Jack’s Snacks, a convenience cart service run by students for students, made its first rounds in freshman dorms across campus earlier this month, offering wares from simple over-the-counter medicines to drinks and snacks.
Five McDonough School of Business students founded the for-profit business as a project in the first-year MSB seminar called “Ethics of Entrepreneurship.”
The cart features tea, coffee, hot chocolate, energy drinks, medicine like Emergen-C and Advil, and snacks, such as Goldfish and fruit snacks. One of the founders, Shyla Prasad (MSB ’20), said that student budget concerns are factored into the pricing of the goods.
“We’re selling these things for reasonable prices for students,” Prasad said.
Prasad said the goal of Jack’s Snacks is to make students’ lives easier by offering them a simpler way to buy food than any other on-campus options.
“Our goal is to make buying snacks late at night for students more convenient, because we’re all struggling with homework — especially late at night,” Prasad said. “So just making sure everyone is good and happy when they’re studying and that they have everything they need.”
Last week, the results of a food-accessibility survey were released showing that more than half of surveyed students said they were unable to buy food when they were hungry because of cost. Three of the main barriers to food accessibility that the report cited were the time required to buy groceries, the distance required to purchase affordable groceries and the limited hours of dining options on campus. The business model of Jack’s Snacks answers all three of these concerns.
Prasad said, while the group has not yet turned a profit, it expects to do so in the near future, given the success of its first three deliveries to New South Hall, Village C East and West and the Healey Family Student Center, on election night.
“We have been making a lot of sales, but the amount of money we spend versus the amount of money coming in hasn’t balanced out yet, but we expect it to soon,” Prasad said.
MSB professor Jason Brennan, who teaches this semester’s “Ethics of Entrepreneurship” seminar, said the class has seen several successful projects in previous years.
“Hoya Screen Repair started as a class project but continued for years, grossing tens of thousands of dollars per semester,” Brennan wrote in an email to The Hoya. “Other students have sold T-shirts, mugs, care packages, and the like, often for very high margins.”
Like Hoya Screen Repair, the founders of Jack’s Snacks intend to continue to expand the business after the seminar is over, especially given the positive student response it has received so far, according to Prasad.
“So many people love it,” Prasad said. “I have people come up to me saying, ‘Oh my god this is such a great idea, when are you coming to our dorm?’”
Brennan expressed that entrepreneurship is an important component of the MSB curriculum, because it enables Georgetown to pursue more effectively service and social change.
“Entrepreneurs do more than fit a routine role in an existing organization. They discover new ways of making others better off,” Brennan wrote. “If we want our students to serve society, entrepreneurship offers the potential for the greatest positive change.”
Liam Kenneally (SFS ’20), a Jack’s Snacks customer, recalled a time that the group’s convenient service enabled him to pursue his studies and extracurricular activities more efficiently.
“Jack’s Snacks is fantastic,” Kenneally wrote in an email to The Hoya. “I was feeling a little under the weather one night, and their Super Orange Emergen-C gave me the vitamins, antioxidants and electrolytes I needed to conquer a night of midterm studies and flamenco dancing.”
Varun Kota (SFS ’20), a resident of Village C East, missed the Jack’s Snacks cart on its first run through the dormitory but said that the service is so convenient that he would gladly purchase from the group in the future.
“I know often it can be really hard to find snacks to eat on campus, and I especially imagine that’ll be true during snow, rain and when the weather gets worse,” Kota said. “That is something that I would definitely like and buy from.”
Kenneally said he is optimistic for the success of Jack’s Snacks in the future.
“This energetic group of young entrepreneurs fills me with hope,” Kenneally wrote. “While their ambitious marketing calls may fill the halls with musical allure, the high quality of their products and customer experience speaks for itself. I’m no weatherman, but I can see success on their horizon.”
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