By Katharine Hall
Sewanee Eats, a new food delivery service founded by students Tari Kandemiri (C’18), Blaise Iradukunda (C’18), and Daniel Evans (C’18) officially launched on Sunday, March 5. The new service designed for the Sewanee community—available to students, faculty, and the surrounding community—will bring food from local restaurants to customers in their dorms or houses, in their study spots, and even at parties and other events.
The idea came to Iradukunda while he and Evans were on their way home from Nashville with some friends over the summer. They spent a lot of time thinking and planning until they spoke with Kandemiri at the beginning of second semester, and the three began to put their idea into action.
Kandemiri thought Sewanee Eats was a cool idea and is excited to use what she has learned in her computer science and business classes. Evans feels the same way and is eager to use the codes he creates for class to actually make something.
The service’s website SewaneeEats.com allows customers to place orders for food from different restaurants in the area. Customers pay with Venmo or card, and Sewanee Eats delivers the food to the location of the customer’s choice. The goal is to connect people and their favorite foods and restaurants.
The service officially kicked off on March 5, with the first of many weekly specials. For the specials, Sewanee Eats chooses a certain restaurant, generally somewhere students don’t normally go, and allows customers to place their order starting Saturday night or Sunday Morning. Customers can order anything on the menu that Sewanee Eats provides, customized to their liking with accessories and sauces, and Sewanee Eats will bring the orders to campus early in the week. They will also bring extra food for people who do not get a chance to order.
The first weekly special, Chick-fil-A, helped them jump-start the service. They created a Facebook event to spread the word and told their friends. “I think the response from students has been really positive,” Kandemiri says, and she is “super thankful for that.” According to Evans, Sewanee Eats received “over 30 orders in a span of just about a day and a half, right up until the closing.”
After Spring Break, in addition to the weekly specials, Sewanee Eats plans to begin on-demand orders, where customers will be able to order food from the restaurant of their choosing to be delivered whenever they want. Once they fill out their order online, they receive an email confirmation with an overview of the order. The food will then be delivered to the location of their choice.
Sewanee Eats also plans to give out promo codes so customers can get discounts on their orders. These codes will be found on the website, social media, flyers, and stickers, ensuring that everyone can see them and get the discounts. Sewanee Eats wants to make sure this service is accessible to everyone, allowing them to get what they want. As the company evolves, they want to make sure their prices are appropriate, so they don’t alienate anyone.
Kandemiri and Evans share that they hope the new service will stimulate the local economy. It will provide more access to restaurants so that Sewanee residents will be more likely to buy their food. They think Sewanee Eats may end up benefitting the university as well, as students will probably be more likely to order from Pub and Stirling’s if they can have it delivered to their dorm and don’t have to walk there.
They also think it will be great for late nights when students might want Waffle House, or on hangover mornings when they don’t want to go to McClurg. Evans suggests they may even deliver students food from McClurg.
The creators are very excited for the future of their business. “Let me tell you what—we’ve got plans,” Evans says. They are hoping to make an application that people can use on their phones to make the business even more convenient. If they are successful, they will consider allowing customers to order more than just food from restaurants, such as groceries or items from CVS. Evans and Kandemiri point out that they will not be delivering alcohol, though. The company is only in its initial stages now, but they are going to keep pushing and making improvements.
Kandemiri says that it is “really crazy to see something you’ve worked on come to life.” Sewanee Eats is now an official business, and Kandemiri, Evans, and Iradukunda find that they are not only using what they have learned in their classes, but they are learning a lot more as they continue to develop the company.
They each have their own strengths they contribute to the company, but they say they have all learned a lot from each other so that “now the lines are blurring between our specific jobs,” according to Evans.
Kandemiri says they have had “a lot of people we may not know personally say how much they love the idea” and that they are hopeful for the success of the company. Everyone loves food, so they hope that this will be a way of bringing people together.
For more information about Sewanee Eats, visit their website SewaneeEats.com or follow them at @SewaneeEats on Instagram and Twitter.
Pull quote: Everyone loves food, so they hope that this will be a way of bringing people together.