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The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

UT Dining app makes menus more accessible to students

Daniel Guel
Harshith Sadhu, Abhinav Tiruveedhula and Armaan Chadha display their phone application UT Dining inside J2 Dining on Oct. 23, 2023.

In the early hours of the morning, a filmmaker, a business major and a computer scientist gather around the soft glow of a laptop trying to find the dining hall menu. Recognizing the inconvenience of dining hall menus, the three roommates combined their talents on a project they believe could positively impact campus.

Armaan Chadha, Harshith Sadhu and Abhinav Tiruveedhula created UT Dining, an app that displays the menus of J2 Dining, Jester City Limits and Kinsolving for users to view quickly. Sadhu, a computer science freshman, said he found issues with the original layout of dining hall menus.

“The way to find the menus on the dining hall is very inefficient because you have to go to the UT website, find the dining hall menus, (and) … the data is just everywhere,” Sadhu said.

Shayne Cazier, a kinesiology freshman who uses the app, also agrees that the dining menus don’t offer friendly usage.

“I have to load up Safari and … go through a few links — it’s more time-consuming,” Cazier said. “Something that’s not as easy as clicking on an app on the phone.”

Inspired to solve this problem, Sadhu said the team centered the UT community when designing the app.

“We have the whole background of our app as (the) UT Tower, so people get this feel like, ‘I’m at home,’” Sadhu said. “In each tab, we have the exact same font … that UT does. It gives a sense of familiarity.”

Released on the Apple Store earlier this month, users can now browse through the daily food selections with minimal clicks. Radio-television-film freshman Chadha said the team currently focuses on marketing UT Dining and aspires to partner with the University in the future.

“Right now, the biggest thing for us has been the (UT 2027) Snap(chat) story … (and a) couple of giveaways,” Chadha said.

Even though the app launched recently, it’s already received positive feedback. 

“It’s super helpful. … We can check (the menu) out beforehand,” Cazier said.

Chadha said in addition to expanding the app to Android users, they also plan to introduce updates later on.

“(We want to show) the nutritional facts and calories, and … (also) gluten-free and vegan (labels),” Chadha said. “Further into the future, we want to collaborate a lot with local businesses and restaurants to be able to offer a discount to UT students in return.”

Reflecting on their entire app-making journey, Chadha said he’s grateful for his team. 

“You can’t do it on your own … especially with design, coding, advertising,” Chadha said. “Even if you’re a skilled … person, you don’t have the time.”

Sadhu also emphasizes the importance of teamwork.

“You’re the sum of the people you’re around,” Sadhu said. “The advice I would give to anyone wanting to create something, create a change … (is to) make sure you’re with the right people.”

The co-founders said they have high hopes for the future of UT Dining.

“(UT) has this motto, what starts here changes the world,” Sadhu said. “Obviously, (the app) isn’t world-changing, but it’s a foot in the right direction.”

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About the Contributor
Daniel Guel, General Photographer
Daniel is a fourth year journalism student from Houston, TX. He is currently a  general photographer at the Texan.