Ordering on food points does not necessarily require a phone.
During Orientation Week 2011, sophomore Sam Waters developed the idea for the business now called Radoozle, a website that allows for online food ordering using food points. Students can make online orders at the Loop, Food Factory, Dragon Gate, TGI Friday’s, Chopped Greens and Bread-n-Kabob.
“I thought it was ridiculous that you couldn’t order online,” Waters said, noting a time when he tried to order food over the phone and was placed on hold for a while.
Radoozle came out of Waters’ frustration and since then, the business has developed. Waters said he was pleased when he heard some students refer to the online ordering process by saying “Let’s Radoozle it.” He and sophomore business partner Spencer Dahl have been working to promote the website by putting up flyers around campus, using media outlets like Facebook and taking advantage of word of mouth among students. Although the number of site users is relatively small compared to the student body, participating businesses like The Loop have seen an increase in orders coming through Radoozle.
“Radoozle makes ordering easier for students,” Loop employee Tina Perry said. “They can order food beforehand and pick it up between classes.”
This has proven to be convenient for students who have little time between classes or cannot place an order over the phone.
“I have all of my orders saved on the site, so it only takes two or three clicks to order,” sophomore Connor Kozin said. “It’s much faster than calling the restaurant, and it’s nice when I’m in the library and can’t talk on the phone.”
With Radoozle, orders do not get lost in translation as they do on the phone, Waters said. He and Daniel Brain, a professional programmer from the United Kingdom, worked to streamline the ordering process during the summer and continued to refine the site. Since the start of the school year, Waters and Dahl have been contacting both on-campus restaurants and businesses affiliated with Merchants-on-Points to include more options on the site. But contacting managers and getting them to put trust in the company has not been an easy process, Dahl noted.
“We have to go [to the restaurants] five or six times just to get [our] foot in the door,” Dahl said. “It’s essentially a full-time job.”
Waters and Dahl had help from Campus Enterprises in acquiring some of the businesses. Campus Enterprises had good relationships with Dragon Gate, TGI Fridays and Food Factory and had set up online ordering through formstack.com, which was similar to the format of a Google Doc. Waters noted, however, that the previous system lacked a proper interface.
“They had the basis and the relationships, but we really worked on the technology,” Waters said.
After speaking with sophomore Griffin Cooper from Campus Enterprises about Radoozle, Campus Enterprises merged their online ordering business with Waters’, agreeing to settle for a portion of the profit made from the online ordering of these restaurants. Radoozle now has six restaurants from which students can order, but more are expected with the launch of a Radoozle mobile app in the next few months. The Loop manager Owen Slomianyj thinks this will increase the revenue for both the Loop and Radoozle while making ordering easier for students on the go.
The Loop’s cooperation with Radoozle also encourages Duke entrepreneurship, Slomianyj added.
“We didn’t have any online ordering system, and I like the idea of supporting a Duke student,” he said.
Convincing businesses to join Radoozle was exciting for Waters, who said he had been working on the legalities and logistics of setting up the site since last Spring. The business was busiest during finals week last semester, he said. More students order food for delivery when spending hours in the library studying for exams, and this influx of new customers is now creating a steady flow of orders on Radoozle.
“We have good turnover once people get on the site,” Waters said. “The hard part is getting them to get on the site to begin with.”