WebFood off to good start, students and admins say

| Assignment Editor
Students say they applaud the University’s new WebFood system. The system, tested this past summer, allows students to order food online and pick it up later at George’s Express, pictured above. (Matt Mitgang | Student Life)

Students say they applaud the University’s new WebFood system. The system, tested this past summer, allows students to order food online and pick it up later at George’s Express, pictured above. (Matt Mitgang | Student Life)

Washington University’s new WebFood program is off to a good start this year, and there is still room for expansion, according to Nadeem Siddiqui, resident district manager for Bon Appétit.

WebFood allows students to place food orders online for stations in the Danforth University Center (DUC) any time of the day to pick up later without having to wait in line. Food orders can be picked up between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. at George’s Express in the DUC.

“The beauty about this program is you can go at 2 a.m.—and strangely, you’re all up—and order your food for the day,” Siddiqui said.

Interested students can sign up for the program online at wuds.webfood.com to select which food items they would like to eat and when they would like their orders to be ready. Payment can be made by meal plan or campus card account.

One of the main advantages of WebFood is the time it saves, Siddiqui said, because “every minute matters.”

So far, most students seem to think WebFood is a positive addition to campus dining.

“The eating facilities on main campus are swamped from 11 [a.m.] to 2 [p.m.], and one can stand in line for over 20 minutes just to order a hamburger and fries,” sophomore Brennan Keiser said. “Some students’ schedules do not allow them this luxury.”

“I applaud the efforts to make daily lunch routine more efficient for students,” he added.

More than 280 students have already made online WebFood accounts. On Monday alone, more than 20 orders were placed. The number of orders is also increasing with each day, according to Siddiqui.

With additional promotions in the works, the number of students signed up for the program and the daily number of food orders are expected to rise even more in the coming weeks.

Since the summer, Student Union has posted videos promoting WebFood and encouraging students to use the program, though Siddiqui said he thinks the most effective form of advertising will be word of mouth. He said he believes some people are still hesitant to try WebFood because they are concerned about the preparedness or quality of food ordered online.

“I can guarantee you both [the preparedness and quality are] a plus,” he said.

The possibilities for expansion will become reality as soon as the program draws in more people.

“I sincerely hope that this idea catches on so more menu items from different eateries around campus will be available for purchase via WebFood,” Keiser said. “It’s innovative. It’s simple. And it’s convenient.”

Due to its initial success, WebFood has had new food items added to the menu, including sushi, chicken gyro and falafel.

“The people who have used it seem to be really pleased with the service [and] food,” Siddiqui said.

Sophomore Becca Tsevat, who used WebFood for the first time this week, said she found it easy and helpful.

“I didn’t have any troubles with it. Essentially, it saves a lot of time,” Tsevat said. “I’d definitely use it again. They had it prepared for me at the time they said.”

So far, the program has not encountered any major issues. Dining Services tested WebFood in a pilot program earlier this summer to guarantee that any glitches were taken care of before students arrived on campus for the school year.

The only issue at hand is that many students may still be unfamiliar with what WebFood has to offer or how to use it.

To help improve or adjust the program specifically to student needs, Siddiqui is encouraging students to provide feedback about the program through the Dining Services Web site or by speaking to dining staff directly.

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