Bon Appétit, students work on bringing room service to South 40

| Staff Reporter

Walking outside for food will soon be optional.

Sophomores Jordan Zipkin and Philip Taub are working with the Bon Appétit Management Company, which operates the campus eateries on the South 40, to implement a service that allows students to order food online to be delivered directly to their dorm rooms.

The program, called Bear Deliveries, would expand the WebFood program, which currently allows students to place orders online to be picked up at the DUC or Bear’s Den, allowing students to avoid long lines at busy mealtimes.

Taub and Zipkin’s idea is to have students place their orders on WebFood, and instead of having to pick the food up, they would be able to have their meal delivered to any dorm on the South 40, free of charge.

Taub came up with the idea a year ago when he was a freshman.

“I woke up one Saturday morning and thought to myself, ‘Man, wouldn’t it be great if I could have food in my bed right now without having to leave my room?’” Taub said. “I kind of just took that idea and ran with it.”

After joining up with Zipkin, a fellow business school student, the two reached out to administrators, eventually getting the chance to make the idea a reality.

A pilot of the program is scheduled to start after Spring Break with a limited menu of Bear’s Den options and deliveries available for only the South 40 residence halls.

“Our first big expansion will be to expand the options offered to students for delivery to include the whole Bear’s Den menu” Zipkin said. “After that, we hope to expand our deliveries other places like the Village and the art school.”

The two students have been working closely with Nadeem Siddiqui, resident district manager of Bon Appétit at Washington University.

“I think it has to be carefully, logistically managed to ensure that services are excellent and that when the food gets to students, it’s the right order and it’s still hot,” Siddiqui said. “But the idea has tremendous potential.”

Siddiqui has considerable experience collaborating with students. Webfood was originally presented to him by students at Cornell while he managed dining services there. The program has now spread to campuses across the nation.

“I think it’s a great thing when students come with ideas and you can help them implement them,” Siddiqui said.

While Zipkin and Taub haven’t heard of a food delivery system in place at any other universities, they are aware of a service that a lot of schools have called Midnight Cookies, in which students can order fresh-baked cookies to be delivered to their rooms at late hours of the night.

“Kids seem to love Midnight Cookies, so we’re hoping at some point to do something similar,” Taub said.

Members of the freshman class have developed ideas similar to Bear Deliveries, but Bon Appétit chose to work with Zipkin and Taub since they had been working on their project throughout the past year. Zipkin and Taub, however, would like to work with these other students in the future.

“This can’t be a two-man-show forever, and we’re excited to work with them and other people with similar ideas in the future,” Zipkin said.

“It’ll make it easy and convenient for students, and they can use meal points which is another efficiency,” Siddiqui said. “It’s a great idea.”

  • Student

    I wonder how long it will take the students who have taken a “principled” stand on this issues to order delivery, themselves. Yes, the service may seem a bit excessive, but any slight misgivings I have about the idea pale in comparison for the enormous respect I have for two students who had the drive and determination to make their idea come to fruition.

    Furthermore, Student Life has, once again, gotten the facts COMPLETELY wrong. First, only the students will be making deliveries, NOT Bon Appetit employees. Second, Bon Appetit will NOT increase prices to fund this program. The only cost is a small fee payed by Bon Appetit to the students for each delivery, and it’s anticipated that the program will pay for itself by increasing overall food orders. Since there are students with leftover meal points every year, there is clearly room in the system for more food purchases. Finally, if the program isn’t paying for itself or grows to the point of being unsustainable, Bon Appetit has made it clear that they will pull the plug.

    How can it be said that this program is the one thing that will make us seem over-privileged? BREAKING NEWS: We ARE over-privileged!!! We go to an expensive, private school with a large endowment, world-class academics, dorms like hotels, and restaurant-quality food. Yes college is supposed to prepare us for the real world, but will free delivery on campus really lead to students being surprised when it costs extra in the “real world?” Instead of complaining, let’s be THANKFUL, and use the incredible resources we’ve been granted to enhance our experience at WashU.

