- Published on Tuesday, 17 June 2014 17:16 17 June 2014
- Written by ZOE CHOY ZOE CHOY
Food courier companies an increasingly growing trend among restaurants
Restaurants traditionally unable, or unwilling, to deliver food now have a company that will do it for them.
SkipTheDishes – through an online ordering system – has been able to connect local restaurants with Calgarians.
"When you think of delivery, you think of pizza and Chinese food, but you generally don't think of steak or Italian or other things, so that's where the idea came out of," says Andrew Chau, co-owner of the company.
Launched in late 2012, SkipTheDishes was founded by a group of students from the University of Saskatchewan.
Brothers Josh and Chris Simair came up with the idea after seeing similar models in the United Kingdom and decided to bring the idea to Western Canada.
Since then, SkipTheDishes won first place and $15, 000 via the W. Brett Wilson Centre for Entrepreneurial Excellence in the i3 Idea Challenge held in Saskatchewan.
Aligned with over 400 restaurants across Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, the company entered Calgary just over a month ago.
The service works through an online ordering system, where customers can choose from a selection of restaurants, place their order and pay online.
Delivery times and charges are posted beside each restaurant listing. The SkipTheDishes website does not charge a service fee.
Chau says their biggest competition is people still calling into restaurants to place their orders.
"There are other competitors in this space, but there's none that are truly doing what we're doing because we can offer delivery for all different sorts of restaurants beyond just the traditional types."
Regarding other food courier companies, Chau says, "Our customers pay much lower delivery fees since we have our own delivery network."
The company will also soon be implementing a tool for customers to see where their food courier is located.
Dwayne Marling, of Restaurants Canada –an association representing Canadian restaurant owners – says these types of companies are becoming more popular among restaurateurs and customers alike.
This is just "one more way the restaurant industry can evolve," Marling says.
"Not just on the street or on the phone, but online as so many of us are now spending an increasing amount of time in an online environment."
Marling says food courier services are "also an option to restaurateurs who may not want to get into the management of their own delivery service, but see the advantage of being able to offer their products in a home delivery environment."
One restaurant utilizing SkipTheDishes' services is Gordo's Pizza, a vegetarian and vegan pizza place located in Northwest Calgary.
Jeremy Watson, the owner and operator of Gordo's Pizza believes SkipTheDishes has helped pull in customers.
"SkipTheDishes has been a big hit for Gordo's Pizza. We were the first official restaurant in Calgary to come on board. Since the launch we have been receiving a large number of orders daily."
The company currently employs over 120 couriers throughout the three provinces.
SkipTheDishes plans to expand its business throughout Alberta and either "keep moving West, or move East into Ontario," Chau says.
"Calgary is a great place for great food, there are so many different restaurant options, there's so much good food and we wanted to make sure that people could get their food delivered to their home."