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Students express frustration over ordering Brown meals through GET Mobile app

Some students have encountered technical issues with online meal ordering service

As one of the many students assigned to live in the Omni Hotel for the spring semester, Tommy Bellaire ’23 has to plan ahead for the trek across College Hill before engaging with campus dining options. But this process has posed unexpected challenges for him as he now has to navigate the GET Mobile app and the frustration he says comes with it.

Since the fall semester, the University has used the GET Mobile app in its dining operations, allowing students to pre-order customized meals for pickup. While the app was only used for Andrews Commons in the fall, the opening of Josiah’s for the spring semester added a second option.

Some students who spoke with The Herald expressed frustration with ordering through the application.

The app requires students to manually type in their Brown username and password before selecting a time for meal pickup. At times when students have already filled every time slot, the app does not allow students to choose a pickup time. Other times, students go through the process of filling their cart with their desired meal, only to then be notified that their order cannot be submitted.


According to Director of Dining George Barboza, these student-cited issues are partially due to Brown Dining Services’s limited capacity which depends on the output its staff is capable of producing at a given time — determined by physical size of a dining hall and its layout.

Bellaire has found that difficulties with the  ordering process hinder his ability to plan ahead. Often, he misses the opportunity to order entirely.

“Not knowing when I can get food from these dining halls has been very stressful to say the least,” Bellaire said. “It’s very frustrating to figure out after I filled my cart that I can’t (place my order).”

Citing long wait times, Chloe Rosenkranz ’23 said, “If I want lunch, I have to order two hours before I have it, and same thing with dinner.”

Rosenkranz also expressed frustration with the app’s interface. She must log in every time she wants to order after scrolling through a list of colleges to select Brown, she said. 

Rose also experienced technical difficulties where, after submitting her order, she would receive a notification hours later that her order had not gone through.

“Orders will ...  get canceled,” she said. “At 4:30 you’ll order your dinner for 7:30 p.m., then at seven, you’ll be getting dressed to go pick it up, and you’ll get a notification that says, ‘Sorry, your order has been cancelled’.”


But while meals from Jo’s and Andrews account for roughly half of the daily meals prepared and distributed, students also have the option to pick up food from the Sharpe Refectory and the Verney Woolley dining halls, which function on a continuous schedule, according to Barboza. At these locations, students can swipe their ID cards and pick up various food offerings for each meal without having to pre-order. 

“There’s always food available during meal times,” said Victoria Rose ’23. “I’m not going to miss a meal because I couldn’t get a slot because I can always go to the V-Dub or the Ratty,” which she added is “sad” but “not a huge impact.”

The transition out of the meal pickup system that ran during Quiet Period has allowed “increased variety and menu options at all locations,” including campus favorites, like chicken fingers at the Verney Woolley and the “Spicy With” at Jo’s, Barboza wrote.

But Bellaire hopes that there would be more transparency surrounding what time Andrews and Jo’s will open and accepting orders, and wishes there was a system to ensure students get a “more equitably distributed” chance to eat at Andrews and Jo’s.

Since the onset of the pandemic, Brown Dining Services has had to change its operations in order to accommodate both student needs and public health precautions, according to the University’s Plan for a Healthy and Safe 2020-21. “We expect that for the duration of the Spring Term, Dining Services will continue to operate as it is now,” Barboza wrote, “unless there is any significant shift in overall university status.”

With additional reporting by Livia Gimenes


Jack Walker

Jack Walker served as senior editor of multimedia, social media and post- magazine for The Herald’s 132nd Editorial Board. Jack is an archaeology and literary arts concentrator from Thurmont, Maryland who previously covered the Grad School and staff and student labor beats.

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