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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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Why call? Website offers food ordering

College students can do everything from registering for their classes to buying new shoes online, but now they can order Pokey Stix from the comfort of their computer chair.

SimpleDine.com, a website allowing students to order food online from local restaurants, opened on the University of Wisconsin campus last week.

The company’s vice president of operations, Mike Bowers, said there are many benefits to ordering food from SimpleDine.com as opposed to ordering over the phone.

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“Customers can avoid busy signals on the phone, they can avoid being put on hold and they have the entire menu online for them,” Bowers said. “Ordering online is … quicker, reduces errors and ensures a more accurate order fulfillment.”

The website currently includes Tutto Pasta Trattoria, Frida Mexican Grill, Hong Kong Café and four pizza restaurants surrounding the Madison campus. Bowers noted the company is constantly looking to add new restaurants to the site.

UW junior Shauna Martin, a representative in charge of promoting the website on campus, said students will respond well to the ease of ordering food online.

“You go online and you put in your name and all your information and then you can pick which menu you want to order from,” Martin said. “You will be sent a confirmation e-mail and the order gets directly faxed to the restaurant.”

Martin said the website will update frequently to display coupons and specials for some of the restaurants.

The idea for the website started in spring of 2003 when Chris McAleenan, while he was a student at Williams College in Massachusetts, went online to find a phone number to order a pizza, according to Bowers.

“He went to Yellowpages.com to look up a number and then it hit him, ‘I should be able to order my food online,'” Bowers said.

McAleenan then asked Bowers and Jonathan Dodge, both Michigan State students at that time, to be his partners.

Shortly afterward, SimpleDine.com began with restaurants on the Michigan State University campus.

“We launched the site in February of this year, but the idea obviously had been going on for quite a bit of time before that,” Bowers said. “We are currently in our expansion.”

The regional expansion already includes Central Michigan University, Eastern Michigan University and the University of Notre Dame, among other campuses. The website is focusing on college campuses because of the large number of students who use the Internet frequently, Bowers added.

Jessica Rose, a UW senior, said SimpleDine.com is a great idea because college students like to use their computers for practical purposes.

“We take classes, talk to our friends, meet people on the Facebook and now we can order food, too,” Rose said. “I love the Internet.”

Rose said she agrees clicking on her food order online will prevent any confusion over the phone and will ensure a correct order, adding that sometimes when she orders from a restaurant over the phone, she ends up with the wrong food.

According to Bowers, the company is constantly working with the community and talking with restaurants to seek out the best specials for students. SimpleDine.com is always trying to improve its services on college campuses, he added.

“It’s live in Madison now,” Bowers said. “Students can check out the website and order a pizza tonight.”

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