Refinement and Expansion: Integrating Campus Enterprises Into Durham

I negotiated contracts that generated over 1MM in sales for local businesses. This is my story:

Though I was a Duke sophomore at the time, I joined Campus Enterprises as relative outsider to how my university and the businesses around it actually worked. Nevertheless, my peers in Campus Enterprises entrusted Colin Power and I to become the veritable liaisons between Duke dining, Durham restaurants, and my 6,000 hungry peers as the Directors of Restaurant Delivery — which was our company’s largest source of profit. In just a four weeks, however, Colin and I learned how to pitch partnerships, negotiate contracts, and manage a delivery service that now produces over $1 million in food sales.

“Refine and expand” was our mantra in growing both the delivery division and our personal business acumen. When Duke construction forcibly closed a number of campus eateries, we saw an opportunity to connect Duke students to local restaurants via delivery. We began a search for a new restaurant partner through market research.

Colin and Kevin, on the job.

What type of food do Duke students want most? Which restaurant do they want it from? To answer these questions, we gathered data from customer service surveys, social media, and in-person conversations. The feedback was unanimous. Even Yik Yak seemed to assert Sushi Love was in hot demand.

Immediately, we developed a pitch and prepared a tentative contract for the Sushi Love management. Faced with my first legitimate business negotiations, I was absolutely exhilarated. Our presentation was nuanced and effective, demonstrating exactly how Campus Enterprises could provide a hands-free source of additional revenue.

Next, we focused out efforts on adding Sushi Love to the MOP program. Through a data-driven presentation and a sampling of the restaurants food, we established a nexus between Durham business owners, college students, and the Duke administration. In the middle of October, Sushi Love was finally approved as the next MOP vendor. Colin and I were contacted for interviews from multiple campus news sources, and we realized our business operation had a tangible impact upon the local community.

Finally, we prepared to launch delivery. To improve efficiency, we broke away from the mold and we decided to offer online ordering. This single decision would ultimately transform the Restaurants Division. On top of generating more orders to Sushi Love, it increased the user base of our online platform. In just a month of having joined Campus Enterprises, Colin and I planted the seeds to remove the revenue cap of the 20-year-old division.

Nevertheless, every success story includes a moment of failure. In all honesty, the launch of Sushi Love did not go smoothly. Although orders were through the roof, we had widely under-estimated how many drivers we needed. Even worse, our auto-print function for the orders didn’t work. This meant that for the first few days until we could figure out a solution, Colin or I physically hit the print button on every single one of the hundreds of orders that came into Sushi Love while the other became a stand-in driven. Although it felt like a nightmare, it turned out to be a tremendous learning opportunity. We gained leadership skills in discovering how to motivate a disheartened delivery team. We acquired management skills by building a strong relationship with the Sushi Love through hard work and sacrifice.

With the support of the Campus Enterprises team, Colin and I are proud to have made Sushi Love the most profitable delivery option on campus. By the end of the year we successfully enhanced a business model that stood for two decades, would grow our delivery team from 6 to 35 drivers, increase profit 250%, revenue 220%, and food sales 150% to deliver more than $1mm in gross food sales.

Campus Enterprises is the student-run company that has powered Duke University’s on-demand economy for the past 21 years. Kevin Hatch is the former Director of Restaurants and currently serves on the Executive Board as the COO of Campus Enterprises. In June, Kevin will join Moelis and Company’s Investment Banking team for the summer. He will be intimately involved in CE until he graduates in May 2017.