Hospitality management student Kirsten Weiss makes campus coffee bar more 'student-friendly'
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- A hospitality management student at OSU-Cascades needed an internship. So when she was asked if she could revamp the coffee bar on campus and make it more appealing to students, she jumped at the opportunity.
Kirsten Weiss, who transferred to OSU-Cascades from a community college in Northern California, said expectations about food on college campuses are much different now than from eight years ago.
"Now, students are more open to certain types of food, so it's been really fun to create things you normally wouldn't see at another college coffee shop," Weiss said.
With a background in restaurant cuisine, including a culinary internship at Walt Disney World in Florida, Weiss said she decided to live closer to family in Oregon and pursue hospitality management.
She told NewsChannel 21 on Sunday she is excited for where this opportunity will take her next.
Renamed "Study Grounds," the coffee bar officially opened to students, faculty, staff and visitors in the fall. Now, just a couple months after its opening, Weiss says daily sales are up about four times from the previous year.
Weiss partnered with eight local vendors to come up with the food and beverage menu. "Study Grounds" is the first place to serve coffee from local favorite Backporch Coffee Roasters, beyond its own stores.
As part of her internship, Weiss spent the past summer analyzing previous sales data, coming up with a new coffee and food menu, and training student staff.
She added background music, comfortable couches and additional seating from other places on campus, and opened the space to student-led organizations, making it a popular weeknight gathering place.
"I know a lot of these students and a lot of their names, what their orders are, things like that," Weiss said. "Knowing their preferences and getting to know your clientele and your demographic is really important, and a lot of people don’t realize that.”
On a typical weekday, Weiss said it can be difficult to find an open spot on the couch.