Grubhub, an aggregator in the food industry, is utilizing technology to provide greater convenience for college students and establish long-term loyalty. According to Madeline Maguire, senior director of B2B marketing at Grubhub, investing in ways to enhance the on-campus dining experience for college students can lead to future customer loyalty. She stated, “Acquiring these diners earlier in life and providing a great customer experience—the better we can do that, the better long-term retention that we see.”
Grubhub made a major move in this space with its $150 million acquisition of campus food ordering platform, Tapingo, in 2018, which allowed for direct integration into college meal plans and point-of-sale systems. The aggregator has since partnered with campus payment solution provider Transact, enabling students to view and make purchases from Grubhub’s marketplace via Transact’s app, paying with their campus cards.
In addition, Grubhub has introduced on-campus smart lockers for meal pickup in partnership with Apex and robotic delivery on campuses. Maguire highlighted that “robot delivery solves the unique challenges of accessing hard-to-reach areas that come with operating on a college campus.”
The demand for convenient options among young consumers is high, particularly with Generation Z consumers seeking out restaurant delivery. PYMNTS research reveals that 69% of Gen Z consumers reported having used a third-party food aggregator in the previous six months, up considerably from 54% just a year earlier. Gen Z represented a greater share than any other generation, with only 64% of millennials, 40% of Gen X, and 14% of baby boomers and seniors reporting the same.
Given this high demand, the student demographic represents a significant opportunity for players in the food industry. Cost- and value-centric initiatives are crucial to securing their loyalty in the short-term future, with convenience being essential in building longer-term relationships. Maguire noted that “we’re going to continue to see innovations in and we’re going to continue to see students really expecting higher levels of customer service from all of their tech providers. At the end of the day…we win in this space when we make students’ lives easier.”