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Survey suggests students expect more mobile dining options

A survey conducted by Nutrislice, a food-service digital engagement and solution provider, is reinforcing the importance of mobile dining solutions in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The survey was circulated to some 800 college and university students across the US, seeking to clarify student expectations around campus dining amid a proposed return this fall.

The survey specifically polled students regarding on-campus food service, student perceptions and concerns around on-campus dining, and contactless options for ordering, pickup, delivery and payments.

The desire for mobile dining solutions certainly aligns with many of the conversations already happening around the industry. Card system vendors and third-party providers alike have been in overdrive since campuses closed, and the path ahead will undoubtedly rely on these mobile dining solutions.

Adding COVID-19 related concerns to the mix, the survey suggests some students may be hesitant to dine on-campus if they can’t order and pay digitally.

Some of the highlights from Nutrislice’s survey include:

Roughly 38% of students surveyed said that they don’t plan on purchasing or consuming food from an on-campus dining locations (dining hall, restaurant, or cafe), citing concerns of safety related to the coronavirus.

For students planning to return to campus and who will dine on campus, 85% reported being concerned about how they’ll order and pay for meals if contactless food-service options aren’t made available.

30% of respondents said they plan to avoid any on-campus dining venue that doesn’t offer digital ordering and payment through a mobile app or online. A further 50% of that group reported being more likely to get food from an on-campus dining venue that does offer digital ordering and payment.

Of the specific concerns voiced was a desire for contactless ordering and payment — removing physical contact with a server or cashier — for food from an on-campus dining location.

73% of students said it was important to have access to mobile food ordering from their on-campus dining locations when campuses open again.

When asked about specific contactless options they would like to see implemented, 68% of student respondents called for a mobile app or website to view menus, place orders and pay. 43% called for digital menu boards at dining locations to avoid handling physical menus. 28% called for smart contactless lockers. And 24% called for designated on-campus pickup locations.

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