WATERVILLE — Go to any college campus in America and more likely than not you’ll see a common occurrence: takeout being delivered. Whether it’s pizza or Chinese food, chicken wings or sandwiches, college campuses have long been hot spots for takeout food deliveries for hungry students at all hours of the day.

But for smaller, local restaurants, it’s often difficult to compete with national chains. To address what he saw as a market inefficiency, a Colby College student found a way not only to bring takeout food from Waterville restaurants to the campus, but to do it seamlessly online using a smartphone or computer. All it took was an existing business plan and a few drivers.

Michael Logan, a senior at Colby from Washington, D.C., is the director of MayflowerEats. Delivery is only one aspect of what MayflowerEats does, Logan said. The business also helps restaurants with online ordering, something that local “mom and pop” shops throughout the region may not have.

“We’re trying to make it really easy to connect to your restaurant,” Logan said.

FRUITS OF A SUMMER INTERNSHIP

Modeled after businesses such as UberEats and Postmates – both online ordering services that deliver food from a swath of restaurants – MayflowerEats is a subsidiary of a company called UniDel, an intercollegiate delivery service started by two students at Middlebury College in Vermont. Logan met the founders of UniDel over the summer while doing an internship in Boston, he said, and the idea seemed like a natural fit at Colby.

“Obviously, to me there was a demand,” Logan said. “I wanted to make it easy for the Colby community and hopefully the area.”

While the Middlebury students have handled the web design for the company, Logan said he focuses more on the economics of running a business, although he’s in constant contact with his Middlebury counterparts.

The UniDel business on the Vermont campus is known as GrilleMe and delivers only from the on-campus restaurant called The Grille. MayflowerEats is working with three local restaurants in Waterville: the Waterville House of Pizza, Mirayaku and Pizza Degree. MayflowerEats delivers straight to a student’s dorm door.

MayflowerEats has evolved since it launched in September. Initially, the business was delivering food only from the Joseph Family Spa, which is a campus meeting space that also has a snack bar. The business had to have a person sitting at the Spa, waiting for orders to come in, then manually place them on a computer, then have another person deliver the food.

The business no longer delivers from Joseph Family Spa. Now everything is automated online. A student goes to the website and places an order, which goes directly to the restaurant. No cash is exchanged. Credit card information goes through a third-party provider, such as PayPal, so a student doesn’t have to read a card number over the phone.

Right now, MayflowerEats delivers only to the Colby campus, but Logan hopes to expand the business to serve the entire city of Waterville.

“It’s a seamless, fast process,” he said.

A PIECE OF THE COLBY PIE

From a student’s perspective, Logan said it’s easy to see why MayflowerEats was necessary. Hungry college students are always on the hunt for the best deals when it comes to food. But for the three participating restaurants, he said, the attraction is bigger.

“Everyone wants a piece of the Colby pie,” he said.

So far, Logan said, he’s batting a thousand. He has reached out to only three restaurants about delivery, and all three were quick to sign on.

Logan hopes to add more restaurants with as much variety as possible to the MayflowerEats network. The sales pitch is simple and straightforward: By signing up, a restaurant is getting access to Colby. The online aspect appeals to students, who otherwise might not want to call in and place an order.

“This makes it easy to order and know what you’re getting,” he said.

COLLEGE SUPPORTS ENTREPRENEURS

Kate Carlisle, communications director at Colby, said Colby supports student entrepreneurship and engagement with local businesses.

“We know that student-led businesses can contribute to the growth of the Waterville community, and a new entrepreneurial initiative in our innovative DavisConnects program is already underway,” she said.

DavisConnects is a college initiative that provides funding and support for every student to spend time abroad, have access to internships and research opportunities, and become entrepreneurs.

Garvan Donegan, an economic development specialist for the Central Maine Growth Council, a public-private collaborative group based in Waterville, said he was thrilled to see the growth and innovation that MayflowerEats represents. He expects it to do well once it covers the rest of the city.

“I think this is spectacular,” Donegan said.