Press Release: Samford students take home the grand prize in the Taziki's Mediterranean Cafe Collegiate Marketing Challenge


Birmingham, Ala. – Samford University Brock School of Business and Journalism and Mass Communication students were selected the winners of the Taziki’s Collegiate Marketing Challenge on Friday, Dec. 14.  The Samford team was headed by Caitlin  Lindner (senior Marketing & Entrepreneurship major) and included Henry Heaton (senior JMC major, Marketing minor), Reed Richardson (senior JMC major, Latin American studies minor) and Jenna Young (senior Marketing major) under the faculty direction of Dr. Betsy Holloway of the Brock School of Business.  They competed against 24 college teams from five states to make it to the top three finalists, and then last Friday, they went up against the teams from West Virginia University and the College of Charleston to win the $5,000 grand prize.
“Our students participated in this competition above and beyond their regular course load,” said Howard Finch, dean of the Brock School of Business.   “This is one of many opportunities we provide for them to apply what they learn in the classroom in a real world setting.”
As part of the project, the student teams were challenged to propose a new market for a Taziki’s Mediterranean Café and to develop a business and marketing plan around their idea. The Samford team chose to focus on the New Orleans, La., area, particularly the Uptown region, because the demographics there closely align with Taziki’s top-grossing market, Mt. Brook, Ala.    Their plan for the New Orleans market was designed and based on research at the current Alabama stores and research the team conducted on site in New Orleans.
“This challenge was an amazing experience. Through this experience I had the opportunity to take things I had learned in the classroom and from various internships and apply those to a real world example,” said team leader Caitlin Lindner.  “My team and I also had the opportunity to meet, interview and network with business professionals in Birmingham, Ala., and New Orleans, La., all of which provided an invaluable experience for us.”
Taziki’s created the competition to offer a real-world business challenge for students and to encourage team-building as well as creative thinking.   In addition, Taziki’s wanted to offer a program that would inspire students’ entrepreneurial spirit while at the same time give the students something to build on for the future.
“Many brands use traditional media to build awareness and drive-trial,” said Seth Williams, director of marketing of Taziki’s.  “We have found that success comes from connecting the community and guests in more personal ways, and this competition allowed us to do just that.”
Taziki’s has five new restaurants currently under construction and many more in varying stages of planning.  “With rapid growth anticipated in the coming years, which will bring them into many new areas, Taziki’s felt this challenge was just the thing they needed,” said Williams.  “It has given them the opportunity to tap the minds of some of the Nation’s brightest future marketers.  The concepts and ideas presented by the many teams will fuel new creative marketing campaigns for years to come.”
About the Brock School of Business
Samford University’s Brock School of Business has a long history of achievements in business education. The university has offered degrees in business and commerce since 1922.  In 1965, the School of Business was established to offer both bachelors and masters degrees in business.  It was formally named the Brock School in 2007 for Birmingham banker and Samford trustee Harry B. Brock Jr., reflecting his long career in business and his commitment to high quality business and entrepreneurship education. The Brock School of Business holds AACSB Accreditation, the benchmark of quality worldwide and the most widely sought after standard of excellence by U.S. business schools.