New contactless and delivery-based services like Starship robots and Good Uncle are beginning to provide students with hot meals without making a trip to a market, restaurant or dining hall on campus.
The newest of these services is ASU's partnership with Good Uncle, a service that offers students hot and healthy meals delivered to them on and near the Tempe campus.
Meals from Good Uncle can be delivered throughout the Tempe campus as well as at drop points near campus like Vista Del Sol, Adelphi Commons, Sonora Center and 922 Place and can be paid for using debit or credit cards, or Maroon and Gold dollars.
“This program begins with our team preparing the food at ASU, and then upon the students placing an order through our mobile app, we will finish the cooking process in smart ovens in the Good Uncle vehicles,” said Dylan Gans, director of growth and marketing at Good Uncle.
From there, students can watch Good Uncle drivers deliver their food through the app to drop points throughout campus.
“The students will get their food piping hot as opposed to some other third-party delivery apps where the food could be sitting out for upwards of 30 minutes before reaching the student,” Gans said.
Gans said Good Uncle will also sell its products in retail stores for students to bring back to their dorms. Good Uncle's menu offers dishes like brown rice bowls, pastas, salads and combo-style plates.
Shanice Curtis, marketing manager at Aramark, said ASU and the food provider are always looking to find ways to better cater to students' needs.
“There is always room for us to open the food for other innovative programs," she said.
The team determines what students' needs are or what they are looking for are based on Sun Devil Dining surveys. Curtis said the team wants to make sure all students' needs are met, which is why they are introducing new dining options on campus.
"When it comes to dining, we are always looking for the most convenient way to add variety to the services offered along with the best customer service we can for the students," Curtis said. "By hearing your feedback, we are able to add new programs like this based off of your needs."
Dining collaborations beginning during the COVID-19 pandemic have been well-received by many students, namely the introduction of Starship robots to the Tempe campus earlier this semester.
To use the robots, students purchase food from select restaurants off of the Starship app and robots deliver the order to a destination of the user's choosing.
"I've tried the Starship robots before with my roommates and it was such an easy and fun experience," said McKenna Gordon, a freshman studying biomedical science.
Gordon said she looks forward to trying new alternative dining options on campus.
"I like the alternative dining options a lot because with COVID we did not have to wait in the dining hall, and it was nice to have different options than what are normally available," Gordon said.
Lauren Kobley is a reporter for the Community and Culture desk at The State Press. She has previously interned with the Fountain Hills Times.