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The student idea that could change casual dining

Hiring placement students helped Barnsley council revolutionise its hospitality offer.

The Market Foodhall Kitchen in Barnsley

Foodhalls can be found across the world, and follow more or less the same operating model. 

Normally, dishes can be ordered from a range of vendors, which arrive at the table as and when they’re ready. This caters for many different tastes under one roof, but means people in a single party may end up eating separately. 

Working at Barnsley Market Kitchen Foodhall on a Venture Matrix project, our placement students developed an app idea that allows people to order from different outlets, but receive their meals at the same time.

The concept for the app was developed after the students conducted a detailed business analysis of the town centre — assessing the environment, customer need and the potential for digital innovation. They later presented their work to council figures and software developers.

“Incorporating digital innovation into the development of Barnsley is core to our vision and we were delighted to involve the students at Sheffield Hallam in this project.” 

Maria Cotton, from Barnsley Council’s Economic Regeneration Team

It’s an innovative idea with real potential across the sector. The software is easily cloned, so the app could quickly be adapted to other foodhalls across the country, or even internationally, at very low cost.

Real-world experiences like this give our students a head start in their careers. But from an employer perspective, the benefits are equally clear.

If your business needs cost-effective innovation like this, then hiring placement students is a great place to start. We can team you with students for projects of as little as 120 hours, or up to a full year. 

“This is the first time we’ve collaborated with Sheffield Hallam in this way and the students have done a great job and given us some fantastic analysis and plenty of ideas about how we can use data to encourage visitors and support growth in our town centre economy.” 

Tracey Johnson, manager of the Barnsley Digital Media Centre

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