EatShare is a peer-to-peer social food delivery app for college students. Compared to UberEats and DoorDash, its couriers are students who deliver food to each other, allowing us to charge zero delivery fee on all orders.
We designed and prototyped the app on Figma, and you can interact with it right here:
In this article, we discuss our goals and our users. We also highlight two parts of the app that we thought are the most unique and innovative: the home screen and the direct messages feature.
Pain Points & Goal
Our product is driven by pain points we experience personally. College students are known to be too hungry and too lazy. We love ordering food that can arrive at our doorsteps at a low price. However, the current food ordering platforms do not address or give rise to the following problems:
- Small order fee & delivery fee add up
- No last-mile delivery to dorm rooms or academic buildings
- Not social
Our product seeks to address these problems.
Our immediate users are Penn undergraduate students. More specifically, we hypothesized that freshmen, who were required to live on campus, (pre-COVID), were more likely to use our product than upperclassmen who were living off-campus. If the product is successful, it can be expanded to other college campuses.
After defining the user segment, we considered the following likely user cases:
- Ordering lunch while studying in an academic building
- Group ordering dinner with friends at a party
- Ordering late-night snacks while studying in the dorms
We wanted to create radically new features to fulfill all three use cases listed above. We ultimately came up with the following features that we'd like to highlight:
- A home screen that displays, in real-time, open group orders and friend's activities
- Direct messages for restaurants to communicate to users and send personal coupons
Feature #1: The Home Screen (real-time, social by default)
EatShare is designed to be real-time and social. Here are our thoughts when we designed this screen:
- Real-time: First, on the top of the screen, we designed an in-app notification banner. Unlike system notifications, this banner serves to remind a user if they have an open invitation to join an active group order. It stays on the screen until the order/invitation expires. Next, in the section called "Join a group order," we have a list of open public orders that any user can join. On each order, there's a countdown timer that indicates the time left before the order expires. This scrollable list of open orders is updated in real-time by syncing with our Firebase Firestore.
- Social: The premise of the app, which we confirmed via user research, is that college students are more likely to purchase a good if their friends also purchased it. We believe this can be applied to food ordering by letting users know where their friends are eating at. In the section called "Where your friends ate," we do exactly that.
Feature #2: Direct Messages
A crucial feature we implemented was the ability for restaurants to directly talk to customers in the app. We envisioned a feature, much like the messages feature on Robinhood, where restaurants can send personalized messages, coupons, and deals to different segments of customers. This way, the app is not just a food-ordering app, but a platform where merchants and customers can interact in a more conversational and natural way.
In the left screenshot of an earlier prototype, you can see that a user can message other users or a restaurant. In the right screenshot, you can see that a restaurant can send custom deals, coupons, and messages to individual or groups of users. This way, a restaurant is no longer just a logo in the app, but something users can interact with using natural language via messages.
We brought innovative features through smart design choices to our product. I encourage you to explore other sections of the app using the Figma embed above, as we only covered two of the most important features I wanted to highlight.