There are more than 50 food trucks doing business in and around Boston and, by definition, they are constantly on the move. One day your favorite truck might be in the Back Bay, and the next it’s in Cambridge. The challenge is remembering where your go-to mobile eatery will be on a given day.
One group of recent Northeastern graduates, for its senior capstone project, has resolved this problem by developing a website that tracks Boston-area food trucks’ schedules and locations in real time.
Feed Me Boston aggregates information from the city, food truck apps, and food trucks’ own websites into one destination, where users can search for more than 55 food trucks using various criteria including type of food and time of day.
“We thought this is something that would be helpful for young professionals in Boston,” explained Jenn Kappel, AMD’16. “As a group we wanted to work on something we were all interested in, so we thought a lot about Boston, and food, and wait times.”
The student capstone team—which consisted of Kappel, Karen Doyle, AMD’16, Moling Guo, CIS’16, and Khrystyna Reyes, CIS’16—met for the first time at the beginning of the school year and collectively wanted to create a capstone project that melded design with Big Data.
“(Food trucks are) definitely a growing culture in Boston and we haven’t come across any websites that tackled this yet,” said Doyle.
The group reached out to every food truck registered in Boston and has attended events around the city in order to collect feedback from food truck owners. “Overall we received really good feedback,” Kappel said. “We wanted to find out what the owners needed and how Feed Me would work best for them.”
In the fall, the group focused primarily on collecting the data and began developing the design of the website. This spring semester was focused on building out web pages and user testing. The group officially launched Feed Me at Northeastern’s RISE:2016 last month.
Moving forward, the group said it is considering its options, such as growing the site or using the framework they created to launch similar sites. “There was a lot of interest at RISE about our plans, and someone mentioned this would be good for Mass Challenge,” said Reyes. “There are definitely a lot of opportunities and ways to take it.”