American University dining partners with Grubhub
Students can now order their food ahead of time at some on-campus dining spots
American University’s campus dining has joined forces with Grubhub to allow students to preorder food to some on-campus dining locations.
Students on University meal plans can choose to use EagleBucks or meal exchanges when purchasing their food on Grubhub.
American University previously offered mobile ordering for campus dining through the Tapingo app in 2018.
The San Francisco-based company was launched in 2012 to facilitate mobile preorder for dining on college campuses. Grubhub acquired Tapingo in 2018 with a cash payment of $150 million.
The Spring Valley Cafe in the Spring Valley Building was the first campus retail site to offer pickup through Grubhub this fall. Current offerings have been expanded to include WONK Burger, The District Pickle, Absurd Bird, Campus Coffee & Tea Co., Einstein Bros. Bagels, as well as the Subway and Starbucks in Butler Pavilion.
According to the Grubhub American University on-campus dining page, East Campus’ BUILD: Pizza by Design is coming soon.
Whether or not D.C. Eats, which houses the School of Public Affairs’ Aloha Poke Co., will be offered through the app is yet to be announced. The dining retail venue appears on the app but is listed as closed rather than coming soon.
Kogod School of Business sophomore Matthew Lee decided to test the new on-campus dining service with an order from WONK Burger via Grubhub.
“They weren’t really accurate with my order,” Lee said. “I ordered a bacon cheeseburger and they just gave me a cheeseburger.”
Even with the omission of bacon, Lee was relatively pleased with his experience.
“Honestly, I think it went pretty smoothly,” Lee said. “I probably would do it again, on a weekday when it’s more busy, though.”
The convenience of preordering for pickup incentivizes ordering through Grubhub for busy students, who may not have time to wait in long lines between classes.
But not all students who’ve ordered campus food through Grubhub think that this is a practical solution for those hoping to grab a quick bite.
“If I wanted food and it was busy, I wouldn’t bother with something like that,” said School of International Service sophomore Ella Doyle. Although she said her experience was decent, Ella felt relying on Grubhub ordering “would be more chaotic than it needed to be.”
Doyle is one of the more than 500 students who participated in the spring 2021 Mid-Semester Residential Experience, known as the “mini-mester,” and said ordering campus food on Grubhub was reminiscent of dining in the spring.
Students were encouraged to use the Transact Mobile Ordering app to preorder food for pickup during the Mid-Semester Residential Experience.
“I think the Grubhub medium is a lot easier to navigate than [Transact Mobile Ordering] was,” Doyle said.
Customization options offered vary depending on the dining location selected.
Lee said he was impressed by the customization options offered from WONK Burger.
“I know that ordering in person it may be a little hard for the cashier to hear what you want and don’t want on your burger, but through the app it’s just a selection menu,” Lee said. “I think that’s much more convenient.”
Grubhub prompts users to make certain customizations when ordering from WONK Burger, Absurd Bird, Einstein Bros. Bagels and Subway. But students are limited to these predetermined options which may not address the dietary needs or preferences of each individual.
Revenue in the online food ordering industry grew approximately 33.5 percent from 2019 to 2020, as consumers looked for alternatives to dining out. Many online ordering platforms offer notes sections for users to make alterations beyond the predetermined options or have additional dietary concerns.
American University on-campus dining via Grubhub does not provide the opportunity for additional notes when placing an order.
One improvement Lee would like to see made is clearer pickup instructions.
“I wasn’t sure if I should just go up or if they were going to call my name,” Lee said. “Maybe right when you order in the app it can give instructions.”