Mayflower Eats: the Freshman 15 just got a lot easier

This weekend marked the launch of Mayflower Eats, Colby’s new on-campus dining delivery service. May- flowerEats is an entirely student-run business, founded by Michael Logan ’18. Logan spent this past summer working for HubSpot, a software marketing company based in Boston. He lived in Brighton, Mass with 13 other college students, two of whom started an on- campus dining delivery ser- vice at Middlebury College: GrillMe. Logan explained that, “they have a very similar model–it’s a NES- CAC school, it’s an isolated town, and everyone rushes to their version of the Spa.” With these parallels, Logan believed GrillMe’s success could be replicated at Colby.

Until 2015, Colby had its own version of an on-campus dining delivery service. Students could order food over the phone and have it delivered to their door. This service was directly affiliated with Colby, and ran through Bon Appetit and Sodexo, Colby’s former dining service. Clubs, sports teams, and other student organizations would cover shifts and use them as fundraisers, running food on selected nights and working for tips. However, as Logan pointed out, college students’ lack of disposable income made this method frustrating for food runners. Students were reluctant to tip heavily, and therefore food runners were consistently making less money than they were anticipating. This factor made groups less inclined to cover shifts, making scheduling more difficult. Eventually, this service stopped running due to lack of food runners.

Mayflower Eats, however, is a privately-run business with no direct affiliation with Colby. Inspired by GrillMe’s success, Logan decided to revamp this delivery service into one of with more incentive and staying power. It, in fact, is a subsidiary of UniDel and was founded in partnership with GrillMe’s owners.

Mayflower Eats is registered as a private business through Campus Life. Logan created and documented a business plan, met with members of Bon Appetit, and received approval from the Office of Campus Life at the start of this academic year. Mayflower Eats began advertising with posters on campus and through Facebook. Approximately twenty Colby students work for Mayflower Eats as order monitors and food runners.

“We pay more than any on-campus job,” Logan explained. “It’s the best paying job [a student] can get on campus.”

Committed to providing the best and most efficient service possible, Mayflower Eats makes online food ordering simple: students can go to the website, MayflowerEats.com, where they will find the complete Spa menu with the prices for each item. They will also have the option to modify their order before adding items to their cart, similar to an online shopping platform. Upon checkout, students will be able to view the list of items they have purchased along with a delivery fee before submitting their credit card information for the final purchase. The delivery fee, which is typically between three and four dollars, comes from an algorithm developed by Mayflower Eats that calculates an appropriate surcharge based on the level of activity for the night.

Once the order has been submitted, it is received and processed by a Mayflower Eats employee sitting at a computer in the Spa. This employee monitors and places orders for the night as they come in. As new orders come in, Mayflower Eats employees, “hop in line and place an order, just like any other student, and then pick it up just like any other student. Then, instead of bringing it back to [their] room, [they’re] going to bring it to a kid that orders,” said Logan.

This entire process takes approximately 20 minutes, and the service runs every night from 8:00 pm until Spa closing. Students’ new ability to order food to their room with a small delivery fee eliminates the pressure of tipping that the previous delivery service relied on (although students can still tip as they see appropriate).

Opening weekend was an overall success for Mayflower Eats. As with any new business, beginning glitches and inefficiencies are inevitable. One student commented that, after a small glitch with the website, she called to check on her order and was met with overwhelmingly positive and friendly service. She also explained that, as a delivery service, it was relatively inexpensive compared to restaurants near campus with similar food options, and she looks forward to using the service again in the future.

“We want to provide the best service possible,” explained Logan. “I understand that there’s a lot of work going on in a college kid’s life. You have to make it worth their time. I think the labor side is really easy–either you’re sitting at a computer and placing orders, or you’re running around campus, which I think could be a blast.”

Mayflower Eats hopes to build on this weekend’s experiences and make necessary modifications to further their success. The website is in the process of becoming more accessible and easier to navigate on a mobile device, allowing students to place orders from their cell phones. This increased accessibility adds a larger demographic to Spa customers, leading to a potential increase in overall revenue. The convenience of the food ordering process accompanied by the transparency of the process and strong working incentive could give Mayflower Eats the coveted staying power the previously existing delivery service lacked.

For any questions about employment opportunities, please email Michael Logan at malogan@colby.edu.