Online food ordering platforms target college campuses

By Mark Snider

Classes, tests, extracurricular activities and not enough spending money are the trademarks of a college student. The traits listed above create what would be a seemingly dismal market opportunity for companies; however, online food ordering platforms are capitalizing on what college students generally lack most: time and money.

Online food ordering platforms, such as EatStreet and OrderUp, have their advertisements scattered around campuses and lecture halls nationwide trying to urge students to order food from their favorite restaurants through the online service, and in the process, save their precious time and money.

According to EatStreet employee Jefferson Badgerbr, the EatStreet online food ordering service is a platform that connects restaurants to consumers.

“We partner with restaurants across the country, and once we get the restaurants on our platform, we advertise our platform to get consumers to order from their favorite restaurant through EatStreet,” Badger said.

OrderUp follows a similar business model. OrderUp Champaign Manager Eric Partlowbr said that OrderUp is the most complete on-demand food delivery marketplace for local markets outside of major cities. He also said the company strives to create an easy way for locals to have access to popular eating establishments in their area.

Creating easy access to the desirable area restaurants is precisely why these ordering platforms are becoming popular on college campuses.

Partlow explained that college campuses, like the University, provide a prime marketplace for these services.

“As much as students want wings and pizza, they are also looking for more options,” he said.

The goal to provide affordable options is the focal point of many of these companies’ business plans, which Badger said has been successful in college settings.

“Our college markets are our bread and butter. Why we go after college campuses is because (EatStreet) was started by college students. I feel like we can relate to college students,” Badger said.

Badger said having a presence at the University specifically was an obvious choice.

“Champaign for us is a no-brainer. There are so many students, a compact campus and many popular restaurants, like DP Dough and Papa Johns, that are willing to offer specials,” Badger continued.

According to Badger, partnerships with local eating places allow the restaurants to offer deals, and these deals are very popular among college students due to the low cost.

He said that a large reason why online ordering platforms are so popular among students, lies within the social aspect of college. Students complete various projects, study for exams and complete homework as groups and this provides a key market for these food ordering services.

“Students get together with friends more than professionals,” Badger said.

Partlow also shared similar insight.

“We also offer group ordering, which is a great option for students who want to order food together,” he said.

Corrin Adamsbr, sophomore in Business, said she occasionally uses OrderUp, and likes the convenience of food delivery services on campus.

“During the semester, it gets really busy with various things to do and eating isn’t always my first priority. I have seen several of these ordering platforms being advertised on campus, so I decided to give them a try,” Adams said. “It was nice to be able to order what I wanted, with a discount, without having to spend a lot of time to go get it.”

While these companies are relatively new and have their fair share of challenges, Partlow said they find great pleasure in making local restaurants readily available.

“It’s always a challenge introducing a concept like food delivery to those who haven’t tried it, but to hear busy parents, stressed college students, overworked professionals and more share how much they love and appreciate OrderUp is so rewarding,” Partlow said. “It’s very rewarding to see the excitement on their faces when they learn about all we have to offer.”

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