As students return to college campuses this week, Tapingo is introducing three new features available at all 125 schools where the mobile ordering service is currently in use.
With an average campus coffee shop processing 300-500 Tapingo orders a day, and a busy venue recieving over 800 orders, the platform has grown to the point where it is a household name on some college campuses.
The company raised a $22 million Series C in April, and now processes over 25,000 transactions per day, with the average users placing four orders per week.
However, unlike other delivery apps, Tapingo’s service will be entirely staffed by students. The service is also designed to work with on or off-campus dining options, and students will be able to use campus meal dollars to pay for the food.
Daniel Almog, CEO at Tapingo, explained that the company is uniquely situated to offer the lowest possible delivery fee out of all its competitors. Almog said that this is because deliveries in a condensed area like a college campus means student couriers can be extremely efficient, delivering 3-4 orders an hour.
Student couriers will work on their own schedule and have the option to turn on the app whenever they want to accept a delivery. The company said that students could even turn on the app while going to pick up food for themselves, and end up accepting an order to bring back to the dorms or library with them.
Almog explained that this flexible work schedule will place couriers on the extreme side of independent contractor status, and the company is comfortable classifying couriers as 1099 employees.
Tapingo Delivery will launch on a few dozen campuses this fall, but the company expects the service to be at all 125 campuses by the end of the year.
Scheduled Ordering and Quick Picks
The two other features that Tapingo is launching are designed to increase order numbers in some of the busiest venues on the platform.
The first feature, scheduled ordering, allows students to place an order up to 36 hours in advance for pickup at a certain time. While the concept seems simple, Almog explained that capacity issues at popular venues made it extremely complex.
For example, some of the most popular coffee shops on Tapingo receive more than an order a minute during peak time periods. The company explained that it needs to carefully queue and prioritize orders on the backend so certain time periods aren’t completely congested.
The last feature is quick picks, which lets venues identify items that have minimal prep time (like a bottle of water), so students can order them for immediate pickup. This means students will be able to order certain items and circumvent the standard waiting period. Previously, all Tapingo orders would remain in the same queue, regardless of it was a labor-intensive drink or just a bottle of soda.
These two features are now live at all campuses, and delivery will roll out to more schools throughout the school year.
Disclosure: I was a campus rep for Tapingo in Fall 2013.