It’s no secret that students are constantly tired of on-campus dining options. Luckily, there’s a new food delivery service coming to campus that may prove to be a game-changer.
Soon, students won’t have to wait until they go home to have gourmet dining options at their disposal. The popular college food delivery service Good Uncle will launch at the university on March 15, the day most students will return from spring break.
Good Uncle is not the average food delivery service. The culinary team that creates the menu for the service is led by Erik Battes, a Michelin-Star restaurateur, James Beard award winner and Iron Chef. Yet, the meals are priced at a reasonable value, ranging from only $11 to $14.
Upon its founding, Good Uncle recognized an issue in the current food delivery market. Other food delivery services, such as DoorDash and Uber Eats, charge clients hefty delivery fees that can raise the price of their meals by $4 to $6. However, Good Uncle has no delivery fees, making the service more affordable for college students paying out of pocket for a meal.
“All students get to a point where we are all bored and tired of the food we get on campus and it’s annoying to pay $5 extra plus taxes when we order food,” said sophomore Dionne Highley, the campus revenue lead for Good Uncle.
She started working as the campus revenue lead in February and has helped the company identify key business strategies based on university demographics and the layout of the campus.
“Good Uncle’s mission is to help bring students healthier, good food that you probably miss eating at home at a cheaper price for you,” Highly said.
The menu changes every two weeks, as needed, and features offerings of every type of cuisine, from Mexican to Italian. The current menu, which is the same at each university, includes entrees like healthy quinoa salads, truffle mac and cheese, roasted salmon plates, desserts like edible cookie dough and brunch items like Beyond sausage, egg and cheese sandwiches. Good Uncle also offers vegetarian and vegan options.
The team will begin to prepare all meals at a facility that is 30 minutes away from campus and then, finish the culinary preparations in the van on the way to the destination. According to Dylan Gans, the director of Growth and Marketing at Good Uncle, meals will arrive between 25 and 30 minutes after an order is placed.
Gans, who was the seventh employee of the company and joined during his undergraduate career at Syracuse University, spoke to the company’s desirability among college students.
“At Syracuse, there was an extremely scarce amount of options that are easy to access and cheap that fit into the college lifestyle,” Gans said. “I felt the need in my community for good, convenient and affordable food options.”
According to Business Insider, Good Uncle was founded in 2016 by Wiley Cerilli, who was also a founding member of Seamless, which is a more widespread food delivery service. Now, the company has about 25 corporate employees and over 100 hourly and local employees, such as line cooks and delivery drivers.
As for the decision to come to the university, Gans recognized the need among students for this type of service.
“[Good Uncle] captures what typical dining options don’t capture,” Gans said. “Location shouldn’t be a factor on getting really good food.”
The delivery service is available when other campus dining services may not be, and it has also eliminated the need for parking or a sit-down meal if a student wanted to dine off-campus.
Good Uncle already operates at other universities on the East Coast, such as Syracuse University, Johns Hopkins University and Villanova University. This spring, the company will open up shop at other universities in North Carolina, including the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University and Elon University.
Good Uncle operates on the “drop pin” model to increase efficiency. According to Highley, there will be several “drop pins” scattered around campus to which Good Uncle will deliver. These locations will include Polo Residence Hall, ZSR Library, Collins Residence Hall and the Poteat/Kitchin parking lot.
There will also be pins on Ewing Street, Deacon Place and Crown Oaks, which will cater to students living outside the university’s gates. In order to market directly to these students, Good Uncle will be offering a “first meal free” discount to students living off campus, who may have a lower meal plan or no plan at all.
However, from experience, the company has noted that many freshmen also choose to utilize the service when stuck in the library and in need of a good meal late at night, when on-campus dining would be unavailable.
“Good Uncle has become a consistent dining option for students,” Gans said. “People definitely rely on us from campus to campus.”
A core pillar of the Good Uncle brand, as Gans described, is “Good Uncle do good.” All of the packaging used is compostable and environmentally sustainable, and the company tries to donate all uneaten meals to local food shelters.
Additionally, the company is currently partnering with Wake ’N Shake. Good Uncle has promised to donate $500 to the Wake ’N Shake team that gets the highest number of members to download the Good Uncle app.
“Good Uncle is consistently working with local organizations to try and find mutually beneficial opportunities,” Gans said.
Through Good Uncle’s program called Flex Cash, students can prepay for Good Uncle credits that never expire and roll over each semester. In prepaying for credits, students receive discounts for purchasing in bulk.
The name Good Uncle reminded its founder, Wiley Cerilli, of family and of someone who introduces people to new, cool things. Good Uncle is the one who’s always in the know.