A proposal by the Information Technology Advisory Council (ITAC) for a web-app that would enable online ordering at Jack Magee’s Pub and Grill has been proposed to Dining Services. If Dining deems the project valuable enough, it may come to fruition by the end of the academic year or in the fall of 2014.
“It’s not a done deal,” said Chief Information Officer Mitch Davis. “[Staff from Dining] are interested, but we have yet to meet with them to talk about it.”
If all goes according to plan, Davis and members of ITAC will meet with Dining Services to start making progress on the proposal before winter break.
“[We have] to talk about what [the web-app] would mean from both sides of the fence—what the students would desire and what Dining feels would work for them,” said Davis. “We’ll do a little survey from students—Is this valuable? Do you think it’s interesting—and if we find out there’s a lot of interest in it, then we’ll go ahead and put some effort behind it.”
Davis shared the idea with Bowdoin Student Government at a meeting on November 13, where it was well received by student representatives.
Matt Glatt ’14, founder and co-chair of ITAC, who also came up with the idea for the Pub web app, said the concept came about naturally.
“I thought, why keep calling the Pub, it’s really annoying—there has to be a more efficient way of [ordering],” said Glatt. “The business process at the pub isn’t what it could be. The cashiers spend most of their time taking calls rather than cashing people out, so it would take some stress off of them and help make things run smoother.”
According to Glatt, the proposed web app would work similarly to online ordering sites at places like Domino’s or Papa John’s. Students would go to a website, select items and toppings, submit their order and receive a wait time. Formatting the program as a web app instead of a smartphone app will ensure compatibility across all devices with access to the Internet, including computers.
Each year, ITAC proposes 20-30 projects, but only implements three to five, according to Davis. In order for the pub web-app to make its way onto the devices of Bowdoin students, it must show potential to benefit both students and pub workers. So far, it seems like an advantage for everyone involved.
With the possible addition of the app, students would no longer have to wait as long after ordering on the phone or in person, even the Pub’s busiest times.
This also means Pub employees would have fewer phone calls to answer. Plus, Glatt said, the web-app will not be difficult for workers to maintain or regulate.
“It links directly with the pub’s back-end ordering network so the cashiers don’t have to input anything—it’s all done automatically,” said Glatt.
According to Glatt, the implementation of this new technology shouldn’t result in any change in the number of employees at the Pub. However, Davis pointed out that there are potential issues that need to be considered.
“You could create a situation where, say, 100 students call in 15 minutes and Dining couldn’t respond,” Davis said. “There has to be a way to measure what’s in the queue.”
The project is in an early stage of development right now—the next steps include design, implementation, testing and launch.
But, as Davis said, at this point “it’s just a matter of programming time.”