• Lib Riddiford

What Makes Gen Z Tick

An Interview with Ben Rubenstein and Claudia Haimovici from Snackpass

Snackpass, the social buying meets restaurant pickup platform, achieves an average 75% adoption rate the first semester it launches on a new college campus (it’s currently in over a dozen markets and growing). Lib (virtually) sat down with Ben Rubenstein, Lead Business Development and Expansion, and Claudia Haimovici, Lead Growth Marketing and Brand, to discuss how Snackpass taps into the zeitgeist of Gen Z to attract new users and help restaurants drive sales.

Lib: So, Ben, let’s get started with a bit of an overview. What is Snackpass and how is it different from third party delivery and other pickup apps?

Ben: Snackpass is the social buying meets restaurant pickup and delivery platform. While other apps also offer the convenience of ordering online and skipping the line, Snackpass was built by leading with its social component, allowing users to interact with one other by sending reward points, gifts, food and even messages.

Lib: I like the sound of gifts of food! Claudia, can you tell me more about how the platform was created to facilitate social interaction?

Claudia: Our co-founder, Kevin, wanted to develop an app that allowed users to order food from their favorite restaurants and have fun and socialize since food is so inherently social. One of the reasons he created Snackpass was to send his crush a smoothie!

To broaden the social experience, we created the Snackpass feed, where friends can see who's sending rewards points to who, which brews buzz or, as Gen Z would say, "major tea" amongst social circles.

We also note key friendship milestones along the way. Once you exchange a specific number of reward points with a friend, your friendship will hatch from an egg into a chicken. Hatching multiple chickens with a friend is a point of pride for many, and your top best friends ranked by # of chickens hatched are public on friends profiles.

Lib: That 75% adoption rate is no joke. Why is Snackpass so appealing to Gen Z?

Claudia: Calling ahead to order food and waiting in line is an ancient practice for this digitally savvy, accustomed to the smartphone generation. Also, our users were born into the world of social media, where online interaction is so critical to feeling a sense of belonging. The ability to exchange points with friends for every purchase is a fun and exciting way to let their friends know they're thinking of them and accomplish goals, like unlocking a free sandwich from their favorite deli.

Lib: What does your campus launch strategy look like?

Claudia: Today, many assume social media comes first for launch. At Snackpass, we start with grassroots and build up. We interview a wide variety of students on the ground to learn campus culture and figure out the top spots for Snackpass near campus. We'll recruit active and engaged campus members from a wide variety of clubs, majors, etc., to join our ambassador team. Our ambassadors spread the word about Snackpass not only through their social channels and by tagging our channels but also, and perhaps more importantly, sharing their referral codes behind the scenes in private online groups, meetings, and events. We've found this is much more trustworthy than public displays online; a product your friends rave about is often more believable than then another you only see via targeted ads on Instagram. Our outreach combines quintessential grassroots marketing blended with strategic online engagement, and with our 75% adoption rate, we've proved successful.

Q: Love it. Ben, you mentioned rewards points earlier. Can you tell me more about the loyalty program?

Ben: Snackpass users accumulate rewards points when they purchase food and drinks through the app. One point goes to you, the other you gift to a friend, creating a built-in referral program. Once you’ve collected enough points, you can unlock additional discounted food items and redeem points for rewards, such as a free smoothie, that you can keep for yourself or give away to a friend. In select markets, you can also earn coins with friends to grow gamified chickens.

Q: And once you get local restaurants on board, how do you help them market to their target customer base?

Claudia: Many of our restaurant partners are local mom-and-pops who have limited capacity to build an in-house marketing team. We serve as theirs. With our high user acquisition and retention rate, we can send push notifications, emails, post social graphics, and use our connections with students and local organizations to host events that promote their restaurants. Unlike other food platforms, we can promote them individually, using their name, actual menu items, phrased in a fun, eye-catching way to tens of thousands, instead of promising marketing but only marketing our app instead. With our notifications, a burrito or boba at your favorite mom-and-pop is just a few clicks away. This accessibility became even more essential when the pandemic made contactless ordering a necessity.

Q: That sounds super helpful. What kind of fees does Snackpass charge for this?

Ben: Commissions are approximately a third of what most third-party delivery apps charge.

Q: And last but definitely not least: Where can I try it?

Ben: Snackpass is live at the following schools and surrounding areas:

  • Yale (New Haven, CT)

  • Brown (Providence, RI)

  • Dartmouth (Hanover, NH)

  • University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI)

  • Rutgers (New Brunswick, NJ)

  • Harvard (Cambridge, MA)

  • UC Berkeley (Berkeley, CA)

  • UPenn (Philadelphia, PA)

  • UNC (Chapel Hill, NC)

  • University of Rhode Island (South Kingston, RI)

  • University of Delaware (Newark, DE)

  • Penn State (State College, PA)

  • Princeton (Princeton, NJ)

  • NYC (Coming this summer!)