3 new concepts shaking up C&U

Published in FSD C&U Spotlight

With margins feeling the pinch of galloping labor costs, colleges and universities are conceptualizing their spaces to maximize on throughput, cut down labor and reduce food waste. Check out the design secrets for maximum profit from these three top universities. 

u of portland pilot house

Pilot House
University of Portland
Portland, Ore.

Pilot House, the University of Portland’s on-campus pub, turned a low-traffic dining area and lounge into a space to recapture off-campus students for the late-night segment. The transformation took a bit of reclaimed wood, a heated patio and a splash of booze. “It feels like every restaurant here in Portland,” says Kirk Mustain, general manager of the Oregon university’s Bon Appetit-run dining services.

When the university took note of the lack of late-night programming for students—some off-campus students walk 15 or 20 blocks for entertainment—it decided to build a multiuse space where students, faculty and the public could gather. UP already held a full liquor license for catering, but serves only beer, wine and cider at Pilot House, which opened last fall. “Beer is a secondary component to our restaurant,” Mustain says. “We created an environment for responsible drinking.”

To conserve space in the 4,800-square-foot pub, Pilot House stocks small-batch kegs known as sixtals and hosts tap takeovers with more than 200 microbreweries. A 280-foot heated patio sectioned off by a garage door adds 120 seats.

By day, the pub morphs into an espresso cafe, but most of that machinery is below the bar, so it’s not a distraction when Pilot House changes into its evening wardrobe. In addition, a retail operation, Mack’s Market, packs ready-to-eat fare such as antibiotic-free rotisserie chicken, pasta bowls and Spam musubi into a 600-square-foot area near the back of the space.

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