Recent URI grad develops online food court
Dave Lavallee, 401-874-5862
Area firms pleased with business boost
KINGSTON, R.I. – January 3, 2012- Overseas, far from his family and friends, one military man was determined to brighten the day of his girlfriend. What better way to do that than to jump onto Hungryrhody.com and order Sarah Higgins, also a URI student, a delicious meal? As easy as one, two, three, he grabbed a computer and participated in what many people here at the University of Rhode Island are raving about; Hungryrhody.com.
As described by Devin Sheehan, a URI alumnus and co-founder of the website, Hungryrhody.com is an “interactive shopping mall for food.” Those interested can go to the web page to order food from some of their favorite restaurants located at the Kingston Emporium at the top of campus. There’s also a participating restaurant in Exeter. Those who shop through Hungryrhody.com save time by not having to wait in line, have individualized interaction with the site, and potentially save money with discounts.
The website took off on Oct. 8 with the help of Sheehan, his good friend and recent URI graduate, Peyton Warwick, and his father Bob Sheehan. Approximately 2,414 orders have been made to date and there are plans to expand in the near future. The team negotiates commissions with the businesses, but product prices stay the same. Advertising also builds revenue for Hungryrhody.com
Sheehan, a former member of the URI men’s hockey team, graduated from URI last spring with a degree in supply chain management and entrepreneurship. He recently sought help from Warwick, a former member of the URI men’s soccer team, who graduated after the fall semester, with a degree in political science.
Hungryrhody.com offers an interactive list of restaurants that allows people to order meals at any point, from anywhere. By registering with the website, customers can track previous orders and view their ordering history, including how much they have spent.
In addition, Hungryrhody.com offers a delivery service for any restaurant interested in doing so. As of right now Bagelz, Subway, and Simply Thai at the Emporium have jumped on board. Sheehan and his team will also be delivering for I-zone, I-slice, and International Pocket Cafe next semester to off-campus students and homes in South County.
However, as individual as the orders may be, the website as a whole strives to bring the URI community together. It advocates the Rhody spirit through advertisements from local businesses, but not limited to restaurants. At the moment such advertisements include Internet specials from the Tower Hill Landings, a Kingston apartment complex, and Total Image Hair Salon.
Sheehan will also be offering an internship second semester for business majors who want to strengthen their skills in marketing, customer service, advertising, finance, and much more. The internship will be offered to students for class credits.
Sheehan said the website benefits businesses too. Each order is faxed to the restaurant, which reduces the number of phone calls. Restaurants are able to receive long orders in a matter of seconds, and don’t have to worry about the amount of time that an average call-in order would take.
“We wish all orders came by fax,” said Karen from I-slice, “It makes things a lot easier. The faxed in orders save time and the business isn’t rushed.”
For Subway owner Paul, Hungryrhody.com is “doing fantastic things!” He also praised the efficiency of the business. “We didn’t do delivery, and now we can.”
Simply Thai opened quite recently and has only had a few days working with Hungryrhody.com. However, already the business has benefited from Sheehan’s help. The first night the business was listed on the website, it received six orders. The business is grateful for Sheehan’s dedication to delivering its food on time.
In the future, the website will display “Hungryrhody Deals.” Such deals will come from local businesses and will be advertised at the top of the website. In addition to the deals, Sheehan hopes to expand the website to include other restaurants, local shops, and boutiques on the ordering system. One restaurant in particular that is excited to participate is The Rhode House. This new incoming restaurant to the Kingston Emporium will offer a variety of fresh foods including Panini’s, wraps, salads and soups. The Rhode House will have rotisserie chicken, ham, pastrami, and turkey in the “Boston Market” style.
So the next time you’re cramming for your exam, you don’t have time to waste and you’re craving for some hearty food, maybe a virtual trip to Hungryrhody.com will satisfy your appetite!
Follow them at www.facebook.com/HungryRhody and twitter!
Written by URI Communications and Marketing Department intern, Renée Sitnik, an English major at URI.
HUNGRY FOR BUSINESS: The three members of the Hungryrhody.com team pose in front of the Kingston Emporium where many businesses have taken advantage of the online ordering firm. Devin Sheehan, a recent URI alumnus, at right, his friend and recent URI graduate, Peyton Warwick, left, and Sheehan’s father, Bob, hold signs promoting the business. URI Department of Communications & Marketing photo by Michael Salerno Photography.