Want Food Now? Use an App

One of my favorite things in life is food. I love cooking, shamelessly taking pictures of food, taking ridiculous Buzzfeed quizzes about what food I am based on my personality, and just savoring food and all of its wonderful flavors. As a college student, my love for food has intensified because with the longer hours spent studying, participating in extracurricular activities like organizations, sports, and internships, as well as balancing a social life, there seems to not be enough time to eat. Thanks to the innovation of the mobile app market, there are so many options for getting food at your convenience. Apps like Crunchbutton, Postmates, and Tapingo allow you to order food from restaurants in your area and then at a designated time, you can either pick it up or have it delivered.

Tapingo was an enormous hit on my college campus when it began promoting itself through USC email three/four years ago. For students trying to grab a quick meal between classes or not wanting to deal with the long lines during meal rush hour at eating establishments on and around campus, Tapingo came to save the day. On the app, students can add their USC dining account or credit card to swiftly order their meal, which can then be picked up (or now through a recent update, delivered) at their convenience. Tapingo heavily promotes on-campus through email marketing to notify users of new restaurant options. However, the one negative that has come through this extensive marketing is that everyone now uses the app, which has caused orders to back up, and therefore has made the wait times for food become sometimes even longer than the wait time if one were to just wait in line.

However, other apps like Postmates and Crunchbutton have entered the market to help dissipate the crowd. They shown up at campus events, setting up booths where they pass out coupon codes for discounts on your first delivery, help you with account set up, and give app-branded swag like sunglasses and pens. I have even come out of class to find discount cards encouraging me to get food delivered in my bike basket. These companies also recruit campus ambassadors through our college career website. Once you are a user on these apps, you receive emails and social media updates (if you follow them) about special delivery deals on certain types of food for the week, promotional codes for discounts, and tips on which new restaurants to try/were added to the delivery list.

The restaurant that always gets the biggest buzz when they are added to a delivery app is Chipotle. In early September, it was announced that Chipotle had partnered with Tapingo to start delivering to college campuses since it is always a large draw among college students. Luckily USC is one of the first six colleges to receive the service and over 100 more will be added by Spring 2016. It makes it hard not to want to order food online or get something delivered with all these promotions and the convenience it provides when you are stuck working or studying (or honestly just being lazy).

The mobile food industry has really taken off in the last two years. Yelp not only shows reviews and pictures of menu items. They have now allowed users to request orders for pick up or delivery online through their direct site/app or by forwarding users to the service the restaurant uses such as GrubHub and Eat24. GrubHub and Chownow help brick-and-mortar eateries not only establish themselves online but also create and assist in execution of their digital marketing campaigns. These vendors make restaurants more accessible to customers by allowing for ordering on all devices followed by alerts to when the food is ready, as well as provide restaurant management with marketing consultation services to start promoting online and app ordering through email, Facebook, and mobile campaigns.

Popular eating establishments such as Pizza Hut, Dunkin Donuts, and Subway have developed apps so that when users create accounts, they can save menu items and credit cards to their preferences which allows for swift ordering in the future. These apps provide nutritional information, store locations, full menu views, product deals in your area, as well as the ability to follow these restaurants on social media to keep up to date with franchise and promotional news. Through digital marketing, mobile food apps have helped businesses prosper by encouraging not only consumption through promotional deals and weekly, if not daily, email reminders, but also user engagement with the brand. Feeling hungry now after thinking about all the food that could possibly be delivered to you? Take a look at FireRocket’s top five favorite takeout apps and spend the night in with some takeout and Netflix.

  1. GrubHub
  2. Seamless
  3. Eat24
  4. GoPago
  5. Pizza Hut and Domino’s Pizza USA

Post Tagged: Apps, Digital, Engagment, Food, Marketing

Originally published at shapingthega.me on September 24, 2015.

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