Boston College Dining Services has introduced a mobile pick-up window at Hillside Cafe meant to streamline the ordering process and decrease wait times.
Orders can be placed through the GET Mobile application. Students can log in using their Agora Portal username and password, and use all forms of dining money tied to their accounts to pay for their order (excluding mandatory meal plan money). Credit cards can also be attached to an account.
As a result of Hillside Cafe's popularity, wait times for food and drinks can be very long during peak hours. The new system is intended to reduce these wait times by expediting the ordering process.
With the app, students can pick up orders as quickly as 30 minutes after placing them. They can also set orders to be ready at a certain time. So, a student in a rush every morning can order their coffee the night before, and pick it up on their way to class.
Most meals and drinks generally provided by Hillside are available to order, although some more complex meals such as omelettes are not available while the system is still in its infancy.
BC Dining began using the window—located to the left of the cafe bar—after a soft opening late in the fall semester. Faculty, staff, and a small group of students created a small amount of traffic to test the efficiency of the system.
After receiving feedback and familiarizing employees with the new window, BC Dining began marketing it to the rest of the student body. GET became fully operational in February, when Hillside began posting signs and advertisements to encourage students to download the app.
Associate Director of BC Dining Megan O’Neill believes the application is efficient and easy to use. She also notes that Hillside effectively handled the small numbers from the soft opening, and that many initial users have already become regular users of the window. If the initiative is successful, BC Dining will consider expansion to other locations across campus.
“Eventually we would like to expand to other busy locations, but want to make sure we have the system and flow down in Hillside,” O’Neill said, “We chose Hillside first since it is extremely busy during lunch & dinner rushes, and is a convenient location for faculty and staff as well. That's the beauty of mobile ordering, anyone can use it and everyone can benefit from shorter lines.”