The Student-Run Café, opened by the Students’ Society of McGill University in early January 2014, was built on the concept of student-centred design.  The café was to be (and eventually became) a food service built around the needs of students and an iterative design model fueled by constant student engagement and feedback.


Design and perform customer studies to determine appropriate feedback and engagement systems for all aspects of the café, including mission and vision, menu creation and iteration, and space layout and design.


As the start-up and operations manager of the Student-Run Café, I designed several activities aimed at collecting feedback and building engagement in the customer base of the café.  The activities included “your day in the life with food”, “In my dream café…”, dreamstorming, personal statements, targeted surveys, anonymous feedback tools, and question-response sketchnoting.  I used the results of the activities to guide initial design of the space and front-facing service elements, to facilitate training, to design HR plans and policies, to influence pricing, sourcing, and sustainability practices, and to build plans for future iterations of the café, both in its current form and what it should look like after the planned large-scale improvements.  I hosted the activities in several different formats, including public display boards, online surveys, special events, and open forum-style sessions to garner interest from a diverse population of students.