The Collegian
Wednesday, October 21, 2020

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Grubhub increases campus dining efficiency, safe dining experience

<p>Online food orders accumulate on the counter of Tyler's Grill.</p>

Online food orders accumulate on the counter of Tyler's Grill.

This semester, select on-campus dining locations are using Grubhub, an online ordering and food pick-up company, to enable more efficient dining and encourage adherence to COVID-19 health and safety guidelines.

Using Grubhub on college campuses makes for a more convenient dining experience by allowing student users to order and pay for campus food with a campus card payment without waiting in line, according to the Grubhub campus dining webpage. 

Students can use the Grubhub app to order food for pickup at all retail dining locations on campus except Everything Convenience and Dean’s Den, said Terry Baker, executive director of campus dining. Students can also use Grubhub to reserve a seat at the Heilman Dining Center, a residential dining location, Baker said.

Over 79% of UR students who have the app use Grubhub to place orders, with the rest using either the kiosk option or the standard register option, Baker wrote in an email to The Collegian on Sept. 28.

Grubhub's use on campus also provides benefits to workers at the retail locations that use it. Sophomore Perla Guerrero, who worked at Lou’s last year and earlier this semester, said Grubhub had made her job easier.

When a student places an order through the app, a Grubhub mobile order machine beeps and then prints out a receipt with all the details of the student’s order, Guerrero said.

“It gives you something to do because you don’t necessarily have to see the person to start making the food,” Guerrero said.

Guerrero also said the app made it easier to prepare students’ orders. Workers do not need to tell students about details of the menu – such as an upcharge for avocado on a salad – because Grubhub provides this information.

Some students, such as junior Matt Flanagan, said they missed the personal aspect of food service that had been superseded by mobile orders.

Guerrero also said she knew coworkers who missed interacting with customers.

"Like the regulars, [before] they would know them by name," she said. "Now it's just a ticket."

The Grubhub app makes ordering and picking up food from on-campus retail dining locations more efficient, sophomore Charley Blount said. 

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“[Grubhub] tells me the wait times beforehand, so I don’t have to go to a restaurant and see how long the wait is,” Blount said. 

First-year Natalie Null agreed. Grubhub eliminates having to go to a dining location and wait in line, which makes grabbing food and beverages a lot easier, she said. Null likes the convenience of being able to place an order in her room or on the way back from class, she said.  

Both Blount and Null frequently use Grubhub for on-campus dining. Null uses the app every morning to order coffee and any time she is eating on campus except for when she goes to the dining hall, she said. 

Blount usually uses the app seven to ten times a week, he said. He now orders his food and beverages more often using Grubhub than ordering in-person at the retail dining locations, he said. 

Blount attributes this to the convenience of ordering his food without needing to physically be at the dining location.  

“It is nice that I don’t have to wait for my food at the restaurant itself,” Blount said. “I can wait in my room and then go when it’s about to be ready and pick it up.” 

Despite several positive experiences using the Grubhub app for ordering on campus, Blount has had a few problems with pickup, he said. 

“Sometimes the app’s wait time is wrong," Blount said. "So I’ll order my food and it will say fifteen minutes until it’s ready, and it will instead take a lot longer." 

Blount said this had happened at Tyler’s Grill. Another time, he did not receive the correct order from The Cellar, he said.

Null has not had any problems using app and she still likes interacting face-to-face when picking up her orders from the retail dining locations, she said.

Community use of Grubhub also encourages adherence to campus COVID-19 guidelines, Baker said.

Dining Services was already planning to implement Grubhub on campus this summer before the COVID-19 pandemic, but the app also helps implement UR health and safety guidelines, Baker said. 

“Grubhub helps support physical distancing with preordering and not waiting in long lines,” Baker said. “The Grubhub kiosk [at Tyler's Grill] also supports less contact with a cashier or cash handling.”

Null agreed that using Grubhub helped students adhere to social distancing guidelines.

“[Using Grubhub] restricts the number of people in the building ordering at a time because you just quickly go in and pick it up,” Null said. “So there’s not a long line of people waiting for their food, which means there is less exposure and less people in a crowded space.”

Contact lifestyle writer Caitlin O'Hare at caitlin.ohare@richmond.edu and news writer Alan Clancy at alan.clancy@richmond.edu.

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