York Food Services releases mobile app for online campus ordering

The home page of the YUMO app shows all available stores and their hours of service. (Courtesy of Mahdis Habibinia)

York’s Food Services is now included on the Transact Mobile Ordering App, allowing students on campus to order and pay for their food fully online from select stores. 

The locations available on the York University Mobile Ordering (YUMO) app currently includes on-campus locations of Subway, Tim Hortons, and Starbucks, as well as the Winters and Stong Dining Halls. At the moment, only locations on York’s Keele campus are included. 

When opening the app, users can select their university from the list of options and sign in with their campus ID information. Payment can be done through credit card or through student’s YUCards. While ordering and payment is conducted online, users are required to pick up their order in person. 

“YUMO is a platform that Food Services has been interested in for a while,” explains York Food Services Director Thomas Watt. “We’ve been exploring different options in recent years, however, it was important for us to align with a system that includes YUCard funds as a form of payment. The Transact app accepts YUCards and other traditional forms of payment, which is why we chose to move forward with this specific platform.”

“In terms of timing,” Watt continues, “we felt it was important to introduce YUMO now because we wanted to provide the community with a means of pre-ordering meals to avoid unnecessary line-ups at food service locations, to aid in physical distancing.”

Kelly Christiano, interim chief marketing officer of Transact Campus explains that during their 15-year partnership with the university, York has built a formidable on-campus ID solution.

“In response to the challenges presented by COVID-19, including the need to reduce in-person interactions and expand contactless options, the project to launch Mobile Ordering was expedited. Transact is privileged to serve the York community for the past 15 years and hopes to continue this partnership for many years to come.”

Kaitland Jelot, a fourth-year english student who lives on campus, details how this app could be useful to students living in residence during the pandemic.

“Let’s say you have a class in about half an hour, you have just finished another class and have 30 minutes to get food. This is a great tool to use so you can still get food and be on time for your next lecture. You can even order during a lecture so when it finishes you can just get up, go, pick up, and not worry necessarily about lines.”

On-campus eateries have been deserted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with accessibility to on-campus food becoming more difficult. The restaurant industry in particular, Watt explains, has been one of the most negatively impacted institutions. 

“Restaurant owners rely on a consistent flow of customers to cover their high costs, making it extremely difficult to remain profitable when business is slow. Extremely slow business has been an unfortunate reality during the pandemic.” 

“For this and other reasons many of the restaurants on campus remain closed. However, York has made efforts in maintaining a selection of Food Services to support our community members that remain on campus, especially those in our residence buildings,” he says. 

“The pandemic certainly impacted the campus environment in many ways, and the Mobile Ordering implementation was accelerated to help address food accessibility,” says Christiano.

While the app currently only allows a select number of businesses to choose from, Watts intends “to expand to more locations across the Keele and Glendon campuses as we see an increase in populations.”  

“If they add more places on campus to it,” states Jelot, “I think it will make life a bit easier for people living on campus.”

About the Author

By Sarah Garofalo

News Editor

news@excal.on.ca

Sarah is in her fourth year of Film Studies at York University. She is passionate about using writing as a tool to educate herself and introduce others to hidden stories and new ideas. In the future, she hopes to continue her studies in film and merge it with her love of writing and journalism. You can always find Sarah sketching, painting or endlessly watching films while waiting to get back into movie theatres.

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