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University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Taziki’s CEO views students’ winning presentation

A team of UALR students who won the finals in a marketing competition for Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe showcased their efforts for Taziki’s Chief Executive Officer Jim Keet on Thursday, Dec. 5, in the UALR College of Business.

Check out their winning commercial spot

UALR seniors Trey Woodruff, Danielle Hendrix, Tori Cecil, and Diamond Lewis competed in the Taziki’s Marketing Challenge on Nov. 15 and brought home a $5,000 prize for their efforts.

Keet, a restaurant industry veteran who also ran for governor of Arkansas in 2010, was joined by his sons, Tommy and Jake, who together own all of the Arkansas Taziki’s restaurants. UALR’s College of Business Dean Jane Wayland also viewed the presentation.

Professor Gary Geissler, who has mentored the student team since August, said Keet and his sons were unable to attend the competition in Birmingham and were very pleased that the UALR team was declared a co-winner. They shared the first-place win with West Virginia University.

“They wanted to see the students’ presentation and discuss marketing strategy with us,” said Geissler. “They were very pleased with the students’ campaign and presentation. In fact, they plan to use their commercials, after a little editing.”

Geissler said the Taziki’s CEO also offered the students an internship with the company and expressed interest in an Independent Study Program with the restaurant chain starting spring semester.

“We are very excited to work with (Interim Chair of Marketing and Advertising) Dr. Mark Funk to help develop a great long-term relationship that can benefit the students, UALR, and our company,” Keet told Wayland following the presentation.

tazikis

UALR seniors Diamond Lewis, Trey Woodruff, Tori Cecil and Danielle Hendrix, are joined by Professor Gary Geissler (far back, right), and Taziki’s Chief Executive Officer Jim Keet. Sons, Jake and Tommy, stand in front and behind him, respectively.

The UALR team created a 30-second television commercial on location at the Taziki’s restaurant on Chenal Parkway. In addition, they created a 30-second radio spot, a print advertisement, and wrote a media plan based on a hypothetical $30,000 media budget.

Clemson University and two teams from Samford University in Birmingham were the other semi-finalists out of 31 teams that initially entered the competition.

Keet was named managing partner and CEO of the Birmingham, Ala.-based Taziki’s in September 2012. Taziki’s is sprouting new stores across the U.S. as part of a five-year plan, including several more to open in locations across Arkansas.

Learn more about the UALR Marketing program.