Domino's Begins Accepting Meal CardsBy Eric Richard
In an effort to expand services offered to students, ARA has been working with local restaurants to allow students to pay for food deliveries on their meal cards.
In March, Domino's Pizza in the Back Bay became the first company to set up a working agreement with ARA. Under the agreement, ARA receives a 20 percent commission on all pizza deliveries purchased with a meal card.
During the first week of the agreement, orders placed on MIT meal cards accounted for 25 to 30 percent of the Back Bay Domino's business.
Since that time, ARA has been talking with other companies in response to the students' desire for more options.
ARA is currently talking with local Chinese restaurants in hopes of securing a second agreement soon. "Our goal is to add one more company prior to spring term, preferably a Chinese restaurant," said Alan Leo, general manager of MIT Food Service.
ARA's search for participants has been very selective, Leo said. "We want a delivery service that is available late into the night, preferably 1 or 2 a.m., and is open 7 days a week. . . . Some restaurants charge extra for delivery or specify a minimum order for free delivery, and that doesn't result in the best deal for the students."
From the initial stages of negotiation, the issue of paying a commission to ARA has been an issue. "Most companies do not want to pay money to ARA for the program, but they do not realize how much business they could do," Leo said.
"The reason [Domino's] is willing to pay a commission is that they're capturing the whole market of people who have [meal] cards. They are bright enough to see that they don't need the whole 100 percent. The volume will help them cover the overhead," he said.