WSU marketing students help to improve services at Ford Field


Few things go better with football than food, so it should come as no surprise that Levy Restaurants takes their job of running the food franchises at Ford Field – home of the National Football League’s Detroit Lions – very seriously. And they’ve drafted students from the Wayne State University School of Business Administration’s American Marketing Association chapter to help them.

In their ongoing efforts to improve customer service, Levy reached out last fall to Farah Harb, assistant director of the business school’s Office of Career Planning and Placement, to find students to help Levy collect and analyze data related to the customer experience at Ford Field. The initial focus was on analyzing customer wait times and overall customer satisfaction. The AMA students and Levy collected data from more than 1,000 customers over the course of the 2013 season.

The students – Jessica Baird, Emily Larson and Terrell Smith – then analyzed the data to provide Levy with insights and trends that may help improve the customer experience next season.

On April 15, the students returned to Ford Field to make their formal presentation to Levy. The strong work of the students throughout the process has convinced Levy to expand the scope of this project, as well as to consider other similar projects with WSU business students, for the 2014 season.

Abhijit (Abi) Guha, an assistant professor of marketing and faculty advisor to the AMA, credits Harb with establishing the relationship with Levy and the students for taking full advantage of the opportunity that was presented to them. In the end, he says, all parties benefit.

"In addition to providing Levy Restaurants with a valuable service, this was a great way for Wayne State to connect to and engage with the local business community," he said. "The students were extremely excited about the project, given that the Lions are such an integral component of the Detroit community."

Guha believes the experience will have lasting benefits for the students.

"The project gave them the opportunity to apply elements of what they learn in their marketing and statistics classes to a real-life problem," he said. "It will also help the students when they go to interview for jobs. They can know speak of their own experiences planning data collection, actually collecting the data, analyzing it using SPSS, and then making actionable recommendations to the managers at Levy."

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