New food-ordering app spreads to several Hanover restaurants

by Savannah Eller | 4/25/19 2:00am

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Lou's Restaurant and Bakery is one of several restaurants on Hanover's Main Street that has enrolled in Snackpass.

by Peter Charalambous / The Dartmouth Senior Staff

A new food-ordering application is gaining popularity among College students and restaurants along Hanover’s Main Street. 

Called Snackpass, the app allows students to order food in advance for delivery or pickup at participating restaurants. Since the app’s Hanover launch last month, 10 restaurants have joined the app and over 2,000 students at the College have created accounts, according to Kevin Tan, who co-founded the app with Yale student Jamie Marshall and Ohio State University alumnus Jonathan Cameron. 

Tan said he co-founded the company in his senior year as a takeout and rewards app for New Haven, CT restaurants. He added that over 80 percent of campus was soon on the app. 

“It was really cool to see that it was something that my friends use,” he said. 

Snackpass then expanded to cover the campus of Brown University and eight other colleges in the Northeast and California, according to Tan. Dartmouth is the latest addition. 

“We think it’s going to be great,” Marshall said. “Dartmouth is a great little campus, and it’s so walkable.” 

The app is currently in use at Base Camp Cafe, Boloco, Jewel of India, Lou’s Restaurant & Bakery, Noodle Station, SamosaMan, Salt Hill Pub, Sushiya, The Skinny Pancake and Tuk Tuk Thai. Restaurants list their menus on the app and have the ability to post discounts and promotions. While all of the restaurants offer take-out options, only some offer delivery. 

Marshall said the app is small-business friendly and focused on making eating out less expensive. Recent promotions have included free crepes at The Skinny Pancake, a free entree at Tuk Tuk Thai and discounted breakfast sandwiches at Lou’s — though some of these promotions have been scaled down.  

“During some slow hours in the afternoon, a restaurant can run a flash promotion,” Marshall said. “We can send out a message to students letting them know where they can get a good discount.” 

According to Tan, Snackpass distinguishes itself from other food-ordering apps with a “robust” social aspect. Users create personal profiles and can “gift” accrued purchase points towards free food to friends also connected on the app. 

“What we’re trying to do is make ordering food cheaper, more convenient and more social for students,” Tan said. 

Ramy Hanna ’22 said he downloaded Snackpass when he heard about free food promotions at Tuk Tuk last week. He said he appreciates the app’s convenient menu listing for each restaurant.

“It’s all listed right there, so you can look and find what you want,” he said.

Upon agreeing to join Snackpass, restaurants receive a tablet to keep up with incoming orders. Salt Hill Pub assistant manager Isabelle Parrott said the new system has made takeout orders run more smoothly, as customers using the app free up time devoted to taking phone and in-person orders.

“It’s a lot easier than having to call in, come in and wait,” she said. “You can just pick it up and go.” 

The Noodle Station co-founder Chris Gale said that since joining the app, his restaurant has not received a significant influx of new online-ordering customers. He said he does remain optimistic, however, as Snackpass grows on campus. 

“Honestly, it’s great that it’s a slow start,” he said. “It helps us ease into this.” 

Since its founding in 2017, Snackpass has grown into a company that makes $8 million per year with eight employees, according to Tan. He said the company recently moved its headquarters to Berkeley, CA and is posed to expand to 100 campuses nationwide in the next 18 months. He said Snackpass would stick to its “bread and butter” of expanding in college towns only, although the app could easily be adapted to other locations. 

Tan said his company’s goal is to have Snackpass in every restaurant in downtown Hanover. He added that he is confident the platform will grow.

“Paying with cash or credit is in the past, and mobile order is the future,” he said.