Dan Owenby, a recent University of Indianapolis graduate, launched a test run of his website and application called Mealski on Feb. 13 on campus. Mealski not only has created a way for students to have their favorite food delivered to their door, but also has created another opportunity for students to have a job while they are in school.
To order, a customer visits mealski.com on his or her mobile device and logs in with his or her information. The customer then selects a restaurant available in their location, selects food off the given menu, pays at check-out and then waits for the food to be delivered. Owenby said that while there are other delivery applications available on the market, Mealski provides a unique service that can satisfy any customer.
“Other apps and websites, like GrubHub, are similar in the sense that they offer food. But Mealski is unique because you can actually get food from places that don’t deliver. When you get on the app, it will automatically program where you are at, and you can find local restaurants,” Owenby said. “Some of our competitors are more of an online takeout or delivery app for pizza, so we try to program into our customer’s eating habits. ”
The results from the test launch of the application have been positive, according to Owenby, and he believes the official launch with the public also will go well because of the convenience Mealski can provide customers.
“We think it will be really exciting for people, and it will not only be convenient but also improve your productivity,” Owenby said. “If you think about the time it takes you to get to your car, drive to the restaurant, wait for your food and then drive back, it adds up. So if you’re sitting at work or you are studying in the library, we can get it to you faster, and it won’t take away from your time.”
The convenience of a fast delivery would not be possible without the students who deliver for Mealski. There are currently 10 to 15 drivers working for Mealski. Junior exercise science major Dylan Whetstone is one of them. Whetstone said that the convenience and uniqueness Mealski offers is what made him decide to apply to be a driver.
“I decided to become a driver for Mealski because I think that Mealski has great potential and [I like] the extremely flexible hours it offers,” Whetstone said. “I also like it because Mealski stands out from competitors by delivering to your door a variety of restaurant options.”
Drivers are paid five dollars per delivery and keep any tips made as well. According to Owenby, there are several benefits that come with being a Mealski driver that are great for college students.
“The best thing about the job [as a student driver] is that you can do it whenever you want to. . . . You’re making far more than minimum wage if you want to take it like a real job. Or if you just want to deliver some food between classes or on a study break, you can program and be on the app, so you don’t have to stop what you are doing or be at a standard location like a Domino’s delivery driver would have to be,” Owenby said. “You can also text your friends within the app. So there might be some interaction and might be more of a driver community, so it might be a way to meet friends.”
Whetstone also has seen many advantages of his job in these first few weeks of Mealski’s test launch. These benefits have made the experience great so far without any difficulties, according to Whetstone.
“I haven’t seen any challenges as a driver yet. I pick my hours I want to work and when I’m able to work. If I can’t work, I just turn off my notifications on my Mealski app, which means I’m off the clock,” Whetstone said. “This is huge as a driver and really cool for college kids. We need extra money, but have extremely busy schedules. Mealski offers you the chance to pick the hours you want to work without making your schedule a mess.”
Mealski launched in the Broad Ripple area on March 1 and will expand to other Indianapolis areas at times yet to be determined.