College students create dining app

Remember those dorm days when you’d be up pulling an all-nighter to finish a paper and suddenly you’d realize you missed chicken parm night at the dining hall? If only you had had Tumvi – an app created by a team of Boston University students – you could have avoided kicking yourself time and time again.

Tumvi’s inception came about in the most logical way possible: Co-founders Santiago Beltran, Carlos Cheung and Kristel Tan just listened to their fellow students. There was a lot of chatter about their dining wants and needs, so this team decided to do something about it.

“It was a collective effort,” explained Beltran. “Our peers, floor mates and friends would say, 'It’d be awesome if there were an easy way to figure out what’s on the menu for dining, to know what we could eat.’”

BU Food and beyond

From that simple start, Tumvi’s first iteration was developed and rolled out as the BU Food app. Through BU Food, students have been able to skim through dining hall menus to see what kind of grub is available near them at any given moment.

Also, the app has be used to combat the dreaded Freshman 15, a plague that many college students know all too well. With nutritional tracking functions, BU Food (and inevitably Tumvi) will enable people to look out for healthier food options. They can have insight into the nutritional content, as well as pinpoint vegan/vegetarian and gluten-free options.

Armed with feedback from BU Food, the team now feels ready to expand. With Tumvi, the students are planning on retaining the features they offered through BU Food, in addition to creating a whole new dimension to the app. They plan to open up their platform to restaurants with zero affiliation to college dining services, so students have even more options for getting a hold of quality food they actually feel like eating. At the moment, they’re working out a way to potentially link student dining dollar plans to participating restaurants, so users won’t have to use their own cash to pay for the food they want.

It’s with bringing in external eateries that the team is hoping to make their app dually valuable. Through Tumvi, users will be able to submit ratings for specific food items, not just general reviews of locations overall. The co-founders believe that letting students place tags on particular products such as “too salty” or “too cold” will give dining services and restaurants a more accurate read of their offerings. This would ultimately help them make improvements, test out new items or changes to their menus.

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