The Maroon

New website makes ordering food simple

PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY TIFFANY KUDIWU/ASSISTANT PHOTO EDITOR

PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY TIFFANY KUDIWU/ASSISTANT PHOTO EDITOR

LAUREN HINOJOSA

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Most students would agree that food delivered straight to campus would help those late-night library study sessions.

Sean O’Neil created Couchster.com for that purpose. The website is designed so that you can order food from participating restaurants and have it delivered to your location.

Couchster has up-to-date menus for partner restaurants. The online ordering feature makes the site convenient for days when you want to order food, but do not want everyone to hear what you are ordering.

“You can’t exactly whip out your phone in the middle of class to make a takeout order, and sneaking off into the hallway to do it isn’t much better,” O’Neil said. “But if you can place an order right off your laptop or phone’s browser, no one’s going to notice or care, and guess who’s going to have a hot lunch ready for them when they get out of class?”

O’Neil said the idea came to him during his days as a student at Tulane University. He would find himself ordering too much pizza since that was the only food that delivered at the time.

When he created the site in April 2012, he already had a few restaurants in mind to partner with. The website has been live since September 2012, and began taking orders after Mardi Gras. O’Neil said the restaurants that will be using the site first will be Honeydeux, NOLA Po Boy, Jugheads and Slim Goodies Diner.

“We’re looking to get twenty-five to forty restaurants by the end of the semester,” O’Neil said.

O’Neil explained that Couchster.com is unlike competitors such as Take Out Taxi and NOLA Food Delivery because the site does not charge a delivery fee or service fee, but instead makes a commission from orders placed through the site.

“I didn’t want customers to have to pay any more ordering from my site than they would if they placed their order in person, because I don’t believe that’s right,” O’Neil said, “I want to make people’s lives easier, and a service fee doesn’t help accomplish that.”

Kayla Mitchell, a criminal justice sophomore, said this site would help her on days when she has a tight schedule.

“With my hectic schedule, it would be nice if food would come to me every now and then, because I rarely have time to make it off campus to pick anything up,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell said that knowing which restaurants have delivery or takeout options would help.

“I never know what restaurants in the area will deliver to campus,” Mitchell said, “By the time I even go figure that out, it’s just easier to find food on campus.”

Having a website to go to where all of the restaurants have their information at hand will help students who are wanting to try something new but do not know which food options they have, Mitchell said.

Claire Herman, a sociology sophomore, lives on campus and orders takeout every now and then. Herman said that she would like using Couchster since the site is quick and easy.

“It’s great to have so many options, and it’s especially nice if you’re able to order online,” Herman said.

O’Neil said that the site offers many unique features that make the site easy to use. Restaurants are able to receive orders straight to their Point of Sale system, making it easier for employees and cutting out extra fees for the customer.

The search bar makes navigating the site easy for customers who have a specific food in mind.

“It really makes everything so easy to use, because no matter what you’re looking for, be it a specific restaurant, a type of food, or maybe you just want to see what’s around in your neighborhood, you can just type it in there and find it,” O’Neil said.

O’Neil said that what makes his site different compared to competitors is that he will make sure the site offers what the customer wants and will do so quickly.

“If we don’t have a restaurant on the site, and you tell us you want it, we try and get it up within 24 hours,” O’Neil said. “I don’t think you can find that kind of responsiveness anywhere else.”

Lauren Hinojosa can be reached at [email protected] 

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