Nationwide college coupon company Campus Special recently unveiled its Campus Special phone application that combines the organization’s online food ordering service and coupon book into one constantly-accessible product.
The free mobile application is available for iPhones and Androids, and allows students to place orders at participating restaurants for delivery or pick-up without the additional service fee of other food ordering options. The organization began providing coupon booklets in 2005 to assist college students at more than 110 universities nationwide.
According to Campus Special co-founder Joe Jacobs, the application’s “Food Court” function gives users a variety of local restaurant options without the hassle of phone calls or wait times.
“The app uses GPS coordinates so you can see what’s nearby and browse in different [food] categories, by location or by actual menu items,” Jacobs said. “You get to put in exactly what you want so it minimizes the error [of your order], and you never have to wait for the order or be put on hold.”
Fourth-year communications and psychology student Jaimie Bowen, a 2011 Campus Special summer intern, said the application’s mobile capabilities make it more convenient than ordering food through a website.
“Being on the mobile app is such a big deal because so many times people forget their coupon books,” Bowen said. “Any time of the day that you’re at your computer you can order online, but you can order food any time on your phone [using Campus Special App].”
UCSB has the highest usage of Campus Special coupon books of any school in the country.
Jacobs said the mobile application is tailored toward USCB student preferences.
“This is really the lifestyle app for Santa Barbara,” Jacobs said. “If you’re going to go tanning or get your nails done or go to John Edwards salon, this is something where you know you’re going to go to these places and you’ll save money. The reason we started Food Court was because a lot of the students order online and we had a lot of people saying ‘I don’t want to pay a fee to use a site.’”
The program offers deals for Santa Barbara and Isla Vista businesses students visit regularly, according to fourth-year sociology student Emma Merrick.
“[The Campus Special app] is not only free and accessible but relevant,” Merrick said. “The discounts provided are for products, foods and services that UCSB students want. And because of the ease of downloading it straight to their mobile phones, it will be irresistible.”
Merrick, who also interned for Campus Special this past summer, said the mobile tool accommodates students’ hectic schedule.
“Students are busy and don’t have time to save multiple coupons or spend hours scouring for deals online,” Merrick said. “By having coupons that are specifically chosen and targeted for their age group combined in one place, it provides a quick and accessible way to try and save money.”
The application is ranked in the top 50 free lifestyle applications in the Apple store and is downloaded an average of every 30 seconds for iPhones. It is also downloadable for free at the Android market.
Bowen said the product’s success is partially attributable to its appeal to an age group where nearly 60 percent of the members own a smartphone.