University News

Eat@Brown app lists dining hall menus, builds on Hack@Brown project

First-years unveil app alternative to Dining Services site, hope to offer forum for menu feedback

By
Senior Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 13, 2016

A team of first-years has launched an app called Eat@Brown that allows students to check the menus at the Sharpe Refectory, Verney-Woolley Dining Hall and Andrews Commons from their phones. The app is a more convenient way of accessing menu offerings and dining hall hours than the Brown Dining Services website, said Joseph Romano ’19, one of the creators of the app. It also allows users to set a default dining hall and easily compare menu offerings between eateries, he said.

“It’s so much easier to just click on the app” rather than navigate the BDS website, said Alex Sekula ’19, another one of the app’s creators.

Some Eat@Brown users have complained that the menus on the app can be inaccurate at times, but Sekula said that since the app retrieves menu information from the BDS website, the app is wrong when those menus are incorrect.

Eat@Brown began as a project for the Hack@Brown, which took place earlier this year. Other than Brandon Welch ’20, the creators had not made an app before making Eat@Brown, so the team had to learn as it went. The language that Hack@Brown is written in was also new for some of the team members, said Sekula. 

The app is relatively simple now, Welch said, but the team has plans to further develop it in the future. The creators hope to implement a feature that would alert users when their favorite foods are being served, Sekula said. Additionally, Eat@Brown hopes to coordinate with BDS to allow users to provide feedback to BDS on various meals, Romano said. Welch said he hopes to make the app Android-friendly — it is currently only available for the iPhone.

The team aims to raise awareness about Eat@Brown by securing official promotion from BDS, Romano said, adding that they could potentially advertise Eat@Brown in dining hall napkin holders or on the BDS website. But even without promotion, the app already has over 300 downloads, Sekula said.