  • TJ

    neither an original idea nor a good one. This is just embarrassing for Wash U.

  • Chris

    how about less luxuries and lower tuition for us non-millionaire kids. also how about a decent workout facility. the ac is a joke

  • Lisa

    this only makes sense if a student is seriously ill and/or bedridden…
    i.e. mono or a newly broken ankle

  • Chancellor Wrighton

    I think an alcohol delivery service would be a much better idea.

  • Jerome Bauer

    For princely treatmnet, we had all better leave princely tips, on and off campus. Here’s a simple pay it forward scheme: spend as much as you can still afford, eat and drink less, and tip more. Wrap your generous cash tip in a thank you note, greeting card, or your favorite lyer. How about Jobs with Justice?

    Check out the ongoing, do it yourself Facebook event, “People’s Happy Hour,”

    Generous tips and thank you notes are very nice, but service workers ought to be paid a livng wage in the first place, and not overworked.

    • Troy

      “Generous tips and thank you notes are very nice, but service workers ought to be paid a livng wage in the first place, and not overworked.”

      This is my take exactly. People who serve food should be paid for the hours they work, and they should be compensated fairly without the need to rely on the whims of customers. Tips should be a way to show appreciation for exceptional service, not a method by which the burden of paying for one’s food service is shifted onto more generous members of society.

  • mac

    I know that Wash U likes collaborating with student initiatives, and that’s great, but why are they on board with this one? University officials can pick and choose— can’t they? So why is something like this going forward? It’s unnecessary at best and seems likely to have negative dietary and social consequences for some students, not to mention that the sheer silliness of it might (quite understandably) earn the school and its students some scoffing.

    I say, scrap this proposal and let the two entrepreneur-hopefuls learn a valuable lesson in failure while they’re still living in the security and comfort of Wash U.

  • WashUleaks

    didnt know the stoner lobby had so much power at wustl

  • Jerome Bauer

    Service workers should not have to depend upon student gratuity to earn a living wage. Tuition is too high at least in part because many students demand princely treatment. How do we opt out?

    • Junior

      Where did you read that service workers would be depending on student gratuity?

      • Jerome Bauer

        Perhaps this could be made to work if the students who really want room service would be willing to pay for it themselves, so the others would not have to. IF. I’m trying to keep an open mind about this.

  • Danny Guenther

    This is wrong. Plain and simple. Please write to Bon Apetit and SU telling this will be a PR disaster.

  • Lauren P

    No. Just no. I can understand the cookies thing at the other university because it is a special event. Believe it or not, just because the South 40 looks like a theme park does not mean we live in hotels. This program is completely over the top and almost offensive. Already Wash U students enjoy the best of the best with professors, food, food choice, facility, and so much more. This would completely blow what little claim we have of being actual college students. Why? The majority of Wash U students have never had to live the “classic” dorm life with a communal bathroom. We have more options on where to eat than the average strip mall. The administration is so willing to work with individual problems its almost embarrassing. Before people get up in arms, no, I´m not saying all this is necessarily a bad thing that shouldn´t happen, but, for the majority of the population, its doesn´t. It is said all the time, but once more can´t hurt. Wash U students are incredibly privileged for no reason other than the money in our parents pocket, our test scores, and our extracurriculars. Can we not add to that by adding something to our everyday life that most people usually associate with being on vacation or never even experience in their lifetime?

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  • Rachel

    This is a fine endeavor, but unfortunately does not address some of the larger social issues right here on our very campus. For example, a find that there are a dearth of foot masseuses on campus, which is disappointing to say the least. Also, I’ve been having a ton of trouble finding a porter to carry my books to and from my classes. Zipkin and Taub are headed in the right direction but much more reform is needed before we as WashU students can feel like a basic quality of life is being maintained.

  • student

    this is just embarrassing. I really hope this doesn’t happen.

