Leading higher education restaurant consulting firm continues to help improve on-campus dining options with new fresh, modern, and authentic Asian flavors

Oct. 1, 2018




OnCampus Brands, dedicated to connecting universities with new restaurant and retail alternatives that enhance student life, has partnered with Star Ginger to spur their restaurant development on college campuses around the country. Inspired by the street food that celebrity chef, Culinary Institute of America (CIA) adjunct professor and award-winning restaurateur Mai Pham grew up with in Vietnam, Star Ginger features fresh Pan-Asian flavors across a diverse menu, quick throughput, and an efficient labor model that is well suited for university dining programs.

Winning over Gen Z with quality and authenticity 

“Authenticity means everything to Generation Z. Mai and her team are centered on authenticity,” said Jim Gregory, founder of OnCampus Brands. “The Star Ginger menu covers a wide range of genuine, pan-Asian taste profiles – far beyond the Americanized options you get from the big chains.”

Star Ginger provides students and faculty with a wide range of flavors carefully crafted to meet the growing demand for authentic Pan-Asian dishes such as Vietnamese pho, Thai chicken green curry, banh mi sandwiches, stir fry rice bowls, freshly chopped salads, Korean barbecue and more.  With a focus on small-batch cooking that also offers a variety of vegetarian and gluten free options, Star Ginger’s menu features a one stop menu solution of recipes developed by award-winning Chef Mai Pham and inspired by street vendors across Vietnam, Thailand, Korea, India, Singapore and China.

Chef Mai Pham, founder of Star Ginger

Evolving tastes

Pham has been featured in Martha Stewart’s magazine and television show, as well as National Public Radio’s “Fresh Air.” She has authored multiple cookbooks in addition to inaugurating a food column on Southeast Asian cuisine for the San Francisco Chronicle. Furthermore, Pham hosted the “My Country My Kitchen: Vietnam” series on Food Network and as an adjunct chef instructor and advisor to the Asian Council at the CIA, she’s also a frequent conference speaker and presenter.

“Star Ginger was born out of the idea that as demographics become increasingly diverse, so too are taste preferences,” said Mai Pham, president and founder of Star Ginger. “Our new partnership with OnCampus Brands will only help us further reach this audience by connecting us directly to the right university and campus dining decision makers.”

A turkey solution for college campuses

While Star Ginger may sound elaborate in comparison to other quick service Asian restaurants serving pre-prepared products, this fresher, plant-forward concept with the cook line in full view, has proven to be simple to operate on campuses thanks to the easy to execute program and training from the Star Ginger team. Star Ginger closely manages its 20 non-traditional locations nationwide—including 16 restaurants on college campuses such as the University of Notre Dame, University of Massachusetts (UMASS), Stanford University and Liberty University, among others—by offering comprehensive ongoing support. Their business model allows for flexibility with customized menus and programs, enabling each restaurant to experiment outside-of-the-box to meet the specific needs of each campus.

“One of the reasons we’ve been twice ranked #1 in campus dining (by Princeton Review) …is for us, we provide more than just food. We provide our students an experience, each time they visit,” said said Ken Toong, executive director of auxiliary services for the UMASS Amherst. “Star Ginger is a turnkey retail program and it gives us authenticity, variety, consistency and excitement we’re looking for. It’s a pleasure for UMASS to work with Mai and Tina and we’ll continue to provide that excitement and grow together.”

With more than 25 years of experience in non-traditional restaurant development, OnCampus Brands was created to help restaurants such as Star Ginger navigate the complexities of growth across higher education. Through its proprietary and data-centric approach to campus development and its industry-leading network of university dining operators, OnCampus Brands works with a wide variety of restaurant and franchise concepts such as Smoothie King, Firehouse Subs and Fresh Twist by Pretzelmaker on end-to-end development programs, licensing negotiations and operational fulfillment to meet on-campus requirements.