TERRE HAUTE —
A business born in the fast-paced world of the Big City has found its way to middle America.
It’s third-party restaurant delivery — a service that brings your favorite restaurant food directly to your home or office even if your favorite restaurant does not deliver.
Third-party restaurant delivery services, which have been around for decades in large cities such as New York and Chicago, are just starting to make appearances in smaller cities, especially homes to big universities such as Bloomington and West Lafayette.
Third-party deliverers allow customers to place orders from online menus and then just wait for the food to show up.
“The idea has been around for about 20 years,” said Franc Perrelle, owner of Delivery2Go, a third-party delivery service that started operating in Terre Haute in June. So far, Perrelle, a 2003 Terre Haute North Vigo High School graduate, has signed up seven local restaurants and expects to add several more in coming weeks.
“We’re doing good business in Terre Haute,” he said.
Perrelle, 27, got the idea for his business while a freshman at Indiana University. He and his roommate were complaining that the only food available for delivery was pizza or Chinese food, he said. That’s when he thought a third-party delivery business might succeed in a university town.
Nine years later Perrelle is operating a successful third-party delivery business in Bloomington with a network of about 20 restaurants.
Once that business became established, he looked to expand. Having family in Vigo County made Terre Haute a natural choice, he said.
One of the seven Terre Haute restaurants offering delivery through Perrelle’s business is The Copper Bar. Rob Lundstrom, the business owner, said Delivery2Go has allowed him to reach new customers, such as college students too young to enter his establishment.
One challenge of launching a third-party delivery service is establishing trust with restaurant owners. After all, if either the delivery service or the restaurant fails to make the customer happy, both businesses stand to suffer a loss of reputation, making mutual respect a key.
That’s why Lundstrom took his time promoting his new delivery service, he said. But after a couple of months of using Delivery2Go, he is “very comfortable” with Perrelle’s business and is considering expanding it to other restaurants he owns in the area, he said.
“It’s a very seamless process for the restaurateur,” Lundstrom said. “It fits very well into our business.”
Other restaurants in town hooked into the Delivery2Go network are the Taj Mahal, TGI Friday’s, Real Hacienda (both locations), La Isla and El Camino Real. To order a meal from any of these restaurants, visit www.delivery2go.com.
A delivery fee is approximately $4 and customers typically tip delivery workers between 10 and 20 percent, Perrelle said.
Delivery2Go currently employs about four people in Terre Haute and around twice that many in Bloomington, Perrelle said. Employees can work from their homes and most deliveries take place in about 45 to 55 minutes.
“Our goal is to eventually have every category of cuisine,” Perrelle said. “And our No. 1 priority is customer service.”
Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at (812) 231-4232 or Arthur.firstname.lastname@example.org.