.

"It's rewarding because it's actually something that's going to be used," said Brian Monschein, a senior marketing major.

The committee that has overseen the development of the café will deliberate on the student recommendations and will forward a shorter list to SUBOG for its vote. A final recommendation will be sent to Chancellor Mark Emmert for his approval.

Spiggle said she was extremely impressed with her students. "We've got some very great possible choices," she said. "I think they did a good job in researching and in being creative. It is likely that we will find a name in there that will fit the bill."

Renu Sehgal-Aldrich