Good Uncle, a delivery service founded in Syracuse, NY, is making its way to Elon University in early March. The concept behind the company is not unfamiliar to college students; it’s a meal delivery app in a market already flooded with these services.
What sets Good Uncle apart from the typical food delivery app, where food comes from already-established restaurants, is that the company produces its own menu, Director of Growth and Marketing for Good Uncle Dylan Gans said.
Collaborating with Elon Dining
Elon Dining said they are excited to have Good Uncle join the Elon community.
“We have identified the desire for the student body of Elon to have delivery be an option on campus,” according to the communications team at Elon Dining. “To open this door for Good Uncle, we helped organize a demo for Good Uncle’s technology, service and food to Elon’s administration and student government members.”
According to Gans, Good Uncle takes pride in adhering to the desires of students on college campuses. The company focuses on accessibility and timeliness of deliveries for students to get food in a way that aligns with their schedules.
“There are some natural synergies between Good Uncle and Elon Dining that we believe will provide Elon students with a greater variety of meal options through delivery,” said Casey Claflin, guest experience manager at Elon Dining. “Good Uncle gives students even more food options and the ability to easily grab a bite that best fits their schedule.”
Representatives for Elon Dining said that Good Uncle provides students with additional food options at their convenience, whether it is late at night or on weekends.
Elon Dining said they recognize the value of providing additional food options, specifically food delivery to students.
Gans said bringing Good Uncle to Elon’s campus was a collaborative effort between Elon Dining, student body members and the Good Uncle team.
Elon senior Erin Munley serves as the promotion and revenue lead intern for Good Uncle and is in charge of researching and strategically choosing locations for the most functional drop points on campus.
“Good Uncle produces its food independently of Elon Dining, but by offering a bi-weekly rotating menu, the Good Uncle team is in constant collaboration with the student body and Elon Dining on the best way to optimize its menu,” Claflin said.
How the app works
Rather than delivering meals from various restaurants like Grubhub and DoorDash, Good Uncle creates its own menu based on student demand.
“We are a brand focused on doing good for the campus community,” Gans said.
Good Uncle’s business approach falls under two branches: the operational and analytical side, which focuses on what customers want, and the qualitative and quantitative side, which focuses on internal data based on customer reports.
“At our core, we are a food delivery app but a lot different from the traditional Grubhub,” Gans said. “We cook all of our own food.”
All the food is produced fresh by Good Uncle staff in their regional kitchens. Elon’s kitchen is conveniently located in Burlington.
Each meal is cooked 75% of the way in the regional kitchens. Then, the food is loaded into refrigerated vehicles, where the last 25% is cooked in ovens once the order has been placed, Gans said.
Gans said the company is able to deliver hot, fresh food in an average of 25 minutes. The average cost of a meal is $12, with no delivery fees or minimums. Good Uncle is able to spread out the costs by using a drop point delivery system. Essentially, the drop point system chooses convenient locations on campus where meals can be delivered to multiple students at a time.
Munley said students cannot use campus meal plans to pay for their Good Uncle meal. The app accepts credit and debit cards; however, Good Uncle offers meal plans for students to purchase, making meals cheaper if they choose to frequently order. This gives students the opportunity to replace the traditional meal plan if they live off-campus.
“Dining halls are often not super close to freshmen housing, who also usually do not have cars. Drop points are chosen to be as close to as many people as possible, with a walking time of under a minute,” Munley said.
Tentative drop points include Belk Library, East College Avenue and North Oak Avenue and the HBB lot, but according to Munley, these locations are not finalized and are likely to be changed before the launch date.
“Good Uncle really cares about the students. It’s not just a delivery app,” Munley said. “We are really making sure drop points are accessible, and the food is healthy, cheap, quick and delicious.”
Gans said Elon is going to start out with seven or eight drop points at the time of Good Uncle’s tentative launch on March 8.
“For me, coming to college, one of the things I missed most was healthy meals,” Munley said. “Good Uncle has such a variety of healthy food on their menu that makes them stand out; the food is fresh, cooked immediately and quickly delivered to you. Good Uncle has something for everyone.”
Gans said Good Uncle has food for every instance, is priced reasonably and can be received easily. The brand highlights quality, cost and convenience.
“We designed a service that we believe sits perfectly in the middle of those three pillars,” Gans said. “Our service was designed with college students in mind.”
In an effort to insert itself into the local community, Good Uncle focuses on creating partnerships with campus organizations.
“We want to be a brand for college students,” Gans said. “We are not only a food delivery system, but we are also doing good for the students and the campus community.”
Branding and growth
Gans said that Good Uncle is still a relatively small brand and has plans for expansion in the coming years. The company intends to be nationally recognized by the time current university freshmen are entering their senior year.
“We are still on the earlier side of building up the company. We are relatively small for where we’re going to be in upcoming years,” Gans said.
Although the brand is currently operating on a smaller scale, it is expanding quickly. Gans said Good Uncle is currently at eight schools. Some of those include Syracuse University, Johns Hopkins University and Villanova University, with plans to begin operation at NC State and UNC-Chapel Hill, in addition to Elon, in the spring of this year.
Those behind Good Uncle are focused on maintaining and developing relationships with each campus that uses their app.
“Students run the launch process end to end, working on creating and building partnerships with campus organizations and local businesses,” Gans said.
Working in tandem with students and various organizations, Good Uncle says they are looking forward to having a presence on Elon’s campus.
“Good Uncle is bringing quick, inexpensive and healthy food to Elon’s campus,” Munley said. “It helps remind students of the fresh comfort food they got at home.”