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Foodie Nights @ The Guild


Needfinding, User Interviews,

Event Design, Video Editing,

Video Scripting


7 weeks


Final Cut Pro, Figma 


The Guild Theatre is a small, independent nonprofit concert venue in Menlo Park, CA that was recently renovated during COVID for $35 million. They have since struggled to attract the Gen-Z demographic, which is why they asked us to help!

I worked with a group of 3 students: Elijah, Yaayaa, and Elena. We named our team The Costco Samples because of our variety of personalities and skillsets, and throughout the project, we quickly grew to be a dynamic team and tight friend group! In addition to generally working through the design process with my team, my unique responsibilities included conducting needfinding interviews with 19 students, creating two prototype experiences, and editing the project video.


Our challenge was to use human-centered design methods to reimagine how the Guild Theatre attracts and engages younger Gen-Z audiences.


Foodie Night: an all-you-can-eat tasting event where local restaurants can showcase their menu highlights for people to sample while enjoying unique music/food pairings and mingling with the crowd. The Guild’s open area, state-of-the-art sound system, and fully equipped bar would make it the perfect venue for such an event.


We visited The Guild to listen to management and staff about their struggles from a business perspective.


We learned that about their strengths:

  • Industry-leading sound system

  • High class, expensive interior design by renowned interior designer

  • Fully equipped bar

  • Fancy green room to hopefully attract artists

And we also learned about their weaknesses:

  • With an audience capacity of only 500, booking mainstream artists is out of the picture

  • No industrial kitchen to serve food

  • Located in Menlo Park, which is a quiet area

We then conducted 5 1-on-1 interviews and 5 group interviews with a total of 18 other students to identify what they do for fun, what they look for in a night out, and factors that could potentially attract or deter them from going to The Guild. Here are the insights that ended up guided our ideation:

  • 83% of people mentioned social interaction as an essential part of having a good time. Even if an event is expensive or not personally engaging, students will often go just because other friends are going.

  • 67% of people mentioned food as an essential component of having a good time. 

  • Stanford students are particularly disappointed with the food options in the area and the lack of good social events.

We gathered our insights from the 1-on-1 interviews on FigJam and a powerpoint presentation and filmed our group interviews.

Presentation For 1-on-1 Interviews

Photos From Group Interviews


To move from the problem space towards the solution space, we took the most poignant insights and combined them into a user POV to focus our ideation.

Inspired by those insights, we brainstormed 125 ideas under five "how might we" statements, and narrowed our viable options down to four ideas:

  • Taste of the Town: a tasting event showcasing local restaurants at The Guild

  • Battle of the Bands: a fierce musical competition hosted on The Guild's stage

  • The Guild x Stanford: university events hosted at The Guild

  • Guild Café: a study space held at The Guild for busy students during finals week.

These concepts were great in theory, but in order to confirm that our final solution would actually attract Gen-Z to The Guild and still maintain financial viability, we had to test out some prototypes to flesh out the details.

Prototyping and Testing:

To gauge interest around our four initial ideas, we created rough prototypes for promotional posters and website wireframes, and presented them to 17 students.

The idea that attracted the most interest by far was the Taste of The Town concept, with 100% of students saying they would want to go. We also collected some great feedback about what the event should look like such as:

  • restaurant-style seating could restrict people’s ability to walk around and mingle, so high tables with little to no seating would be ideal

  • the food should be more upscale than the food on campus

  • tickets should be all-you-can-eat to make the tasting experience less stressful

  • the music playing should pair well with the vibe or culture of the cuisine

  • all vendors should be local, so people can discover new spots they can actually go to

Encouraged by the enthusiastic reception for Taste of The Town, we committed to moving forward with that idea as our final solution (we also renamed it Foodie Night because it was catchier).

To further confirm demand for the Foodie Night concept with a larger audience, we posted a mock Foodie Nights promo poster on Stanford’s popular social media app Fizz. The Eventbrite link attached to the post sold over 140 tickets in just two days! 


We also surveyed random students to find out how much people were willing to pay to attend a Foodie Night off campus. Once again, 100% of people said they would go, and most were willing to pay around $20-$50, with one student even willing to pay $100 for a ticket.

For our final prototype, we soft-launched the Foodie Night event at Stanford, making sure we incorporated all of our previous feedback about room layout, serving methods, music, etc. Our team hosted a Korean-themed food night for students to sample Korean snacks, mingle and listen to Korean music. 

Over 30 people came, some even biking from across campus in the pouring rain. Everyone rated the event before they left, and our music and food both scored 9.2 out of 10 and our social atmosphere scored a 9.85. With such great ratings for a small-scale prototype held in a dorm room, we felt confident that a real Foodie Night held at The Guild, with its large open area, state-of-the-art sound system, and fully equipped bar would be a a huge success.

Final Presentation:

Having completed our design process, the only thing left to do was to present our solution to the management for The Guild. For our 5 minute pitch we filmed the video below and presented a quick slide deck. While the video focused on the story of our process, our presentation went over some of the financial logistics and general benefits of hosting Foodie Nights at The Guild. Here are the main points of the presentation:


  • Foodie Nights is an event that has proven appeal to the Gen-Z demographic and beyond

  • The Guild can build mutually beneficial relationships with community members, local restaurants, and Stanford students through Foodie Nights

  • Foodie Nights are a customizable and repeatable event that can bring revenue year-round for different community and cultural celebrations(e.g. Chinese New Year, Diwali, Mardi Gras)

  • There is extensive revenue potential through ticket sales, promotional deals with restaurants, and bar sales that trump the cost of running such an event

The presentation went great, and The Guild management absolutely loved our idea! I really appreciate The Guild letting our team work with them and we now look forward to seeing if The Guild will try hosting a Foodie Night. If they do, we'll be the first in line!

Things I Learned:

  • Bonding with my team made the entire project more fun, educational, and rewarding

  • I had never interviewed so many people, and I found that frequent high-quality interviews were integral to guiding a project in the right direction

  • Incessantly documenting the design process was very helpful when I had to present my process and design decisions to others

The End!

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