For the Love of Tendies: Students Develop Code to Find Tenders in Dining Halls

By Caroline Skiver

One of the anonymous members of @umich.tendies, holding their favorite food: tendies.

The pursuit of chicken tenders is an endless endeavor. Golden, crispy, and always warm, it’s no wonder why. So, a group of students decided to make it easier to find them.

@Umich.tendies is an Instagram account dedicated to finding chicken tenders in MDining’s halls. The tendies team, who would like to remain anonymous, are doing this simply for fun. As one member put it: “We don’t want fame, we literally just want people to know about chicken tenders.”

Using knowledge from EECS 183, the tendies team created a web scraping code to search the MDining website ten days out at a time for chicken tenders. The code accounts for how many days are in each month, including leap years, to give accurate information.

A snippet of the code that searches for chicken tenders on the MDining website.

Before the code was developed, a member of the current team would search for chicken tenders manually. They would spend five minutes each day clicking into individual locations and meals to find tenders, until they realized that there had to be a better way. Now they can search for any item with the code — but chicken tenders are their focus.

The team would initially share what locations had tenders in their group chats until, one day in South Quad, a friend suggested they create an Instagram account to share their findings to other students. @Umich.tendies was born.

The team started with their friends following the account, with the first post going up December 10th 2019. However, they quickly gained 300 followers after a meme referencing them was posted to the Facebook group Umich Memes for Wolverteens.

While the code is automated, a member manually shares an Instagram post every day. And while they could automate this as well, they like how this extra step maintains the “fun personal project element” of the account. Somedays a personal message is attached to the announcement, such as “make the most of today.”

Surprisingly enough (or perhaps just a testament to how much people love chicken tenders), it’s not the first code developed to find tenders in the dining halls. A previous student developed a website that also used code to search the MDining website. However, that website does not check the current day for tenders, only future dates.

From East Quad lunch to Markley dinner, chicken tenders are popping up everywhere. Even more, South Quad just began offering them every day! Thanks to the dedication of these undercover tendies lovers, you can never miss a chance to have them.

Dedicated to the care and feeding of Wolverines.

Dedicated to the care and feeding of Wolverines.