‘Get free stuff from dining services’

Shannon Hall

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With smart phones being a clutch for many college students, a mobile loyalty card may be the thing to do.

Sodexo, USI’s dining services, put out the app QBOT toward the end of March.

QBOT is a mobile loyalty app for Android and Apple.

“It’s been requested – some type of loyalty program, whether it’s that you punch cards or something of that type,” said Rebecca Robb, Sodexo retail manager.

She said it’s a paperless option, and people tend to always have their phones with them, unlike their wallets.

“We get that a lot – ‘We forgot ours today’ – but nobody forgets their phone,” Robb said.

The app is free to users. Each time a person buys the minimum purchase price for each food option on campus, he or she can scan a QR code and gain a point. The points accumulate and the result is discounted – or even free – food.

“If it does well here, then it will go out into the community and start getting other businesses involved,” Robb said.

QBOT doesn’t cost anything to USI or Sodexo yet. One thousand active users have to use the app so Sodexo doesn’t have to pay anything, Robb said.

“Student can’t just download the app,” Robb said. “They have to be actively using it for it not to cost us anything.”

The minimum prices are from a template QBOT gave Sodexo, said Alysha Klees, Sodexo marketing specialist.

“It was based on what the average check is at that unit,” Klees said. “We wanted to make it obtainable, not something that was so out of reach that people have to be looking for things to buy to reach it.”

She said all students should download QBOT.

“Get free stuff – that’s what you can do with it, get free stuff from dining services,” Klees said.

On the app, people can be VIPers. Every semester, VIPs will receive a one-time offer for 50 percent off a purchase.

“If students are VIP members for QBOT, they will receive push notifications for specials around campus,” Klees said.

No specials have arisen yet, but when they do, only VIPs will know about the offers.

“The only thing not wanted (with being a VIP) is the push notification, but it’s not as intrusive as a text message, so they can always turn off the VIP option,” Klees said. “But that means they are eliminating themselves from discounted items we’re offering.”

With word of mouth and social media sites, Sodexo has heard lots of feedback, mostly positive.

“I would say it’s 99 percent positive,” Klees said. “The only issues we have is what you would have with any new technology. You have some bugs that have to work out, and you don’t realize it until you’re in it and working in it.”

Sodexo staff members are positive about the app’s future on campus.

“If it just bombed, we would discontinue,” Robb said. “But I don’t foresee that.”