The UCA Food Delivery service began as a class project, but the idea has now grown beyond the classroom, garnering a lot of attention from the campus community after the team completed its first test delivery Feb. 26.
Senior Chris Webb, junior Drew Richardson and sophomores Abby Doshier and J.C. Goffe make up the creative team behind the new service being offered to current UCA students.
“The whole [class]project is ‘How to Start a Business With $20’,” Goffe said. “The other groups are coming up with their ideas and we’re sitting there like a day behind and somebody says, ‘Well, we could have like handyman work and people just hire us to rake their leaves, go to the grocery store for them and do this.’ And after our creative process, we keep talking about what’s more feasible and realize people just want to get fast food delivered to them. So it was kind of a group effort.”
For now, the four individuals will run the service, but Goffe said they plan to hire delivery drivers in the future.
The business is still in its beginning stage, but the team put out a message via Twitter that it would accept orders for a test run during the afternoon Feb. 26.
The business’s Twitter account is @UCAdelivery and has 515 followers as of March 5.
“We had a few messages come back and the concern was they didn’t want to spend cash because they only had cards,” Goffe said. “We had a couple of people say they would definitely do it if we accepted cards.”
Goffe said that after having that experience, the team went out and bought attachable PayPal scanners for their phones, allowing customers to use cards when purchasing an order.
“Also, if someone downloads the PayPal Here app, they can just transfer their money wirelessly to our phones,” Goffe said.
The business is still in its initial stages, so if a student would like to make an order, Goffe said he and the team have decided to only offer services during certain hours.
“We’re going to set certain times, so say 11:00 a.m.- 2:00 p.m. in the afternoon,” he said. “It’ll be a trial period where we can see exactly how the transactions are going to work and what we need to do to make it most efficient and save us money.”
Currently, the PayPal readers charge the team 2.7 percent on every transaction, creating a cost of approximately 30 cents per order.
Goffe said the team wants to eventually get to a point where students can reach the service via Facebook or Twitter and find a Google phone number to place an order with.
The phone number would be linked to the four individuals’ phones so everyone would be aware of what orders were being placed at what time.
The business is not affiliated with UCA and Goffe said if any administrator came to them with a problem, they would simply eliminate “UCA” from their name and continue to market to students.
“[UCA’s Student Government Association] sent us a message on Twitter with concerns about us using the athletics logo so we took it off, but they didn’t say we couldn’t use it,” Goffe said.
The team has not communicated with any restaurants in Conway yet and do not plan to until a more concrete plan is formed.
“We don’t have to talk to anyone,” Goffe said. “It’s like if you and your friends were hanging out and someone wants to make a Taco Bell run, we would be making that run. But if we start making $500 or so a day from one restaurant, we’re going to be smart business owners and say, ‘Hey, we have this many followers, we do this much in sales every day, so do you want us continue to sell your food,’ and we’ll hopefully earn a commission from them.”
Other food options include Panera Bread, Logan’s Roadhouse, Sonic, McDonald’s, Taziki’s and T.G.I Fridays.
For now, the service will deliver from one or two specific restaurants during business hours because they don’t want to spread themselves too thin while out on the road.
Goffe said they take safety very seriously and always sends two drivers per order so no one delivers by himself.
The business advertises itself as a food delivery service for campus students, but Goffe said they are prepared and want to deliver to places outside the main campus.
“Even if it’s not affiliated with the university but is still in its vicinity and is heavily populated by students, we will go there,” he said. “You also need to have a UCA ID or we can’t give you the food.”
During the initial phase, the team will be charge a $5 fee.
“We chose $5 for now because it is affordable for the consumer and profitable for us,” Goffe said.
If a group of students has multiple orders, then it would be $5 per order so Goffe advises students to group their orders together.
In the future, Goffe expects the fee to be raised marginally, possibly to a charge of 15 percent of the entire cost of the order.
Goffe plans to have a concrete plan soon so they can go to other universities in Conway and set up services similar to their own before someone copies their idea.
Doshier is in charge of the business’ social media sites, including a Facebook page, facebook.com/ucadeliveries, that will be developed further once the business picks up.
“We want to be interactive with the students, so we try to reply to every tweet we receive.” Doshier said. “If students have questions about our services, the [direct message]option on Twitter is a great way to communicate with us and we can answer those questions.
Doshier said the team plans to post special deals on their social media accounts, possibly even leading up to a gift card idea.
“Nothing is set in stone as of right now,” she said. “We are just going with the flow. We appreciate everyone’s patience while we get it all figured out.”
The team said it’s very excited about the direction the service is headed and plans to expand and develop more concrete plans and ideas as they continue to perform test runs, all of which will be advertised on the business’s Facebook and Twitter pages.