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.”

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