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The Department of Food and Nutrition: Consumer Sciences gives insight into the exciting, new rebranding process of the Rendezvous Restaurant as well as the new eco-friendly packaging and meals to go.

The restaurant needed a fresh colour pop, a trendy new vibe and look with a new tagline aligned with DUT and the Faculty of Applied Sciences branding. Besides the rebranding of the Rendezvous Restaurant, it also entails new packaging of meals which are eco-friendly and Home Meal Replacements (HMR) which entail convenience ready to eat meals on and off campus.

Various departmental staff gave insight into the history of the restaurant, explaining that it first opened on City Campus in 1984 and then moved to Steve Biko (Natal Technikon) in 1988. It was called Rendezvous way back then, and the name has stood the test of time.

This campaign is offering the DUT community rebranded eco-friendly packaging in line with the DUT vision, which was designed by the Design Unit. The menu on offer comprises of a four-week cycle for variety, ready to go home or office meals with pricing that is market-related, affordable and in relation to other food outlets in and around campus.

Head of Department, Dr Heleen Grobbelaar said that with COVID-19 the demand for ‘takeaway’ meals grew rather than sit down meals at the Rendezvous restaurant.

“We felt the need to reposition our restaurant to address this new segment of the market which opened whilst also addressing the needs of our current market (staff and students). The previous branding was outdated, and the new branding better represents our recent changes to the décor and menu-which is now current and relevant-the consumers’ demand for wholesome and nutritious meals to take home or enjoy in their offices. The new branding also reflects one of the goals of our department which is focused on student training and their education as foodies,” she added.

The Department of Food and Nutrition welcomed the opportunity to be part of the government initiative to meaningfully contribute to the youth employment by empowering young graduates in our country. The meals- on- the- go concept is managed by alumna, Lihle Nhlebela, an Advanced Diploma in Consumer Science: Food and Nutrition graduate from the YES Programme.

It was confirmed that the graduate will be part of the departments third stream income drive for financial sustainably as outlined in the strategic objectives of ENVISION 2030.

“The internship Programme was posted via the student social media platform of which I check religiously every day, as a lot of information gets shared there whether you still a student or an alumnus. Dr Naicker, our lecturer shared the same post to encourage students to apply so I did and now I am part of the YES internship Programme. I am so pleased I applied and got selected,” she said jubilantly.

“Our objective is to provide wholesome meals that are healthy, affordable and delicious, meals that can sustain you a bit longer and we offer meals to give you value for money,” she said.

She indicated that seeing how life as a student is hectic with long hours of classes and studying, students often look for wholesome meals to keep them going, which results in them grabbing whatever they could find to quite their hunger pangs.

“The students will benefit greatly because my research showed that the students are looking for healthy meal options at an affordable price, and with most of the student body residing at Res they often wish for home-cooked meals and that’s where our meals on the go comes in,” she said.

Her role on the new branding for Rendezvous Restaurant was to serve as the students’ point of contact with sharing their ideas on the brand logo and slogan of which the department had set out as a competition.

“It was exciting because everyone that is within our department (students and staff) were all involved and had opportunities to put forward their ideas. The restaurant has adopted the ‘going green’ global movement so all the packaging that we are using for the Meals on the go line, as well as the restaurant itself, is all eco-friendly. I am the chef who is going to be preparing all the Meals on the go, from doing market research to establishing the four-week cycle menu with the help of lecturers,” she said.

As a student going forward, Nhlebela expressed that it means a lot to her that the Rendezvous Restaurant will have a new brand and will be easily distinguished by all within the DUT community, and people must be aware of the restaurant at S9 Level 4, hopefully with the new brand that will increase patronage.

“I am very happy and thankful to be able to be part of the YES Programme and to be part of such a big campaign of the Rendezvous Restaurant rebranding as well as launching the Meals on the go line,” she relayed

The Rendezvous Restaurant now operates from 11am on a Wednesday and Thursday. In addition to this, the Meals-on-the-go will be available weekly from Monday to Friday. Customers are urged to look out for the menu on offer weekly through the DUT PINBOARD.

Pictured: The new look of the Rendezvous Restaurant.

Waheeda Peters

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