CAS to implement online ordering in various restaurants on-campus

Campus Auxiliary Services plans to establish online ordering capabilities in some dining locations, including Fusion Market, Mary Jemison Dining Hall, Max Market and Starbucks (pictured above).  Students have expressed excitement for this change. (Annalee Bannison/Photo Editor)

Campus Auxiliary Services will introduce its online ordering system in early February. The preliminary offering will be for select stations, and is intended to decrease lines and wait times for students and faculty with busy schedules, according to CAS Marketing Manager Rebecca Stewart. 

CAS plans to phase in online ordering for Starbucks, Lotus at Fusion Market, Smokehouse and Butcher Block at Max Market, the smoothies and deli stations at Mary Jemison Dining Hall, Uncle Vito’s pizza delivery and Celebration Cakes, Stewart said.  

“Really the idea behind it is that students, faculty and staff are able to preorder the meals from the restaurants and then select from an available pick up time,” Stewart said. “They’ll be able to completely skip the ordering line, helping to save a lot of time and helping them with time management between classes, activities and everything else people have going on in their lives.” 

The system underwent two testing periods with various faculty members and employees, as well as student employees and resident assistants last semester, according to Certified Executive Chef Jonna Anne. The second testing phase is scheduled to end this week, right before the system opens to the campus. 

“We did do a very small testing phase with internal people in December,” Anne said. “We just wanted to make sure that the major kinks are out. We wanted to make sure that when [people] place an order that it actually went to the place that it was supposed to go, which it didn’t do the first time we turned it on.” 

The online ordering system will be linked with the university’s system, so students can log in with their Geneseo credentials to ensure all of their information can be quickly transferred and they can immediately pay, according to Stewart. Patrons will pay as they place their order, rather than at the cashier station after receiving the food. 

Other anticipated external issues include people forgetting when they placed an order or not being able to pick them up on time, according to CAS Executive Director Mark Scott. 

“I don’t know that people will altogether forget that they placed the order,” Scott said. “I just don’t know that they will remember that they chose a pick-up time of noon and they may come at 12:30. Life gets in the way … so we’ll have to deal with some of that.”

CAS hopes to engage in a conversation with the campus on a regular basis to continue to implement changes and improve its quality of service, Scott said. 

“We imagine that, over the next year, there will be continued improvements in the system,” Scott said. “So [we want] regular dialogue and regular feedback from the campus community on what’s working well and some patience as we work through the system.” 

Student feedback from the test groups has been generally positive thus far, according to Stewart.  

“Some people are excited because they feel like they can make healthier choices when they order online because they can sit and they can evaluate without the smells and the other influences on their decision,” Stewart said. “They’re actually making healthier choices through online ordering, which is an interesting effect that we wouldn’t necessarily anticipate, but is exciting.”

Pre-childhood and special education major sophomore Brooke Francis expressed her enthusiasm for the addition of online ordering. 

“I am thoroughly excited,” Francis said. “I like that I can be in class and order Fusion and go to Fusion and I don’t have to wait 30 minutes on line anymore.” 

International relations and psychology double major sophomore Ian Oxman also believes the new system will have a positive impact.

“It seems nice how you can come from class and be able to use it,” Oxman said. “I feel like it sounds good, but I don’t know if I’d ever use it necessarily.” 

Online food ordering services have steadily been increasing in popularity, with use of food services like GrubHub. There is expected to be a 79 percent surge in the total food delivery market in the United States by 2022, an increase from $43 billion to $76 billion, according to a July 2017 article from CNBC.

“The people we serve everyday are increasingly living in a virtual world . . . so it stands to reason that we should be delivering our services more and more online,” Scott said. “Our folks would love to see the smiling faces of our customers every single day, but if it makes life much more manageable . . . then so be it.”

News editor Malachy Dempsey contributed to this article.