Student-created app brings new food options



Juniors Freddy Sell (left) and Rotem Nir (right) pose with the Overflow logo. The two hope that high school students will use their app to access food options that are not available at the high school.

Phoebe Kallaher, Staff Writer

Looking for a convenient, fresh alternative to school lunch but don’t want to pay for Uber Eats? The Overflow app is your solution.

Overflow is an app that connects students at food establishments around Brookline with students back at the high school who are interested in food options not available at the school.

Created by juniors Rotem Nir and Freddy Sell, the app operates similarly to Uber Eats. The difference? It’s entirely student-run.

Overflow prices are lower than those of Uber Eats because Overflow operates more efficiently. Instead of a buyer initiating the order, the order is initiated by a seller already at a food location. As they will be returning to school anyway, the seller doesn’t have to go out of their way to deliver the food and therefore doesn’t need to be paid as much for delivery.

“If you aren’t off campus, you get a better selection of food, and it’s cheaper than Uber Eats or any of the other ones because it’s an exclusively student network,” Sell said. “If you’re off campus, you can make money and help out your friends without really doing anything out of what you would do because you’re still going back to the high school.”

According to Sell, the idea for Overflow came from seeing people with food from all over Brookline and everyone else asking them to share.

“I actually heard someone say, ‘I would pay for someone if they brought me food back from Cane’s,’” Nir said.

Overflow is currently available to download from the App Store and will be made available on Android soon. In terms of logistics, sellers can easily submit a location and selling destination, and buyers can select a seller and choose items from that store’s built-in menu. Back at school, both the buyer and seller must confirm the transaction.

The current meet-up locations include the overflow, atrium and entrance to the Tappan Gymnasium. The current restaurant options include Dunkin’ Donuts, Los Amigos, Cane’s and Cutty’s, although more will be available soon.

According to sophomore Din Klein, the app is a great idea. While Klein’s experience ordering lunch through Uber Eats has been mostly successful, she has had a few negative experiences, where drivers had difficulty locating entrances or navigating the area, a problem that Overflow solves with its student sellers. Klein also likes the idea of having her food delivered by someone her age.

“I think it also would be better to get food from someone that I might know because oftentimes I feel very awkward interacting with strangers,” Klein said. “But if it’s someone my age, I think that would be more comfortable.”

The main challenge Nir and Sell face at the moment is acquiring a substantial user base for consistent opportunities to purchase food. To get the app started, they plan on finding and communicating with a group of students who have free blocks and frequently go off-campus to buy lunch.

“They would let us know before they go to their food locations and then we can post on YouTube or Instagram or any of that to our audience, ‘Hey, this person’s going at this time,’ so they can order food from them,” Sell said. “The sellers can play a role with us in telling us how it went.”

Sell and Nir’s new food delivery app is an alternative to services like Uber Eats. The app employs high school students as its deliverers.

The creation of the app is an ongoing process that began in late 2017, when Nir and Sell decided to work together.

According to Nir and Sell, the majority of learning was independent through the use of an online textbook and other online resources.

“We really tried to discover things ourselves,” Nir said. “We generally didn’t ask other people or adults or professionals how to do certain things. We really wanted this to be a self-learning process.”

After doing drills and learning how to program an app, they began the developing phase. Together, they created an interface and examined the logistics of a food delivery service.

“We got to developing and we really dug our hands into food delivery, getting people better food, exactly how to work that out,” Sell said. “This was much less coding, much more thinking and logistics.”

While Sell mainly focused on the programming, Nir managed social media and visual design, two major components to building an app.

“When you think of an app, you really think of the coding, but there is so much more to it,” Nir said. “You have to do a lot more than just sitting in front of a computer and coding.”

Both Nir and Sell greatly enjoyed the process of developing an app and found it to be a fruitful experience.

“I thought it was really cool, and it’s been a blast to work on it,” Sell said. “It’s awesome to be able to develop these things and then see it in someone else’s hand.”