See the HungryBuffs Web site at hungrybuffs.com .
University of Colorado senior Daniel Rolland is ahead of the game when it comes to finding a job after graduation.
He is expecting to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in sociology in May and has already nailed down a job making six figures a year with the perfect boss — himself.
Rolland started hungrybuffs.com — an online food ordering service for Boulder restaurants — as a freshman and four years later is reaping the benefits of owning his own business.
“It’s a sweet gig,” Rolland said. “I work for myself, I do what I want and I’m successful at it. It doesn’t get much better than that.”
Four years ago, hungrybuffs.com offered menus, phone numbers and hours of operation for every restaurant in the city with only six of them offering online ordering services through the site. Today, the local listings remain, but there are nearly 50 restaurants offering online ordering for delivery or take-out meals and special discounts only available for patrons who order through the site.
“We’ve grown 100 percent every year since we started,” Rolland said. “When we started, it was mainly just my friends ordering from the site. Now we have an average of 700 orders every day.”
Much of the site’s growth is thanks to Rolland’s vigorous marketing strategy and promotions, like Eat Cheap Week, which is happening now through Sunday.
The site, which is free to use, gets about 3,000 unique hits a day with most of the visitors seeking restaurant information. Rolland makes his money off Web advertisements and restaurants, which pass along 5 percent to 10 percent of the order’s cost.
CU sophomore Lane Mitchell said she’s already placed three orders on the site this week and she’s not done yet.
“I use the site a lot,” Mitchell said. “Not usually this much, but with the snow it’s just easier not to get out.”
Mitchell said with her credit card information saved in the site and updated menus, ordering dinner is as easy as a click of a button.
CU freshman Brooks Rice said he heard about the site almost immediately upon moving into the dorms last fall.
“Everyone in the dorms uses it,” he said.
Rice said he uses the site at least once a week because of the convenience and to get a break from dining hall food.
Rolland said while the site is extremely popular among students, he’s hoping to focus on increasing the public’s use of the site after graduation.
“I’d like to focus on expanding our clientele and our user base after graduation when I have a little more free time,” he said.
But with four other similar sites already online and plans to expand to other college towns, Rolland won’t have much time to relax after graduating.
Rolland and his brother, who started a similar site, btownmenus.com at Purdue University in Indiana, are planning to expand the company to host sites in 10 to 15 more college towns across the Midwest. Besides CU and Purdue’s sites, the brothers have also started sites at Colorado State University in Fort Collins — hungryrams.com — and at Purdue University in Lafayette, Ind. — hungryboiler.com.
Rolland has about 20 employees doing either marketing or maintenance for one of the four sites.
CU senior Darren Rabie began working for Rolland in the fall and is running HungryBuffs’ newest promotion to increase interest in the site among Greeks.
“Basically if every member of the fraternity or sorority orders through the site twice in a month, then we give them a free catered event,” he said.
Rice said he’s already planning on taking advantage of this week’s Eat Cheap promotion and expects he will even use the site more then once because of the weather.
“It’s so fast and easy and they deliver it right to your dorm,” he said. “I’m not surprised the site has been so successful. It’s really great.”