Tapingo is a dining service app utilizing quicker pick-up and delivery to make the on-campus dining experience better, according to Taylor Sutton, SGA’s dining services chair.
Universities like the University of Southern California, the University of Arizona, Ohio State University, Oklahoma State University, the University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas at Austin are currently partnering with Tapingo.
“Tapingo thrives at schools that have tightly knit internal communities and a strong retail environment,” said Vivek Wagle, head of brand and culture with Tapingo. “Right now, we work with more than 200 universities across the country, and we’ve become the number-one mobile ordering app on campus.”
— Sac State Dining (@sacstatedining) September 25, 2017
Wagle said that Tapingo believes the service will provide a tremendous value to students, faculty and staff, allowing them to spend their time in more fulfilling ways than waiting in line.
Sodexo looked at bringing Tapingo to campus roughly a year-and-a-half ago but had a bug in the point of sale system, the system which reads meal plan cards, according to Michael Dahl, general manager of Sodexo. Now that Tapingo has fixed the bug, dining committee and Sodexo have started to gain traction.
“We do believe that Tapingo will add even more flexibility to the dining experience on campus,” Dahl said.
The project, however, is a two-part idea including quicker pick-up and delivery as two separate projects. The initial stage of Tapingo includes quicker pick-up.
“One of the problems we see on campus all the time is long lines on campus,” Sutton said. “Bistro Burnett and Chick-fil-A are plagued by long lines. Nearly every student on campus has suffered through the lines.”
Bringing Tapingo to campus, the dining committee believes, would revive the original purpose of Bistro Burnett and Chick-fil-A as a quick stop to eat before class.
Sutton mapped out how students could utilize the initial stage of Tapingo. By ordering through the app, students would pick their meal up once they arrive, thus skipping the line.
“The reason why we are bringing Tapingo to campus is to alleviate these long lines,” Sutton said. “We think students will really like the convenience of Tapingo.”
Dining committee’s goal for stage one is to bring it to campus by the end of this semester with a “soft rollout” over summer break.
The second stage of Tapingo, delivery, offers job opportunities for students who would like to deliver.
“The second stage is further down the line,” Sutton said. “If the quick pick-up option is popular, they’re going to go ahead and pursue the delivery option.”
Neeley Acree, a sophomore business student, said she feels isolated from on-campus dining options living in Worth Hills.
“A delivery service would seriously solve this problem,” she said. “I already love to deliver food via apps like Favor and I think having something like that on campus would help students to get food while not having to travel so far. If we can keep the delivery fee low, I feel students would jump at the opportunity to get food fast.”
Acree said the service will make students living across Bellaire Drive feel more connected to campus even in the middle of the construction.
“The construction is hard because there is no shortcut path,” Acree said. “You have to take the longest route to avoid the construction. I find myself not wanting to leave because I know the walk is extensive. Whether it be getting to the parking garage or BLUU 2, it definitely can be a walk and I wish there was a quicker way to get food.”
The plan for the future is to add restaurants along University Drive. The first stage of delivery will only include on-campus spots.
“We are working with both the TCU campus and Sodexo to firm up the list of available venues,” Wagle said. “Our goal is for every retail location to offer Tapingo’s service as an option. Our data back up the fact that users benefit the most when they can use Tapingo to order from anywhere on campus.”
There will be a delivery fee of roughly $4, according to Tapingo.
Students living off campus should be able to use the delivery service, as well.
“The whole reason for bringing Tapingo to campus is that it coordinates with our dining plan,” Sutton said. “If you are living off campus and you happen to have a dining plan, you should be able to use it.”
Wagle said that Tapingo’s goal is to provide services to all TCU students, both on and off campus.
Sutton recently sat down with Herbert, Director of Housing and Residence Life Craig Allen and a representative from Sodexo. According to Sutton, the meeting was very successful, making Tapingo’s addition to campus very likely.
“We are working with the school and our partners at Sodexo to have Tapingo launched and available for the start of next semester,” Wagle said. “This will require implementing and testing our systems as well as beginning awareness and marketing over the spring and summer so that we’re all ready to go for fall.”