Business students’ market research guides rebranded restaurant

Roger Coda
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They didn’t wait tables or prepare its signature flatbreads in the kitchen, but School of Business students gave valuable assistance in development of the new Buddy Brewster’s Ale House in Fredonia.

For their senior capstone, five students – all members of the Classes of ’19 or ’20 – in BUAD 499: Strategic Management gathered marketing research to guide the transition of the former Wing City Grille and the new vision of owner Andrew Carlson.

“They surveyed over 100 people and identified the strengths of Wing City to which to build upon for the next project as well as market tested several of the potential new names/brand. The brand was tested to have a family and fun feeling,” said School of Business Associate Professor Susan McNamara.

Scott Boehnke, Alexis Terruli, Kathryn Rowan, Andrew Masiello and Jakob Hudson compiled a PESTEL (Political, Economic, Socio-Cultural, Technological, Environmental and Legal) analysis that outlined factors for Mr. Carlson to consider.

The restaurant, which has a new look and streamlined menu, is named after a former dog of Carlson, who also operates The Chop House on Main in Jamestown.

Mr. Boehnke, who earned an M.S. in Accounting at the University at Buffalo, said there are many things to consider when opening or rebranding a restaurant. “It is not an easy business to be successful in and it is really important to get an understanding of what your target market wants in a restaurant so they will try it and keep coming back,” explained Boehnke, an associate of Dopkins & Company, a large regional accounting firm in Williamsville.

“It’s a win-win,” Dr. McNamara says of this and other community outreach projects – usually around 10 every semester – that students undertake to assist local businesses, non-profits, manufacturers, retailers and startups.

Students gain experience applying what they’ve learned at Fredonia and putting it into action in the real world; their clients gain valuable knowledge, insight and perspectives to take their business or organization to the next level, McNamara said.

“The Carlsons gained the creativity and research ability provided by the students at no cost,” McNamara said. “The students were able to apply concepts that have been learned in a classroom to a real client. The experience for the students offered a great learning lab as well as helped build their resumes with applied experience.”

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