Online food ordering system launches on campus

Students+gather+outside+Einstein+Bros+Bagels+in+The+Hub+on+Saturday%2C+Oct+1%2C+2016.

Students gather outside Einstein Bros Bagels in The Hub on Saturday, Oct 1, 2016.

Rachel Stevenson

Kent State Dining Services plans to launch an online food ordering system Monday to increase convenience for students.

Richard Roldan, director of Dining Services, said he believes the new online ordering system will help alleviate traffic and decrease wait time in busy dining halls like The Hub.

“I think The Hub, to me, was one of my main focuses,” Roldan said. “And then campus-wide, it just also helps me for people to realize we got units like Eastway and Rosie’s (Diner and Market) and Prentice, (which) most people on this side of campus never venture out to.”

Roldan said he viewed it as an opportunity to improve convenience for students, while encouraging them to try new dining options.

“Especially for those (students) that are in classrooms here and maybe have an hour between to go to another class,” Roldan said, “instead of going downtown, it’s more convenient to stay here.”

Roldan said Dining Services plans to host a soft launch of the online ordering system Monday in order to manage anticipated challenges before the program becomes campus-wide in January.

“I think it’s going to be a great new revolution for the campus,” Roldan said. “A lot of the managers are excited, but, on the same end, concerned about how, if it’s too busy, we can manage it. Which is why we are doing the soft (launch) and not promoting it and trying to slowly step into it.”

Tim Wright, assistant director of Dining Services, said the soft launch will help the system to “step off on the right foot,” as unique accommodations are made at each dining hall.

Wright said although the system may not completely eliminate lines, it will decrease wait time by allowing students to order ahead when dining halls are the busiest.

“There’ll still be lines out there, and it will cue the lines based on the hours and how much business flows through,” Wright said.

Sara Becker, a senior psychology major and student worker at Kent Market 2, said she believes the online ordering system would be beneficial for students to use between classes. However, she said she has her doubts about its function in busier dining halls such as The Hub.

“I think Kent Market 2 could (do it). We don’t get as busy as the rest of the dining places,” Becker said. “The rest of them I’m not positive because it can get kind of busy.”

Becker said she believes the dining halls will need to hire more staff to accommodate for increased business associated with the online ordering system. She said she thinks scheduling shifts for students to work with solely online orders during the busiest hours could be beneficial for employees.

Roldan said the online ordering system can be used at almost any dining location on campus, including The Hub, Eastway and Prentice Café. Dining Services hopes to extend the system to all dining halls after testing it this fall.

“It’s just a matter of training and getting everybody comfortable in the process,” Roldan said. “Anytime we change a process and bring something new, there’s going to be hiccups, and there’s going to be challenges that come with it, which is why we’re going to do a slow introduction on campus with it.”

Roldan said Dining Services partnered with Tapingo, a mobile food delivery app for college students, to create the online ordering system.

Students can order food by downloading the Tapingo app, search for Kent State and selecting dining options.

Rachel Stevenson is the residence halls reporter, contact her at [email protected]