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Engaging the on-the-go, on-demand generation

Contributor   ||   Jan 11, 2016  ||   , ,

Tapingo-HeadshotFINALBy: Jeff Hardy, Chief Business Officer at Tapingo

66% of students eat off campus. 66% of students are choosing convenience.

With an increasing number of students choosing an alternative to campus dining services, universities are losing hundreds of millions of dollars and missing out on countless opportunities to engage students and improve retention rates.

To change this statistic, you have to first ask why students would choose to eat off campus, and then investigate where they’re going instead.

Imagine that it’s lunch time and you’re down to two options: the first is to stop what you’re doing, join the herds of people heading toward the cafeteria, wait in line to place your order, raise your voice to make sure the specifics of your order are heard, stand in line to pay, wait for the machine to process your payment, and finally enjoy some food!

Your second option is to use your phone. In just a few clicks, you can browse menus, customize your order, pay, then have your lunch delivered or scheduled for pickup at your convenience. No waiting. No lines. No hassle.

Which would you choose?

Today’s college students have been raised with on-demand technology, so they’re accustomed to the convenience and customization that this technology gives them in every other aspect of their lives – including food.

[pullquote]Prior to launching Tapingo, campus dining services could expect to lose a whopping 75% of student diners between their sophomore and junior year.[/pullquote]

On-demand food delivery companies have redefined convenience for the entire dining industry, and in recent years we’ve seen a meteoric rise in the number of these types of companies and the services they provide.

Not only are these companies growing in number, they are targeting the college market. For these companies, attracting students who are not customers of campus dining services is the low hanging fruit. This 66% of the student population includes students who live off campus and don’t have easy access to campus dining facilities; students who don’t keep normal schedules and therefore miss traditional meal times; and students with busy schedules that prevent them from eating between classes.

This 66% of students looking to eat elsewhere poses a significant challenge to the endurance of campus dining services. Campuses looking to engage students must keep pace with these external services to maintain the high standards for recruitment and retention.

What campuses might not know is that they are well positioned to easily reach and build meaningful connections with the students they are currently not serving – those who are eating off campus. The major advantage that campuses have over outside vendors is the meal plan. By leveraging mobile capabilities, campuses can evolve the meal plan in a way that reduces labor costs at on-campus venues all while providing students with a healthier, yet equally convenient, alternative to ramen!

Today, more than 100 institutions are using Tapingo’s mobile technology to achieve this. For campuses like the University of Arizona, the University of Southern California, and Loyola Marymount University, providing mobile ordering and delivery has created access to additional revenue streams and a vehicle to drive engagement.

University of Arizona

Having benefitted from the success and high engagement of Tapingo’s mobile ordering, the University of Arizona initiated on-demand delivery service as a promotional project in which students could use their campus card’s declining balance funds to have food delivered to them from popular late night venues during each exam period.

[pullquote]Arizona saw an increase in total orders of 162% in 2015 thanks to mobile ordering and delivery[/pullquote]

The pilot program was so successful that the campus decided to offer Tapingo’s services year round from several on-campus venues. In 2015, the University of Arizona saw an increase in total orders of 162% and an impressive 164% increase in unique users.

University of Southern California

Similarly, the University of Southern California is extremely conscientious when it comes to the services it provides to students and has recognized the necessity of mobile technology in the university’s overall recruitment and retention strategy.

For USC, Tapingo’s mobile ordering and delivery services are simply part of being a Millennial, and as the highest-ranking value add for students, Tapingo should be part of the student experience for all USC students. Since implementing Tapingo, USC has grown their market share, with the majority of transactions coming from upperclassmen and grad students.

Loyola Marymount University

Loyola Marymount University, a small private school in southern California, has also benefitted from implementing Tapingo’s mobile capabilities. Through this initial partnership, LMU successfully engaged students through Tapingo’s advanced mobile ordering solution.

The addition of the delivery service launched student engagement to new heights. Tapingo has boosted overall sales at venues that had previously been less frequented by traditional pickup. On-campus venues now account for more than 33% of total on-demand delivery services.

Staying competitive with Tapingo Delivers

In the past, colleges may have been held back by logistical complications, so Tapingo is taking the approach of managing all of the necessary operations – hiring, training, managing, and shouldering the liability for a network of student couriers. Regardless of the institution’s size, private vs. public, or location, adopting a service like Tapingo is proven to be a low-touch, comprehensive solution that arms campuses with the ability to compete with external on-demand services.

Prior to launching Tapingo, campus dining services could expect to lose a whopping 75% of student diners between their sophomore and junior year. By providing users with a convenient and easy-to-use service that students are familiar with, Tapingo helps campuses retain an estimated 80% of upperclassmen. Rather than settling for an ever-shrinking piece of a rapidly expanding pie, campus dining can use Tapingo to vastly expand the market.

Most campuses provide a range of great dining options, carefully planned to be in convenient locations and open during peak hours. But by thinking just a bit bigger, institutions can open up access to new markets that can secure the future of campus dining.

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