Suffolk University Card Services together with on-campus dining provider Sodexo, has introduced CBORD’s GET Food — an online food ordering module for students, faculty and staff.
With GET Food students can place food orders in advance, choose what time their food will be ready for pick up, select and customize their food order, and pay. “With this addition, Suffolk students are now able to order from one of four on campus dining facilities, directly pay for their purchase online, and pick up their food at a specified time,” says Mikhail Ilin, Manager of Card Services, Suffolk University.
The implementation was handled in house by Suffolk’s card services team supported by a CBORD project management team. “Once implemented card services marketed the new product aggressively via social media, on campus tabling events, infomercials, as well as promotional item giveaways,” says Ilin. “At campus card services we saw this product as yet another tool to enhance student convenience and satisfaction.”
Lunchtime on a college campus is often a small window of time for students, faculty and staff. In many cases, it may only be 10 or 20 minutes between classes to both retrieve and eat a meal. “In order to accommodate our guests, we need to make the lunch process as simple as possible,” says Hasan Erdem, retail manager, Sodexo University Dining. “The GET system allows our guests to order food as little as 15 minutes in advance, and up two weeks into the future.”
Another challenge unique to Suffolk University, and institutions like it, is that the campus resides in the heart of a major metropolitan city — Boston. For campuses in this type of environment, competition is a major consideration with a plethora of dining options available to students at all hours of the day.
“The benefit I see in the GET system is accommodating our guests in the fashion they are accustomed to,” says Erdem. “This isn’t the 1980’s where you got your lunch from a tray line, and what we had was what you had. Our guests want to be able to make choices in real-time, and to do it on their schedule.”
In the dining world if you aren’t able to keep up with the times, then that means losing your guests, and their faith in your ability to provide what they want, Erdem says. “With GET Food if you know what you want for lunch, all you have to do is plan 20-30 minutes ahead. It makes life easier.”
Still in its infancy, GET online ordering at Suffolk has made a positive impression thus far. According to Erdem, of the functional users so far there have been 127 separate orders, and only eight of those were from users that only placed a single order. The other 119 orders were placed by 19 different individuals.
“So on average the users who have interfaced with the system so far are doing so consistently,” explains Erdem. “To me, this says that people see value in the system, and that for these individuals, it is more effective for them to utilize GET, and to skip the line.”