Food for thought: Online ordering

Convenience is everything in today’s world, it seems.

From grocery stores, to Super-Walmarts, to fast food, everything is engineered to make life easier for the average Joe. Fast food especially is jumping on the accessibility train, with many restaurants staying open until 2 or 3 in the morning, and sometimes having their drive-throughs open all night long.

The latest trend in fast food service, though, is online ordering. facilitates this and is also directed toward college students. enables customers to look up their particular university and order online from any of the restaurants the university lists on its page. Though is just now gaining momentum in its popularity, it has been almost a decade in the making.

In 1997, Michael Saunders was hungry one evening while a student at the University of Pennsylvania. After trying for about 20 minutes to get through to his favorite restaurant, and then having them mess up his order, he thought up an easier way to deal with ordering food, according to the Web site’s Director of Marketing, Julie Shimshak. This brainchild of Saunders was

This Web site includes more than 300 universities across the U.S., with more in the works. The BGSU site includes eight restaurants, all within walking distance, and four of which allow customers to order online. Information such as the address and hours of operation of these restaurants are also available. One thing missing, however, is that many times very helpful to customers, is the restaurant’s phone number. Freshman BGSU student Justin Birt discovered this the hard way.

“I went on to check out a restaurant and I found everything I needed except the phone number,” Birt said.

The lack of the phone numbers makes it easier for the student to just order food from the restaurant via the Web site itself. This helps its business, as gets a small percentage of money from the orders made off of its Web site, according to the site itself.

Shimshak described changes that the company was making to help improve the Web site, changes such as text-based ordering, which should be available next semester.

Other helpful aspects of the Web site are loyalty programs such as the Hunger Busters Value Packs, which allows the students to earn free food in “Campusfood Cash.” does not charge students anything to use its services, nor does it require one to set up an account, though this is optional. According to Shimshak, there are hundreds of thousands of active users that come back to order food at least once a month from the Web site.

The Pita Pit averages about 100 orders a week through the Web site, according to manager Steve Gesicki.

Although the site is easy to navigate, some people would rather do without its convenience.

“I like personal interaction. I like to confirm that they got my order and that it will be coming,” said hall director Tim Velotta.

Many students, however, had not heard of the site. When its basic principal was explained to them, they still did not seem eager to use it.

“I wouldn’t [use it] because it really wouldn’t save me any time. I would just use my cell phone or go to the place,” said sophomore Megan Link.