Business started by Hope students seeks to improve dining experiences on campus
When it comes to on-campus food, students have opinions. Conforming to dining hall hours can be difficult with a busy schedule. Some might have issues with the variety, while others would love the opportunity to have a change of atmosphere. Downtown Dining saw this dream and decided to make it a reality.
Taryn King and Gabriel Zwyghuizen (’17) took an entrepreneurial class at Hope College. This is where they first explored the idea for Downtown Dining and it has expanded from there. The Downtown Dining card has five tickets that can be exchanged for menu items at partnering restaurants on 8th Street. The card costs $50 and is equivalent to $10 per ticket. There are no expiration dates and all students (freshmen through seniors) can use it. Restaurant hours are more flexible than dining hall hours, allowing students to eat when their schedule allows. Zwyghuizen commented on the class where they came up with this idea. “The idea came out of a class called ‘Leading the Start-up Process’ here at Hope,” Zwyghuizen said, “which is a class focused on entrepreneurs and teaches students how to expand their start-ups. Downtown Dining evolved from a problem we saw that we wanted to fix. We saw restaurants without customers and college students who wanted food from Downtown Holland restaurants.”
Downtown Dining was busy over the summer adding restaurants to their list of menus and launching their working website. Support from the Hope community has meant a lot during this process. Zwyghuizen said, “Starting a business is very difficult, but the burden is lifted with such an amazing group of people supporting you. Students wanting to start a business should know this: people want to help you grow your business. There are so many community members, Hope College staff and previous entrepreneurs willing and ready to help your business grow. Asking for advice and help is the first step to a successful business.” Watch as Downtown Dining changes Hope.