Five Ryerson students are developing an app called “RU Hungry”, designed to help vegetarian and vegan students manage their food budget and find eateries that cater to their needs.
The idea for the app stemmed from an entrepreneurship assignment the team received.
“The main problem we found while interviewing students was really how far they were willing to go between class to get food,” said Calow, a second-year creative industries student and member of the team. “It came out as literally maximum 10 minutes; if it’s too far, they’ll settle, and we don’t want you to just settle for something that’s five dollars overpriced or isn’t really within your diet.”
Calow’s team wants to leverage the advantage of being in a city filled with so many different food outlets by adopting an approach that lets the consumer design the app with them.
“We are in the process of speaking to people and visually communicating those improvements to them to see what they like and what they don’t like,” said Calow. “We created Google forms to get answers to questions such as ‘Are you a residence student on a budget who thinks it’s hard to find food that’s affordable downtown to eat? Are you vegetarian/vegan?’”
The team consulted the Ryerson Eats pod to seek additional perspectives. Within a week of interviewing, they realized that the problem was more widespread than anticipated and the demand was very real.
“Basically, what we are selling is information,” said Calow. “We want to be able to make a very user-friendly app that’s really visual, where you can have filters for your budget, your diet type, [and] your distance.”
Calow recognizes that students have a limited budget, and specifically mentioned that the team is in the same boat as other students and is trying to make their lives easier.
The RU Hungry team also wants to partner with other restaurants to offer discounts or coupons. For example, Calow explained how some supermarkets offer conditional discounts or promotional events; he feels that the app should be a one-stop shop that contains all that information so that students don’t have to seek it out on their own.
“The major challenge is going to be actually making the app. It’s going to require some sort of investment, whether that comes from the DMZ, Ryerson, or ourselves,” said Calow.
RU Hungry is expected to launch by the end of this year.