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In fact, when analyzing mobile ordering further, four additional benefits for the operator appear:

1. Automatic upselling built into the ordering process.
2. An expanded window of time to receive orders ahead of the rush (for example, class gets out at 11:50 and some students place orders immediately versus everyone arriving at noon).
3. No miscommunications since the student was able to select and confirm exactly what they wanted.
4. Less congestion in the dining area because students can order, pay and wait from anywhere (which can lead to greater walk-up traffic).

These benefits may not surface overnight. Despite their technological savvy, it takes time and effort to shift the ordering habits of students. Once implemented, the program requires constant support to run at full speed. Whether using internal resources or partnering with a third-party specialist, dining operators should understand mobile ordering is not a box to check off, but instead a transformation of the service they provide.  

In the end, mobile ordering isn’t about implementing technology for technology’s sake. It’s about making daily life more convenient for students. It’s about building a more efficient operation. It’s about creating a better on-campus dining experience for everyone.  

Ben Anderson is director of campus sales for Tapingo, a tech company partnering with college campuses to provide mobile ordering.