MealMe, a company known for its app that aggregates and compares all the major restaurant delivery apps, is headed to the college market. It will soon launch at Syracuse University and is currently available at Indiana University.
The MealMe app, which the company calls “search engine for food delivery,” compares the various delivery apps like Grubhub and Postmates as well as some smaller, more regional services. Upon opening the app, users can search for a restaurant or food type and compare pricing, delivery times, and other elements across the different services.
The app aims to streamline the process of comparing pricing, wait times, and other elements across the different delivery apps, and to connect users with the best deals in their area. In the last year, the MealMe team has also added a checkout function to their app, so that a user doesn’t actually have to leave the MealMe interface to order from, say Grubhub.
That said, MealMe is strictly an aggregator and does not charge people for use of the app, although users can add a “MealMe” tip to their order. The company has deals with the major third-party delivery providers.
The app originally launched in 2016 as a kind of social network for food. The idea struggled to gain much traction, and MealMe reinvented itself in March of 2020 right after the pandemic struck the U.S. and subsequently forced restaurants to shift to delivery and takeout orders. That same year, the company was accepted to the TechStars Atlanta accelerator program.
While the MealMe app is running across the country, the college market is an area the company’s founders are specifically targeting. It launched at George Washington University in January, and has since added Syracuse and Indiana Universities to its roster. “Although we are live, technically, we want to form relationships with individuals at every university and do a hard launch at every school so that people know about MealMe,” MealMe president Matthew Bouchner told Syracuse-centric news site The Daily Orange.
MealMe joins a number of companies developing different ways to bring more food delivery to the college and university sector. Recently, hospitality platform C3 announced a deal with Graduate Hotels to bring virtual food halls to many a college town across the U.S. Starship, maker of the autonomous six-wheeled rover bot, has been delivering food to students for a couple years now. Even legacy players are involved, the best example being Aramark and its 2019 acquisition of order-ahead app Good Uncle.
College campuses have long been an important market for the food delivery sector. Having a presence at a university means potential exposure to tens of thousands of people from the student body population. Additionally, the major delivery services already deliver to college campuses, so MealMe’s new audiences will most likely already be used to getting their meals via digital- and delivery-centric channels.