Ohio State students have more options for late-night food delivery this semester. That’s the work of OrderUp, a web-based service and app that brings food to customers from restaurants that don’t deliver themselves.
The premise of OrderUp’s service is simple — a customer is able to order food from a variety of local options, and OrderUp aims to deliver that food in a timely matter.
“Our goal is to deliver the complete delivery experience,” said Nick Miesen, the owner of OrderUp Columbus.
The value of the service varies depending on the amount of food ordered, as OrderUp charges a flat delivery rate of $3.99 regardless of the size. While the service gives customers access to more options, it’s a steeper price than some other campus restaurants that deliver themselves.
The service was designed to give customers a wide range of food options in the surrounding area, with a category setup akin to review websites like Urbanspoon or Yelp. OrderUp has relationships with a growing number of local restaurants, including McDonald’s, Chumley’s and Melt Bar & Grilled. Customers can view a complete list of restaurants on the OrderUp website and see deals offered exclusively through its service.
After an order is placed online, an OrderUp driver is notified to retrieve the order from the respective restaurant and to deliver it to the customer.
OrderUp entered the Columbus market in June, but the company is already working toward expansion. Miesen attributes the company’s rapid growth and success to a combination of technology and local outreach. “We have the advanced technology to be able to leverage a large national brand, but we are able to apply it locally,” he said.
The technology works similarly to car services like Uber or Lyft — when an order is placed, contracted drivers are then notified and can accept the job.
Miesen said one of the key advantages of OrderUp is that it’s local, and each market is run by a franchise.
“We’re connecting and engaging with this community constantly. This really resonates with students, as they’ve recognized we’re not that big company coming from the outside in,” he said.” Students are quickly seeing us as the fun guys who hand out free food, swag (T-shirts, koozies, etc.) and fliers with really incredible deals. I love the reactions, because it’s not ‘Oh, not another flier,’ but ‘Oh my gosh, a $3.99 large pizza? Thank you!’”
The company has used guerilla marketing techniques to build its brand on campus, including passing out fliers to students and leaving them around newsracks as well as doing a number free giveaways
Meisen said the company try not to be pushy though.
“We’ve been standing on the streets advertising to students, and if they don’t seem interested, we let them go. We don’t want to be those guys that chase you down and bother you,” he said.
Honing an image is something Miesen said should bring in customers and encourage people to work for OrderUp.
Because each market is a run by a franchise, customer service is better than nationally-run competitors, Miesen said, because it allows local OrderUp managers to handle and kinks in the system, which he believes customers appreciate.
“Things happen, we’re not all perfect, but if we can show up and pass out some extra OrderUp swag, that’s a lot better than getting a call from 500 miles away,” he said.
The company seeks to foster positive relationships not only with OSU students, but with local restaurants as well. Students gain an easy way to discover and order food from home, while partnered restaurants receive publicity and a wider scope of customers, Miesen said.
Victor Ruiz, general manager at the 1972 N. High St. McDonald’s, said his restaurant “wants to deliver a great guest experience, and we work to meet the needs of our guests. If delivery is a way to do that, then that’s something we want to be a part of.”
Reaction from students have been mixed, however.
Troy Nissen, a fourth-year in civil engineering, isn’t too keen on the delivery charge. “$3.99 is a little pricey if I’m just ordering for myself, but it’s great that they deliver anywhere on campus. A lot of places won’t go past Indianola or Summit.”
Emily Selio, a fourth-year in speech and hearing science, hadn’t heard of anything similar service and said it was a welcome addition.
“It’s definitely new, there’s never been anything like it on campus, and I like that,” she said. “I’m curious to see how quickly they’ll be able to deliver on busier days.”
OrderUp has already taken hold in more than 30 cities across the country, and the company shows no signs of slowing down. As business increases, OrderUp plans to expand its services to both the Short North and Grandview Heights areas.