Wilf’s testing new app through Kik

Photo by Jessica Dik
Photo by Jessica DikErika

Wilfrid Laurier University’s campus restaurant, Wilf’s, is currently in the process of beta-testing their online take-out system or “app” through Kik Interactive. It is currently in its third week of testing with specific groups on campus, such as Residence Life and the BU111 and BU121 teaching assistants.

The system of ordering takeout essentially works by the consumer putting their order through a Kik chat where a “bot” will respond, take the order and then send the order back to Wilf’s.

The chat is currently not available to the student body.

Demi Oba, a fourth-year business student, currently works for business development at Kik and is a Residence Life don at Laurier.

The idea came about through lengthy discussions with Jeyas Balaskanthan, the director of hospitality services.

“I think the basic idea is that people are kind of getting app overload at this point. So people kind of have their go-to apps and what they need, but among those apps are chat apps,” explained Oba.

“So if you can use the chat app not just to connect with your friends or your family, but to also connect to the world around you and start to build a platform, then you’re really onto something.”

Balaskanthan said using Kik as the platform was the right decision as the company understands what the establishment needs and a chat platform is distinctly different from other food apps currently available, such as JustEat.

“Demi being a part of Kik, being a Laurier student and knowing the Wilf’s culture makes it special that there is an overall thought process and commitment to do something right,” he said.

During this testing period, Oba and Balaskanthan agreed that the app is a step in the right direction in increasing efficiency.

Instead of physically being in the restaurant or calling, sending a few messages to the “bot” will have an order completed in half the time.

“If you’re calling sometimes you may not be able to get through the phone and otherwise if you want to leave class,” said Balaskanthan. “So you’re doing two trips, but with the app it becomes just one trip.”

It also allows the restaurant to contact the customer when the order is ready.

Before the introduction of the app, there was no way to contact the customer and contacting each one about their order would not be feasible.

“This whole term as we started it, our purpose for the rest of the term is to try to see how it works, get the input, get the feedback, get the criticisms until the end of the term,” Balaskanthan said.

He added that Wilf’s will be open during lunch hours in the summer and will be another avenue for testing. The establishment is aiming to have it available to the student body by the fall.

Leave a Reply