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Tapingo: Going from Tap and Go to Tap and Wait?

By: Priyanka Jain

At the beginning of last year, Tapingo was one of the best ways to order food. There was no fee for signing up or ordering food unless it was delivered. When students realized last year that they could skip the 20-minute lines at Thompson’s Berry Café or Oxley’s by ordering ahead of time on their phones, they immediately signed up for Tapingo.  With just a few taps on their phones to order, students could pick up their food and keep going about their day with no hassle. At first, it was the perfect solution for people running late or on the go, but now it seems like sometimes, especially during peak times it takes just as long, if not longer to get food from Tapingo.

This year, Tapingo added a $0.20 fee whenever students order with the app. Sometimes this is completely fine, but this can ruin that perfect $8 meal to exchange a swipe and force many to tap into the dining dollars they are trying to save. An extra $0.20 is nothing here and there, but for avid Tapingo users, it can add up quickly.

I have been watching the lines on Tapingo to see where it is best to order food at different times. The lines become really long around the time when class starts and ends, so unless students beat the rush by ordering food 20 minutes before, they have to wait. Around 12:30 p.m. is one of the busiest times because it’s not only when class gets out, but also lunch time. Oxley’s by the Numbers consistently has around 25 people in line for Tapingo at that time, which according to the app is a 20 to 30 minute wait for food. At this time, the line for Sloopy’s starts to grow as well with normally 5 to 10 people in line with a 15 to 30 minute wait for food; however, these estimates are only accurate if a separate set of employees are only preparing Tapingo orders. If the line is based on first come, first-serve between in-person and Tapingo orders, then someone might be forced to wait over 30 minutes for their food.

I normally avoided ordering food on Tapingo if there were more than three people already in line, but this time I decided to see how long it would take me to get my food through Tapingo versus if I were in line.

I ordered a BYO breakfast sandwich and a vanilla soy latté from 12th Avenue Bread Company. There were 3 people in front of me in line, and Tapingo said it would take about 15 minutes for my food. I used a stopwatch from when I ordered to when I saw my food was ready, and it was just under ten minutes; however, I ordered at 2 p.m. when most people are in class and have already had their coffee for the day. When I ordered a breakfast sandwich and coffee at around 10:20 a.m., there were 8 people in line with an expected wait of 20 to 25 minutes, and it ended up taking 40-45 minutes for my food.

Overall, most students can agree that they have had good and bad experiences with Tapingo. Everyone has had that moment when they take a bite into a soggy sandwich or when they pick up cold food. Many have also had the experience when they oversleep and need food before class, and Tapingo saves them over ten minutes. Ultimately, when and where students order will decide if they can tap and go or have to tap and wait.