On September 1 a new type of dining option became available to UR students. The system, OffCampusFood.com, promises to answer the diverse food needs of college students through its online ordering service.
Founded and created by junior Ben Margolis and Eastman School of Music graduate Jon Quiones, OCF focuses on creating a smoother and simpler transaction of getting great food from some of the best independently-owned restaurants that the city has to offer.
“On-campus food is priced ridiculously high with little room for diversity – we are trying to relate to the diversity of Rochester with our diverse food options at a cheap price,” Quiones said.
Here’s how the system works. A user would go online to the OFC Web site and register with their name, phone number, and where the food is to be delivered. Next, the user selects food from the menu of the restaurant of their choice. Finally, the user makes a selection, customizes the order and then pays for it with a credit card on the site or with cash upon delivery.
It is even more beneficial for the restaurants that work with OCF. Margolis and Quiones have adapted the online ordering system to be available for the “little guys” of the food industry at an extremely low cost. Previously, the system was only financially available to larger food chains.
Through this system, restaurants never have to pay a membership or advertising fee and are able to showcase their products to some of the largest consumers of food – college students.
Also, since OCF does not work with corporate food chains and never works with more than one restaurant selling the same type of food, each restaurant has an equal and open market to sell its food.
Margolis and Quiones have another goal for OCF. The two want to get OCF involved in community activities and eventually fulfill its motto,”Feed the Need.”
“We are working to have food that is not paid for, or not picked upon delivery, to be sent to local needy shelters,” Margolis said.
When first envisioned, OCF was created only to cover the college campuses of Rochester. Plans about servicing the greater Rochester community are now gradually being put into effect.
OCF is even planning to expand beyond the city of Rochester. By early next year, the company’s founders plan to integrate a similar system of online ordering for college campuses in Buffalo and many other northern New York cities.
Regardless of how far they expand, the pair always plan to keep OCF headquarters right here in Rochester.
“Some of the largest companies in the world were created in Rochester, and we plan to be one of those companies,” Quiones said.
So far Margolis and Quiones say that they have received a lot of positive feedback from the OCF Web site.
In the future, they plan to add on more unique restaurants and further options, such as ordering food from different restaurants under the same bill and buying groceries from the OCF Web site.
Also, they plan to create individual Web sites for each restaurant, where potential customers can go in and explore the restaurant’s history, read reviews by actual customers and truly discover the atmosphere of the restaurant from which they are ordering their food.
The relatively new online ordering service currently provides services to and is supported solely by UR students at the River Campus, Strong Memorial Hospital and Goler House.
The make-or-break of the OffCampusFood.com foundation, notes Margolis, is going to be based on the response of UR students towards online ordering.
Bloch can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org