Business students learn through campus food delivery service

Release Date: 1/20/2012

It's raining and you're hungry. No umbrella. Do you walk to the cafeteria and get wet, or just starve? Or your desk is piled high with work. No time to stop for lunch. What do you do? What can you do?

Menu for the Eagle's Nest Café delivery service, by SIFE and PBL.

Students in SIFE and PBL have started a delivery service which allows faculty and staff to place a lunch order with the Eagle's Nest Café

Thanks to Assistant Director of International Studies, Eric Leon, and the students of Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE) and Phi Beta Lambda (PBL), it is now possible to email your lunch order and have it delivered right to your office.

"The idea had been going around for quite awhile, two or maybe three years," says Leon. "One of the students said to me wouldn't it be nice if pizza could be delivered directly to their dorms. I said, well, you call Pizza Hut and they'll deliver - the student didn't know - but after that it occurred to me that we can do the same thing with the Eagle's Nest, right here on campus, and they have a much broader menu selection."

Leon said his main concern previously had been finding the right students to take on the project. "The problem then was the commitment of the student project leaders to start the project and keep on going with it," he said. "That's always the challenge. But this year I felt the SIFE and PBL leadership had the necessary skills and commitment to do it. I was just waiting for the right moment."

The original idea was that the $1 service charge for delivering meals would go to support SIFE projects. "However," Leon says, "after talking it through with all the people involved with fundraising to make sure we weren't violating any rules or regulations, everybody agreed it would probably be best if the profits from the project went toward some sort of charitable activity, in this case meaning all the proceeds will go directly into the student scholarship fund. That also includes any tips received from deliveries." He added they might use a small amount of their profits to cover their own expenses. "Some labels and some printing material," he said. "It's very minimal."

Leon said plans are to continue the delivery service for faculty and staff through the end of March, until spring break. "But if everything works out fine," he said, "we have discussed continuing it after that, through the end of the semester and beyond, which really is the main idea. From the SIFE point of view, any project we undertake is judged on several criteria, one being the continuity of the project. And if we can keep it alive, that would definitely give us a better chance of winning at SIFE regional and national competitions."

Because the delivery service is a SIFE/PBL project, several member students have been placed in charge of the project. "Right now we have two project managers, Eddwing Madrigal and Andrea Murillo," Leon said. "They are both in PBL and SIFE. Andrea works at the Eagle's Nest and can give us 'insider information' such as changes in the menu or items she feels we should emphasize. They both suggested we develop the weekly special - not necessarily something different, just emphasizing something good that's already there. Last semester we did that with the chicken wraps and did get extra orders because of that."

Murillo and Madrigal are also in charging of finding out which participating students are available to make deliveries. "Working with different people's different schedules is a challenge," Leon said. "If no one else is available to make the delivery, the project leaders are in charge of making it happen. The only rule I told them when we started was that if we began this project, it had to be kept alive, and no matter what, that food must be delivered. Because if not, we take the blame. It's a basic issue of customer service. We have to deliver, no matter what."

Leon and four students all have access to the SIFE email where the orders come in - sife@ozarks.edu - which he said is "hopefully a failsafe method of assuring the orders will always be received and the deliveries made on time."

He said only once had an order gotten past all the project members and as a result was delivered late. "In that case I made the decision at the end to go ahead and give it free," Leon said. "It doesn't matter if it was five minutes late or twenty, it's the commitment that counts. And actually it was a good thing in one sense - it showed all the students involved how serious the project is and how badly the whole project can be affected by mistakes. That's what the delivery service is really about, after all: teaching the students how 'real' the real world is. Usually they only see it from the customers' point of view. This way they get to experience it from the other side."