Grubhub courier delivering food to college students

College Meals: The Importance of Efficiency and Convenience

College students are a unique consumer group—they’re managing academic workloads, navigating newfound independence, and juggling the responsibilities of adulthood. In other words, they have a lot going on. To meet students’ needs and earn their business, your university dining program must focus on two things: efficiency and convenience.

Why do students need fast, convenient college meals?

Everyone loves convenience and efficiency, but these factors are particularly important in a university environment. To understand why students need easy food options, it’s important to understand the factors that affect college meal choices.

1. Busy schedules

Research shows that college students have between 4 and 6 hours of free time every day. That number can shrink dramatically when you factor in employment, studying, and extracurricular activities such as clubs and intramural sports. As students get closer to graduation, they may have even less time due to more challenging classes, labs, and research projects.

In a study conducted at Cornell University, students explained that the lack of time affected their eating behaviors in a few key ways:

  • No time to shop for or prepare healthy food
  • Forced to eat at random times
  • Not able to access nutritious food quickly

Under these conditions, students often turn to restaurants that deliver fast, efficient service. That way, they can pick up a quick meal on the way to class or order delivery directly to a study group.

2. Stress levels

College can be intense, especially for people who’ve just made the transition from high school. Frontiers in Psychology reported that academic workloads, demanding studying requirements, underdeveloped time-management strategies, and a lack of a strong support network lead to higher stress levels among students.

For students who are concerned about classes and other obligations, convenience is paramount. When your restaurant makes it easy to order and access food, it can help ease students’ mental load. This is particularly effective for on-campus restaurants because of their proximity to classes and extracurriculars.

3. Preference for convenience

Practical limitations aside, students have a baked-in preference for convenience. They’ve grown up in the era of instant gratification; most are accustomed to contactless payments, ad-free streaming TV, and one-click online shopping. The same goes for food service—69% of Gen Z use third-party food delivery services such as Grubhub. If campus restaurants can offer convenient delivery or pickup options, it’s easier to stay competitive with off-campus establishments.

Create a convenient college meal experience with Grubhub On Site

Most college dining programs have room for improvement when it comes to convenience and efficiency. Grubhub On Site delivers on both fronts, bringing mobile ordering, self-ordering kiosks, and delivery to all your campus dining outlets.

Need even more convenience? Grubhub’s industry partnerships make it easy to integrate campus card payments, self-driving delivery robots, and smart food lockers. That way, students can order and pay for college meals in seconds and choose the pickup or delivery option that works best for their schedule.

If your dining operation is ready for an upgrade, get in touch today to find out how Grubhub On Site can help.