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Food delivery service at MacEwan University satisfies campus cravings

An innovative company created by MacEwan University business students is delivering food to hungry students, and expanding to other post-secondary institutions.

StudentsEat has delivered more than 2,000 orders to students and faculty

StudentsEat co-founders Sagar Dasaur, left, and Ismail Khalil, right, say their company has successfully delivered over 2,000 food orders on campus at MacEwan University. (Min Dhariwal/CBC)

Lineups to get food from coffee shops and restaurants at MacEwan University can eat up a lot of time. In some cases students have to queue up 25 deep.

"It's a big campus," said second-year student Jade Staines. "Some places you have to go through two different buildings just to get a coffee."

But now, thanks to a company created by MacEwan business students, getting food delivered to wherever you are has become a reality at MacEwan University.

'Wow! We're onto something'

StudentsEat co-founders Ismail Khalil and his friend Sagar Dasaur came up with the idea a year ago while studying in the library.

Neither wanted to leave their workspace to battle the long lineups for food.

That's when they came up with a service to deliver food anywhere on campus.

"We started an Instagram page, no app or anything, and within a few hours we were getting messages like, 'Can you get us a McChicken, can you grab me a Big Mac?'" said Khalil.

"We really didn't know what to expect but after our first 100, 200 orders like that second week, we were like, 'Wow! We're onto something.'"

As demand grew, they built a website and created an app which allows the user to order food from it directly. They also service restaurants within a one-kilometre radius of campus. 

"We launched a concept on Jan. 30 of last year and in the course of about 55 business days we completed around 564 deliveries," said Dasaur, the other half of StudentsEat.

Realizing there were already companies that offered the service, Khalil and Dasaur set themselves apart by signing a deal with food outlets on campus, making StudentsEat an option to have food delivered.

'A market that's never been tapped'

"We thought it was a market that's never really been tapped on campus, we thought it was a great idea," said Kris Bruckmann, executive director of MacEwan Campus Services. "You know any idea that's created by students, for students, that employs students, is just perfect."

Within the last year, the company has completed more than 2,000 deliveries, raising close to $10,000 in revenue. StudentsEat employs over 85 students. Deliveries are made using insulated bags to keep hot food hot and cold food cold.

The service charges $3.99 per delivery. Employees get a portion of the delivery fee and keep all tips.

"We employ students; students have knowledge of the campus, so if you're in a study room, a lecture room or even in the middle of the cafeteria it doesn't matter where you are, that student will bring it to your exact location," said Dasaur.

The company has also signed on with food vendors at the University of Alberta, meaning no other companies can deliver U of A campus food to people on campus.
StudentsEat co-founders Ismail Khalil, left, and Sagar Dasaur, right, show off the insulated bags used by students to deliver food on campus. (Min Dhariwal/CBC)

The next step for StudentsEat is to ramp up its marketing. Despite having orders in the thousands, there are still a lot of potential customers who don't know the service exists.

NAIT and NorQuest College have also come on board. Food delivery at those campuses will begin in the coming months.

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