Research Outline

Opening a University/College Campus Cafe


To obtain information regarding how to open an independent cafe (i.e. a cafe that is not owned by the institution) in a US college or university campus. Among others, information provided should include the contact person in charge of cafes, rental costs, and examples of campus cafes. This research would be used to open a cafe on a college campus in the United States.

Early Findings

Contact Person

  • To open a restaurant within a US college or university campus, the school's administrators must be contacted. In some cases, these administrators will draft a request for proposal so that interested restaurants or businesses can get contact them.
  • Some institutions usually assign such duties specifically to their dining services department, where the director in charge of that department handles applications to open a restaurant.
  • Administrators must also be contacted for other on-campus stores such as food pantries.

Rental Costs

  • Typically, universities and colleges do not just rent out spaces for restaurants. They prefer to partner with restaurant entrepreneurs, fast food chains, or fast-casual chains. Rental costs may be factored into the contract terms.
  • In the case of an established fast food/fast-casual chain, it is the university that actually pays some fees to the company. Examples of fees paid by universities to fast food chains include franchise fees, royalties, and advertising or marketing fees.
  • For a much smaller restaurant, such a deal would have to be discussed while negotiating the contract terms. There are cases where the university prefers to make use of a revenue-share clause.

Examples Campus Cafes