Bistro seeks increased customer base

Devil’s Bistro, which opened this Spring, is looking to establish itself not only as an eatery but as a social destination on Central Campus.
Devil’s Bistro, which opened this Spring, is looking to establish itself not only as an eatery but as a social destination on Central Campus.

Despite meeting its early goals, Devil’s Bistro is hoping to increase its revenue and attract more customers.

The new Central Campus vendor, operated by Bon Appétit Management Company, opened in April and offers students a wide variety of meal options. After its first full semester of operation, however, the Bistro is looking to attract a larger customer base.

“Our primary target customers were Central Campus residents, and so far the feedback has been great,” said Director of Dining Services Jim Wulforst. “We projected around 200 customers per day and that’s how it’s doing right now.”

He noted, however, that Dining had conservative estimates of revenue and customers for the eatery when it opened.

Even though West Campus residents account for half of the Devil’s Bistro’s customers, the Bistro still aims to attract more students who do not live on Central, Wulforst said. Central residents comprise 35 percent of the eatery’s customers and East Campus students make up the rest, Wulforst said.

Brian Fried, a sophomore and Central resident, said many students on West still do not know that the Bistro exists, and even if they do, they are not eager to make the commute. In addition, Central residents leave to study at the library or meet with friends on West for meals, he added.

Fried said he has always had a good experience at the Bistro, adding that unlike many other eateries on West, it has a restaurant feel where students can actually sit down and have a nice dinner.

“I like the Bistro a lot, it offers delicious food and a great atmosphere where I would go there for a date or with a group of friends,” Fried said.

In attempt to reach out to upperclassmen on West and freshmen on East, the Devil’s Bistro will add more programming for the Spring, Wulforst said, including live music at least twice a month, wine and food tastings and cooking demonstrations. He added that he hopes more students will come to Central even though parking and transportation are not easy.

Senior Tina Siadak, a member of Duke University Student Dining Advisory Committee responsible for the Bistro, said cooking demonstrations would be a great idea, since students with kitchen access would be interested, adding that it would be difficult to guarantee a large audience for live bands and DJs.

Devil’s Bistro has also been working with Duke University Union to schedule student bands at the Bistro, Bon Appétit Marketing Manager Sarah McGowan wrote in an e-mail. The Bistro will host its first karaoke night Dec. 3, which McGowan said she hopes will become a staple event.

Siadak noted the Bistro aims to be recognized as of a social destination, as well as a sit-down restaurant.

“Our ultimate goal is to make [Devil’s Bistro] a Duke community space as opposed to opening to the general public,” Wulforst said. “We want to cater the students of Duke.”


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