Practical learning with the SU

The School of Sport and Service Management and Students’ Union collaborated to provide a practical learning experience for students.

Second year students studying International Hospitality Management BA(Hons) and Senior Lecturer Angela Maguire, welcomed Justin Brentnall (Commercial Manager) and Richard Burgess-Gamble (Finance Manager and Lecturer) from the Students’ Union to discuss how resource and revenue management theory is put into practice across Students’ Union bars and cafes. The Students’ Union operates five shops, two cafes and a bar across the University’s campuses.

Richard is a qualified accountant and has managed the finances of catering operations ranging from sports bars and cafes, to both private boarding school and state school meals. Justin was responsible for setting up the café, bar and restaurant at Trading Boundaries before moving to the Students’ Union.

Students discussed the purpose of the Students’ Union outlets and the environment in which they operate.  They considered the different types of cost relating to the service provision and appropriate pricing policies for the goods and services sold.

Students also discussed the often conflicting challenges of keeping prices affordable, while paying student staff decent wages, and purchasing goods from ethical suppliers.  They discussed whether it was important for the outlets to contribute a surplus to support other Students’ Union activities, or whether other Students’ Union income streams should subsidise a financial loss at the outlets to ensure prices are as low as possible.

Students were given the opportunity to price and cost various products at the Starting Gate bar in Eastbourne, with the group who were closest to reality winning a free lunch.

The discussion was broadened to include other types of catering business and how different visions, values, and strategies in different operating environments can have a significant impact on pricing and procurement strategies.

Richard and Justin left the students with some very practical tips relating to how resource and revenue management can help create a successful catering business.

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