Merchant Innovation

Is Tapingo The GrubHub For College Dining?

Students, faculty, and staff at 25 campuses can order, pick up or get delivery through Tapingo’s smartphone app.

Mobile food ordering app Tapingo announced yesterday (Oct. 5) that it has partnered with Aramark to launch campus delivery services during an initial rollout at 25 universities across the country.

Students, faculty, and staff at these campuses can order, pick up or get delivery through Tapingo’s smartphone app.

Aramark, a $15 billion food services provider, is using this partnership to build its growth strategy around mobile. “Across the business landscape, the most successful companies are leveraging mobile to stimulate consumer engagement while streamlining operations,” explained Brent Franks, Aramark’s Chief Operating Officer of Education, in a news release. “The partnership provides us with an opportunity to offer a convenient mobile solution and further strengthens our ability to provide outstanding customer service.” Tapingo’s app is available at campuses including High Point University and University of Central Florida, where it has found successful adoption prior to the expanded rollout.

For Aramark, the partnership comes at a time when the company might be restructuring some of its existing partnerships with universities such as East Tennessee State University. The $70 billion food takeout and delivery industry is still largely offline, where $61 billion of the market takes place, according to Wall Street research reports and company filings cited by TechCrunch. For startups like Tapingo, partnerships with established players could work well strategically.

Investors recognize the potential of this under-tapped market. In 2012, $25 million was invested in food ordering ventures, and that escalated to $600 million in 2014. This year, that number could surpass $1 billion. And a large part of that is expected to go toward raising use and awareness of online solutions.

As noted by Eric Kim, CEO of LA food startup RushOrder, “The key takeaway is that we’re in the very early stages of a broad, secular shift to online/mobile ordering. And it is this paradigm shift in the industry that is the driving force behind all the dollars being thrown into the space as investors place their bets on which horse ultimately turns into that proverbial sought-after unicorn.”

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