Duffl, student-run food delivery service now operating at UC Berkeley

Photo of founders of Duffl Berkeley
ZC Consulting/Courtesy
Understanding the demand for a quick snack, the university-serving, student-operated app Duffl has begun operating on and serving the UC Berkeley community.

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Duffl, a food delivery service founded by a UCLA student which brings groceries to students in 10 minutes via electric scooters, is now operating on UC Berkeley’s campus.

When students from different universities visited UCLA, Duffl growth and culture specialist Rob Dong saw the “genuine excitement” on students’ faces when they received their snacks in under ten minutes. According to Dong, it was then he knew that the service needed to be brought to other campuses.

“Duffl is made by and for students,” Dong said in an email. “We hope to build the world’s first net carbon neutral delivery service and are inspired by the loving community of students that come together along this journey.”

Duffl, formerly called Need, was founded by UCLA student David Lin with a core “passion for electric scooters and going fast,” according to Dong.

When Lin was a freshman, he kept snacks in his dorm and delivered them to his friends using a Boosted Board electric scooter. After realizing he could move around the campus faster than any other service or person, he started Duffl, Dong said.

The delivery service uses data in order to keep track of products that are in highest demand. Once a product is ordered, it is delivered by student drivers, known as “racers,” who ride electric scooters, according to Dong.

He added that Duffl is able to deliver products to customers so quickly because the service’s inventory is housed in a store that is close to each campus the company operates on.

Dong further explained that Duffl is a “college-centric” service that focuses on the community built by the company. Since racers are made up of a student workforce, Dong said students will often find that the same racer delivers to them each time.

“These Racers could be your friends, and at the same time our customers become our friends — that community we end up building is something we are most proud of,” Dong said in an email.

Duffl also works to bring the campus community together by organizing interactive promotional events, said Dong. In the past, the company has held easter egg hunts, in which students could hunt for eggs filled with promotional codes, merchandise and other prizes.

The delivery service is not affiliated with any universities specifically, but is currently looking to expand to and partner with other college campuses, according to Dong.

“Our mission is to bring Duffl to every campus in America, but that is a bigger picture of course so we are starting with California,” Dong said in an email. “We’ve expanded to USC and UCSB already, and Berkeley has been the perfect location for our fourth launch.”

Rina Rossi is a business and economy reporter. Contact her at [email protected], and follow her on Twitter at @RinaRossi8.