Arts, Culture and Education: A Hospitality Strategy for Organic Growth and New Business Growth

Commercial businesses, cultural hubs and educational spaces are starting to look beyond their core service to see how they can enhance the experience provided to their staff, clients, student and greater community. We are seeing an increase interest in how various forms of hospitality and food and beverage can provide an integral support service, and in some case transform how a business is positioned within the market. We are also seeing an increase interest from commercial caterers to push the boundaries with how food and beverage is interpreted and delivered within arts, culture and education (ACE) spaces.

Just as for any business, business growth in the ACE category needs to be looked at both in terms of how organic growth can be gained as well as new business growth. This is where a well-planned hospitality strategy can achieve both. Let us talk you through how. 


Organic Growth

Organic growth is when a business expands through internal growth which ultimately leads to new clients, customers or users. Organic growth can occur through strengthening existing relationships, leverage off existing relationships to cross all sell products and services  (i.e. catering, facility management, cleaning etc.), contract retention and contract extension, reputation building and referrals - anything that comes from what the business already has its hands on. As talked about in our previous blog post, a hospitality strategy supports the ethos of a business effectively when it’s perfectly aligned as well as provides a positive ‘user experience’ for the people interacting with institutions and spaces. A well-planned strategy also places a business as an aware, modern and progressive leader in the category. When on-lookers see these things, it gives them more reason to engage with these businesses. This builds the customer base using these spaces and provides an interactive experience that people and businesses gain from. It’s a win win approach! Food is such a major part of our lives because it expresses personal enjoyment, social experience, health and well-being. It’s something every person can relate to and see value in. Therefore, whether its incorporating hospitality, extending the terms of your contract to include exclusivity over events catering or expanding your current food and beverage offering by developing a new student precinct or dining lane, organic growth is essential to remain relevant market leaders.

Dropbox HQ's cafeteria offering 6 food destinations to hold staff meetings, provide break out space and offer hospitality to clients and users who visit (via Dezeen) 

Dropbox HQ's cafeteria offering 6 food destinations to hold staff meetings, provide break out space and offer hospitality to clients and users who visit (via Dezeen) 

New Business Growth

In hospitality terms, new business growth is all about new opportunities and growing revenues and market positioning. For example, for commercial catering it is winning new contracts, expanding the business’ capability to include new services or entering a new state or country. New business growth is essential to retain market relevance and remain ahead of your competitors. Universities are now exploring ways to align key informal and formal learning facilities with food and beverage and exploring the benefits of adjacencies. This may include activating building facades facing on to the public realm, or extending the hospitality portfolio to include a mix of high street operators under leasing agreements, commercial caterers who independently run the catering a number of the concepts on campus or student led initiatives.

Whether we view this through the eyes of the landlord, client, institution or the potential F&B partner, a high level of creativity, commercial savvy, innovation and clear focus is required. We need to establish the vision and desired outcome; happy customers, a food and beverage strategy to support theatre goers, students or the corporate arena, the best campus food in Australia. The hospitality strategy is the key, one that generates demand and delivers a desirable food and beverage destination, offering diversity that meets all user group’s needs. Placing a McDonald’s within an arts precinct is not aligned whereas placing a local, small-scale café that represents the city it’s from and its culture seems much more appropriate.  

The Night Market by RMIT will launch in 2017 as part of the New Academic Street Project to provide users with a unique urban experience

The Night Market by RMIT will launch in 2017 as part of the New Academic Street Project to provide users with a unique urban experience


These two types of growth are essential for any business. Business strategists are always looking for ways to achieve both and until recently, hospitality and food and beverage may not have been seen as strategic business support services. As we have briefly explained, a hospitality strategy can work from both angles in ensuring sustainability, business growth and continual development for your arts, cultural and educational business to deliver memorable experiences.