Courtesy of Cornell AppDev

Cornell AppDev launched an updated version of the Eatery app on Oct. 12.

October 15, 2023

Eatery App Gets Update, Sees Improved Functionality

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With Cornell’s dozens of dining halls and cafes, navigating Cornell Dining is not necessarily a simple task. But for nearly a decade, Cornell AppDev’s first and flagship app — Eatery — has helped students in their dining endeavors — and it is now undergoing a major update. 

From seeing which eateries are nearest to displaying menus for the day, the Eatery app has provided Cornellians with helpful dining information. Boasting about 3,500 daily active users and nearly 11,000 monthly active users, the app has proven successful in assisting students in the search for a meal.

On Thursday, Oct. 12, the app launched a new and updated version with a renewed user interface and added functionality for searching through menus and sorting eateries.

The Eatery app relies on data sourced through an Application Programming Interface from Cornell Dining. While Cornell Dining provides a website with dining hall menus and hours, Eatery allows for that information to be accessed as an app, along with other additional functionalities.

Having first introduced Eatery in 2014, the AppDev team — a student-run project team that creates apps to serve the Cornell community — decided to create a fresh, improved product. Matthew Wong ’25, product manager for the Eatery app, said that while maintenance work on the app has always been ongoing, work on the new version started over two years ago, in early 2021.

“Over the years, we have been making some periodic updates to the app — mainly bug fixes — but nothing substantial. We started this update a couple years ago, and we wanted to do a few user-focused feature upgrades,” Wong said. “We also wanted to redesign our code bases to make them more efficient and long-lasting.”

Wong said that while the layout of the updated app is similar, the update was aimed at resigning how the app looks and feels.

“You still have the traditional main features, but it’ll be an upgrade in the sense that what you’re seeing looks a little bit different. How you interact with the app is a little bit different as well,” Wong said, describing the changes coming with the new update. Wong anticipated a smooth rollout of the newest update, highlighting the substantial testing done by AppDev prior to the release.

The app also changed how its system of “favoriting” food items works, among other updates.

“In general, we decided to create a more user-focused design. So whether that’s how you scroll through different features, how you use the app — through favoriting, through filtering or just kind of searching for an eatery — we wanted to improve the experience,” Wong said.

These updates came, in part, as a result of user testing. The AppDev team received feedback through a report form on the app, personal experience and street interviews of everyday users. According to Wong, the team used this information to cater their updates to Eatery users.

Turner Aldrich ’26, one of the thousands of students who uses Eatery every day, noted the app’s usefulness.

“Eatery is helpful in making a decision on where to eat. The app helps me with managing my schedule and maintaining a healthy lifestyle,” Aldrich said. But Aldrich said he hadn’t gotten the chance to try the new version.

Other students were eager to test out the updated app. Anais Ozer ’26 said that she found the new app particularly helpful.

“It makes it easier to find which dining hall is closest, and I like how the updated version makes it easy to sort by payment types — Big Red Bucks versus swipes versus just a credit card,” Ozer said.

But the app’s updates were not made with only users in mind. While Wong noted that there were no issues with the app’s codebase, the AppDev team felt an update was due. 

“It’s basically coming up on a whole decade of Eatery on this campus, and there hasn’t been a large update to the app where we improve both the codebase and how Eatery looks to our users,” Wong said. “It’s been pretty much the same since 2014, so we wanted to provide a fresh update in that sense.” 

Wong added that the entire AppDev team takes pride in seeing the fruits of their labor providing value to Cornellians.

“It’s a super rewarding experience,” Wong said. “To see people actually enjoying the app, people using the features that we work tirelessly on — it’s super rewarding.”