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Students help Danish Pastry House cater to Tufts customers

Published: Monday, November 26, 2012

Updated: Monday, November 26, 2012 07:11


Courtney Chiu for the Tufts Daily

The Danish Pastry House has plans to expand both its retail space and social media presence.


Six students of entrepreneurial leadership (ELS) are currently helping the Danish Pastry House (DPH) expand its presence in the Tufts community. 

Teams of students from the class Entrepreneurial Marketing, offered through the Gordon Institute, have each been instructed by lecturer John Derby to help develop the marketing strategy of local small businesses. 

DPH, a bakery and cafe that offers menu items like pastries, sandwiches and coffee, as well as catering services, was chosen by Derby as one of the businesses for the project.

Kathleen Flahive (LA ‘04), co-owner of DPH, agreed to participate in the class project at a time when her business has plans to expand its store, currently located at 330 Boston Ave. 

Flahive has leased the retail space next door to DPH, but said she is holding off on executing the expansion until she can determine how best to utilize the added space. 

“There [are] so many great ideas going around that we’ve decided we want to take some more time and focus on that before we actually decide what we’re going to be doing with it,” Flahive said.

The team of Tufts students is helping Flahive gather feedback about her store and gain a sense of what current DPH patrons want to see in the future and what possible changes might attract new customers.

“We’re constantly changing and adding new products, and we really want students’ feedback and involvement to make us the best damn coffee shop in Boston,” Flahive said. “We’re a small business, locally owned and operated, and we really do care about that feedback from our customers.”

Senior Valerie Dorer, a member of the ELS team working with DPH, explained that Derby divided the marketing class into teams, each of which was assigned to work with a different business. 

“Then they work with whoever the top-level person is at that company, who tells them what they need in terms of marketing from the students,” she said.

  Junior Diana Plethean, another member of the team working with DPH, said that the group designed and sent out a customer feedback survey aimed at answering Flahive’s questions about the typical DPH customer, including why they like the store and what they usually order. 

“We’re just trying to think about, as we grow and expand the cafe concept, what are our customers loving about us, and if there are any issues, what do they see them as,” Flahive said.

The survey, which was sent out on Facebook, tweeted through the DPH account, advertised in the store and posted on various online pages including TuftsLife, has collected about 450 responses over the past couple of weeks, according to Dorer.

Flahive added that one of the most important aspects of the campaign is enhancing DPH’s use of social media to increase awareness of the eatery.

“I think that through having a more active social media campaign, exposure will be really exciting,” she said.

Phethean noted that social media is a huge opportunity for Flahive to reach potential new customers. For example, the team has coordinated an Instagram challenge in which participants can submit photos from the store for a chance to win a DPH gift card, Dorer said.

“The major recommendations we’re making are based around her social media efforts,” Dorer said. “So she has a Twitter and a Facebook, but she doesn’t use them very often or very well, so we want to help her engage with the Tufts community a little bit better because really only the uphill Tufts community knows or visits Danish.”

The team’s marketing strategy has largely focused on the fact that most individuals in the area engaged in social media are 18- to 25-year-olds or Tufts students, Dorer said. 

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