  • C

    I’d be curious to hear who exactly will be doing the deliveries; if this is to come at no cost to students, existing Bon Appetit employees are the only option, and they work hard enough already. There’s also the connection between students and the people cooking their food to be considered; there’s no saying “thank you” for your burger when you’re on the other side of the Forty.

  • EP

    How are we so sure prices will go up? If they sell more food due to the delivery, profits will increase meaning the delivery service might even PREVENT future price increases! I think it’s a great idea.

    • glad to graduate

      This is Bon Appetit we’re talking about. Prices have always gone up. Prices go up when they are having trouble and prices go up when they are doing well. They either change how many meal points something costs, change what you actually pay for a meal point, or both. Also, being a monopoloy, Bon Appetit has already pretty much maximized how many students buy food from them, so they have no where to go to sell more food. Delivery just gives them an excuse to charge more, and they will do it even to students who don’t use the delivery option. That or they’ll be bringing more business partners through the village and Bear’s Den to show off the new features and feeding them for free on these visits, leaving students holding the bill.

  • JDW

    WashU kids don’t have enough life experience to bake frozen pizzas on their own. So c’mon, give them a break. You guys deserve this!

  • Jerome Bauer

    Please be sure to tip your servers generously, and leave a thank you note from time to time.

    • Jerome Bauer

      Three thumbs down so far! Would you tip and thank your servants, if they came to your dorm room?

      Surely more workers would have to be hired. Would they be deliberately underpaid, in the expectation, or pretense, that students would tip for this “free” service?

      • Alum

        I think the thumbs down relates to the speaker, not the message… You lecture WashU or the students in the comment section of nearly every article on StudLife. Forgive those of us who grow weary of the patronage/absurdity.

  • Sophomore

    This is actually ridiculous…all this will do is raise food prices and make gaining the Freshman 15 that much easier. Bear’s Den is just not that far away that you can’t walk there. I live in Shepley and HATE the cold with a passion, but I’m still not lazy enough to use a service like this.

  • Really?

    All it is is delivery. I don’t understand what the problem is. Have you ever had pizza delivered? There’s nothing wrong with the idea. Stop complaining. It’s funny how something so minute can get people so mad.

    • Yes, Really.

      Here’s the difference between this and delivery. You pay for delivery. Plain and simple. As stated in the article, this is to be a “free” service. Extra staff will be needed to deliver food. Are they going to be paid with thank yous and sunshine? No, that money for their salary has to come from somewhere. This means that food prices will go up for everyone for a service that not everybody will use.

      I live off campus, and I don’t eat on campus that often, but I’m mandated to buy a meal plan anyway. Why should I pay more because some freshman is too lazy to walk 2 minutes to bears den?

  • Enraged student

    I totally agree with Chrys. We’re college students, not hotel guests, and Bear’s Den isn’t that far away from any dorm on the South 40. Get off your fat asses and walk! Not only would this kind of service raise the already exorbitant prices of food on this campus, but encourage unhealthy lifestyles. Really Bon Appetit? Shame on you.

    • Danny Guenther

      Write to SU and tell them to stop it.

  • japple21

    Hey Crys-life CAN come with room service if you don”t have a negative attitude. ok, maybe not for you…

  • japple21

    What a great idea. Congrats to Zipman and Taub for their entrepreneurial
    spirit! Hope it’s a successful venture.

  • John

    You cannot complain about Bristol Palin coming and costing the university 20,000 when you are an advocate for breakfast-in-bed on a weekly basis. Get off your lazy ass and walk the 5 minutes to pick something up.

  • Student

    Can’t wait!

  • wut?

    Please let this be a joke

  • Chrys

    Ingenious business ideas, brought to you by the spoiled, rich kids of WashU. Seriously,how lazy can you be? Sorry, we are not living in a hotel room and wake up, real life doesn’t come with room service.

    • oaaahu

      It does nowwww!!!! YEAHHHHBOYYY

  • student

    Any plans to include the fraternity houses as possible delivery locations?