Drake University’s fledgling off-campus program started in October of 2020, and it quickly became evident that mobile ordering would be a valuable addition. Grubhub joined the Drake CampusCash program just one short year later in October of 2021, and the partnership has provided Drake students with a wider variety of off-campus dining options than ever before.
Drake implemented its first off-campus program with card transaction system vendor, Transact Campus. “Students use their personally loaded stored value tender, Bulldog Bucks, to purchase food off campus at our six off-campus vendors, or in the Grubhub app,” says Sara Heijerman, Student Services Center Manager at Drake University. “Bulldog Bucks are the only funds available off campus – meal plan funds (Dining Dollars) are used only for on campus dining at our Sodexo food locations.”
“A notification from Transact alerted us that this was a new feature of the existing CampusCash program, and it seemed like a great addition to the program that was already in place,” recalls Heijerman. “The implementation went quickly and smoothly, and Grubhub has been a great partner since implementation.”
In addition to dining, Drake students can also use their Bulldog Bucks at the university bookstore and for campus printing. But it’s the new variety in student dining options available via the campus tender that has Heijerman most excited.
“Parents (and I) love that the off-campus program gives students a way to use some of their ID card funds for expanded food options,” says Heijerman. “And while our program is a small one, it seems to be well received and appreciated, and our office strives to grow the program each year.”
Drake’s meal plan funds, Dining Dollars, can only be used for on-campus dining. Those funds are tied to the meal plan and have limited use. But the university’s Bulldog Bucks can be used off campus.
“Our students can use their Bulldog Bucks in the Grubhub app, in the campus bookstore, and for campus printing,” says Heijerman. “Grubhub purchases can also be completed while on holiday breaks and at any participating locations, so it gives our students more opportunity to spend their Bulldog Bucks funds.”
This flexibility with Bulldog Bucks made Grubhub a popular option for off-campus dining virtually from the start. “Grubhub has consistently captured about half of our total off-campus program sales each month,” says Heijerman.
Just as significant is the variety in off-campus dining that Drake students now enjoy thanks to the partnership with Grubhub.
“I pull a report each month to see where Grubhub purchases are being delivered from, and it’s always interesting to see which restaurants are popular,” says Heijerman. “They are usually ones that the students cannot walk to or would not normally be in our neighborhood off campus program, which to me reinforces their value as a partner – they are providing food options that wouldn’t normally be a part of our card program.”
Even students that don’t necessarily choose to use Bulldog Bucks as their payment method still get a benefit from adding their campus card as a potential payment method, adds Heijerman. “Affiliating with a campus also gives students free access to Grubhub+, which is a nice perk,” she says.
Among other benefits, Grubhub+ offers free delivery on orders of $12 or more.
Despite having only worked with Grubhub for a short period of time, the growth of the university’s off-campus program and the healthy usage of mobile ordering has Heijerman optimistic for the future.
“Currently, we are hoping to continue to grow program usage, both from the Grubhub and local business perspectives,” says Heijerman.
“Our off-campus program still feels relatively new, as we implemented during COVID shutdown, and the Grubhub partnership is now just over a year old,” she adds. “I’m hoping to grow usage year over year, and make sure this remains a valuable program for both our students and local merchant partners.”
Working collaboratively with Grubhub is helping Heijerman and her team to deliver on that ambition. “We have monthly check-ins to see how things are going, and to brainstorm promotions and advertising ideas,” says Heijerman. “They provide us with marketing materials and ‘swag’ to give out to students and make the whole partnership very easy.”
“I have had a great experience with Grubhub, and if you feel like your student population could benefit from the added service offering, it’s definitely worth consideration,” stresses Heijerman. “It is an easy partnership that gives students additional discounts and dining options with their campus card.”