In today’s post I want to share about the next affordable meal plan based out of University of Oregon that is bound to release THIS FALL of 2021. Waddle Meal Plan is the next new business primed to launch out of Eugene, Oregon.The goal of the Waddle Meal Plan is to assist students to identify affordable meals off campus by utilizing their money with coupons and other discounts provided by 25+ merchants within the 5 mile radius of campus which they can find directly in their app. Keep reading to see their world debut photoshoot and the short interview I captured of this moving and shaking trio.
INTRODUCTION | July 14th, 2021, 9AM
This past Wednesday I took a day trip to Eugene, Oregon, from Portland to do a photoshoot for great friends, who are founders of the Waddle Meal Plan. Students, Ethan Rife, Mia Lopez and Alden Schatz are trying to make the biggest impact for other University students and what they can consume. It is exciting as they tackle challenges preparing to launch a business.
I met this amazing trio through one of the organized business clubs in the University. I am thankful to have been introduced to them through a great friend, Ryan Tea.
WADDLE MEAL PLAN INTERVIEW | @waddlemealplan
Ethan Rife | @ethanerife | (CEO, Co-Founder)
Me : So what is Waddle Meal Plan?
"Waddle Meal Plan is an online off-campus meal plan for students at the University of Oregon. We really enjoy serving the community here and connecting students to local merchants. We also provide parents the safety and reassurance to know that their student’s finances are spent strictly on food in the best way possible.This is done by the usage of our coupons, QR codes and other discounts which can be found in our app that is about to launch in the next couple days! We are really excited about our official app to not only launch in a couple days, but also the debut of our business THIS FALL.”
Mia Lopez | @miaalopezzz | (CMO, Co-Founder / VP)
Me : How did this all come about?
“About a year ago, I was talking with my dad through quarantine, and he asked me ‘What are you going to do about a meal plan for next year, now that you’re living off campus, what is your plan?’ So, I responded with ‘I don’t know right now,’ and then after I gave my response, my dad immediately asked, ‘Why don’t you just start one?’ Right when I heard that, I called up Alden Schatz (co-founder) and pitched my idea about starting up a meal plan. off campus.”
Mia and Alden took 2-3 months researching before moving forward with their idea. After gathering some research, they realized something was still missing. And after that realization, one of Alden’s mentors, Joe Maruschak encouraged him to reach out and bring on a third founder, and that person ended up being Ethan Rife - who also knows Joe! With one direct message over LinkedIn, Alden and Ethan met and bonded after talking about entrepreneurship, simply breaking the ice and lastly, bringing up the idea of adding one more person to their team.
At the time, Alden and Mia did not have a software plan, or a software provider; however in the process of searching for one, they ended up not finding the right person for the job at first because they were offered a not-so-good deal. It was a tedious process until finally they came across Ethan ; who brings a lot of fresh and new energy to the team.
Before they officially met, Ethan had no idea what their venture was, but despite that, he was still all in from the jump. Before this, Ethan had a lot of experience building revenue and working an e-commerce system so it was only right to team up. Alden’s idea had to do with tech and as soon as he pitched this to Ethan, he was a fan.
"I like tech. I am way more into tech than I am with candles." - Ethan Rife
After one week of figuring out an offer, Alden and Mia came to a decision to formally offer Ethan an official role with the team. Soon after adding Ethan to the team, the trio began pitching in business competitions and winning some funding together. With the help from Ethan - writing the script for the pitches, the board of directors, other mentors and the University as a whole, the business began to flourish ; winning awards and achieving multiple milestones.
Alden Schatz | @aldenshatz | (President, Co-Founder)
“Since the journey began, it has been a pretty crazy roller coaster. We did not know where to start, however we got some help from the University which assisted us with direction. We also joined a couple business competitions, placed high in the top undergraduate finishers for business competitions, and lastly we recently won the New Venture of the Year Award from the University of Oregon. We have developed our app as well and we are thrilled to launch which takes place in a couple days actually.”
THE APP + STEPS
You are probably wondering by now, how does the app work exactly? Directly from their website there is a step by step breakdown of how the process is while using the app and I have provided it here as well.
Students download the Waddle Meal Plan App on their iPhone or Android (or visit the site).
Parent, or student uploads funds to their account via direct deposit or check.
Student gets hungry, time to eat!
Students then will try and go to the signed up merchants to dine in, take out, and shop for groceries.
Take out your phone, go onto the Waddle App, and show your QR code on the app to the merchant.
Have the merchant scan and then you’re ready to go!
Customers / students save money through discounts and coupons.
Customers can manage their account online or through the app by adding more money, looking over transactions, and checking their balance.
From my understanding, students that live on campus would want to explore off campus and Waddle will provide them with discounts for doing so! Any student liking to spend in the most affordable and efficient way possible will love this app! I am not even a student at UO and I want to use this.
As far as for currency, the app accepts U.S dollars and only operates off campus for now.
Find out more info at waddlemealplan.com
THE COMMUNITY + RESPONSES
Right now, the trio are in communication with a few merchants, but those who are officially on board are SuBo and ShakeSmart, two well known food providers around the Eugene area.
Local merchants in the 5 mile radius of UO will hear that the Waddle Meal Plan are essentially creating a pool of parent’s funded accounts that are only accessible at select merchants and then, those merchants want access to that specific pool. In addition to that, Waddle imports funds to the University from the parents who want to keep their student happy and healthy. Next, they use those funds to bring in customers for the merchants while receiving a small commission for each sale.
Ethan, Mia and Alden hopes that students will want to use this app for a few reasons. One of them being that because parents feel comfortable uploading their food money on the app, they may be receiving more money for food than they usually have in the past. Another reason is that students are able to claim a variety amount of coupons and get rewards for consistently spending at merchants.
Lastly, the other goal is that Waddle is also fun and engaging. The trio plan to host numerous events throughout the year to get people excited and to really explore the great realm outside the University.
"I have a feeling the Waddle culture is going to be one you don't want to miss out on." - Alden Schatz
You can definitely feel the excitement coming with this new venture. Waddle Meal Plan has great potential, and they are on the rise! It was a true honor to capture their first photoshoot and learn more about the journey.
Huge thank you to Ethan, Mia and Alden for trusting in me to make this happen. I love doing this and serving others, I look forward to the next time.
Stay up to date with the launch of Waddle Meal Plan by giving them a follow on their Instagram page and also by going on their website which are linked below.
Website : waddlemealplan.com
Instagram : @waddlemealplan