Mobile food ordering is one of the hottest technology solutions reaching the campus market at the moment. Food service operators are keenly aware that in order to continue to enhance students’ dining services and attract their business, they need to offer experiences that are in line with their lifestyles. Most students are digital natives and rely on their phones for most aspects of their life, so it’s only natural to provide quick and convenient food services through their mobile devices.
Campuses looking to offer mobile food ordering have the option of creating the solutions in-house, working with a company that provides white label solutions (we offer this through our Lucova Campus platform) or use a third party service like Tapingo. Regardless of the type of solutions campuses select, there are a few key things they should take into consideration:
Hardware Acquisition Costs
Would the addition of a mobile ordering solution create added expenses and space requirements? Across one or two locations this may not seem like much of a problem, but when you have multiple locations things can add up. It’s generally best to work with solutions which integrate with your existing systems and reduce the need for extra add-ons.
Resourcing and Capacity Handling
Does the solution ensure that it automatically takes into consideration things like how many staff are on hand for the day to best manage meal pick-up times and preparation prompts? Food service staff are already quite busy, and adding extra orders without considering their capacity could lead to frustration, lowered food quality and customer complaints. A sophisticated system can have rules in place to work around these types of challenges.
Buffer Period and Preparation Times
A coffee order that comes in after a burger order, where the person ordering the coffee is much closer to the pick-up area, should be prepared first. This ensures that food quality and customer expectations are maintained. A savvy solution will take into consideration the various preparation times associated with different food items and drinks, the time and location of each order, and only put forth orders that are optimized to provide the best experience to both staff and customers.
End User Experience
There seems to be an app out there for everything, and to encourage students to download yet another one and keep using it can be a challenge. If you’re putting the resources and investment into incorporating a mobile food ordering program, you want to ensure that students use it. If students only gain one benefit from using the app, they may be less inclined to use it. However, if their app allows them to do multiple things like mobile ordering, paying onsite, provide loyalty and offers – then they’ll be more likely to become an active user.
If you’re looking to bring mobile food ordering to your students and have questions, feel free to reach out to one of our campus technology experts at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.