Vanderbilt Accelerator and Captain D's look for the perfect hook

Restaurant chain turns to college students for ideas on building the customer experience

Media Contact:
Amy Wolf
Senior Public Affairs Officer
Vanderbilt University
(615) 322-NEWS |

Jun 6, 2012

Fast-casual seafood restaurant Captain D’s is working on plans to ramp up the customer experience and they’re turning to students in the Vanderbilt Accelerator Summer Business Institute for innovative ideas.

Captain D’s wants to build a customer loyalty program to draw new diners to the restaurants and reward existing customers for dining more often. Students participating in Accelerator will help design a program perfectly suited to the needs of Captain D’s.

The Accelerator Summer Business Institute is an intense month-long business boot camp run by the Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management. In the program, college students and recent graduates from across the country are immersed in a competitive business environment, working to create the winning solution to real challenges from top local and national companies. The students hone essential skills in marketing, sales, finance, real estate, research and corporate strategy, while participating companies receive the brainpower, creativity and proposals from several teams of highly motivated millennials.

The Captain D’s project will launch on June 7 at 2:30 p.m. in Averbuch Auditorium at the Owen Graduate School of Management. Final presentations will take place on June 14 at 8 a.m., also at Averbuch Auditorium. Please contact Amy Wolf if you’d like to attend.

Other Accelerator projects include:

  • Keb’Mo’ – Grammy-winning blues artist Kevin Moore wants to take the blues forward into the next decade. The challenge for the Accelerator teams is to develop a plan to expand Kevin’s reach through the Yolabelle label, increasing record sales, artists on the label, and collaborations across brands and live performance attendance.

  • Bridgestone Americas – Bridgestone Americas recently announced its One Team, One Planet Spent Tire Program, a waste-free vision for the future of the tire industry, with the goal to recycle or repurpose one spent off the road or agricultural tire for every new tire sold. The challenge for the Accelerator teams is to design and implement an innovation forum, where great ideas for using spent tires are created, shared and rewarded.

  • Thistle Farms – Thistle Farms is an artisanal bath product manufacturer run by women who have survived lives of prostitution, trafficking, addiction and life on the streets. The group’s next project is the Thistle Stop Café, a coffee shop offering entertainment, introducing visitors to the work of Thistle Farms, employing Magdalene House residents, and serving as an event and education space. The challenge for Accelerator teams is to create a business plan for the Thistle Stop Café.
To follow the progress of the Accelerator students and their projects, visit the Vanderbilt Accelerator Summer Business Institute page on Facebook.

Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management is ranked as a top institution by BusinessWeek, U.S. News & World Report, Financial Times and Forbes. For more information about Owen, visit or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram.