Restaurant delivery service Grub Courier expands into Salem/Keizer
Salem, Oregon - April 17, 2015
A little while ago, we posted on Twitter that restaurant delivery service Grub Courier (www.GrubCourier.com), which now operates in Silverton, was planning to expand to Salem. Now, with the official announcement that the company will begin operations in Salem and Keizer on May 1st, we thought we would take a more in-depth look at what the service is, how it works and why both local restaurants AND customers should be excited.
We sat down with Director of Operations John Parenteau to discuss.
EatSalem: May 1st you begin delivering in Salem. I know a lot of people are excited about that. Can you tell me how this all got started?
John Parenteau: I grew up in Silverton with my partner (and fiancee), Maggie Jones. We both had traveled all over the world through the years and knew that food delivery was a big thing in every other part of the country. But when we came home we found that it wasn’t available here. We quickly realized it would be a great thing to offer the community.
ES: You like to say, because of your service, people don’t have to put on their pants (Read About Us on their website). Where does that come from?
JP: When we got back to Silverton, we wanted Thai food. Maggie suggested Thai Dish in Silverton and I said, “do they deliver?” And of course she said, “nobody in town delivers.” my response was, “So you mean I have to put on my pants to go get food?!” It became the defining moment of our decision to start the company, and it’s true! We don’t want customers to have to put on their pants.
ES: What is the most difficult thing about running the business?
JP: Honestly, showing restaurants how valuable this service can be to them. I think most of them think, because we take a small percentage of the order as our fee, that they are giving away too much, but in truth they are gaining far more.
ES: How do you mean?
JP: Consider that most restaurants only influence a small area, the neighborhood around their restaurant and those that drive by, as well as anybody who reads an ad that they might place. But customers are still required to drive to their location to try them. With delivery, you not only gain major exposure outside of your own area, but you enable customers to order from their homes or offices, even when they can’t get out. So the small percentage is a minor cost to the ability to expand your business influence to the entire city, not just their neighborhood.
ES: How has this worked in Silverton?
JP: Very well. Not to give away client restaurant names, but we write checks to each of them for a thousand dollars or more a month, all in extra business they would not have received without delivery. And they not only do not see a negative impact on dine-in traffic, they actually see an increase because people who order delivery are more likely to also try dine-in as well.
ES: What kind of customers do you tend to see?
JP: It’s a bit of a range. We deliver to many older people who simply find it difficult to travel out. We also deliver to young families; moms or dads who are with small children, and don’t relish taking babies to their favorite restaurant. And also larger families, with a wide range of ages and tastes. The common reaction to our service is that they love the restaurants, but simply cannot get to the restaurant to dine-in, and our service gives them access to their menus regardless of that.
ES: What are the costs?
JP: To the customer, the food is the same price as if they would dine in. They pay a small delivery fee based on their distance from the restaurant. As an example, it’s usually $3.00 when within a mile or so of where they order. They can also tip the driver, but it’s not required.
ES: And to the restaurant?
JP: Just the small percentage of the order. There are no other costs to the restaurant. And beyond placing their menus on our site, we do a lot of promotion, marketing and advertising to draw in more business. So for that fee they get a lot of exposure, and thus a lot of extra business.
ES: How does it work?
JP: On our website, at www.GrubCourier.com, you start by entering your address. This tells you what restaurants are available to order from, and helps determine the delivery fee. From there, you simply pick a restaurant, browse their menu, select your items, and pay via credit card. The customer is given automated updates on the status of their order. For example, when the driver arrives at the restaurant, the customer is notified, as well as when they leave. So you know where your food is and have a sense of when it will arrive.
ES: How long does it take to deliver?
JP: Depending on how busy the restaurants are, it’s usually within an hour. Sometimes it’s a lot faster. The website will give the customer a time they should expect delivery when they place their order. We pride ourselves on making sure the food arrives hot. That’s our number one priority.
ES: I know some older people don’t have as much computer experience as others. Can they call in?
JP: Yes. We offer a phone number (503-967-5050) for people to call in orders as well. We want to make it as simple as possible for everybody.
ES: Any last thoughts?
JP: Just that we’re excited to offer this to Salem and Keizer. We’ve found that it is a great way to give back to the community. Customers benefit by making life a little easier, and restaurants have a new income stream that is limited only by the population of the city around them.
ES: And pants are not required.
JP: No, they aren’t. But we hope you put them on long enough to greet our driver at the door.
ES: Yes, that’s a good tip.