Third-party food delivery on the rise
MANCHESTER -- Snow can be a blessing or a curse for Jeffrey Correa, whose company delivers food from 22 city restaurants via orders placed at his website.
"It's good and bad depending on how snowy it is," Correa said during yet another snow event last week. "If it's mediocre snow, we're busy. If it gets too snowy, we care about the safety of our drivers and we close."
So far, he had to close Door-to-Door Delivery Inc. five times this winter.
His new driver, Brian Morey, left his Manchester apartment for work Thursday, but he found he couldn't get in his car.
"All of our locks were frozen," Morey said.
He was able to unlock his trunk, and his fiancee pushed the seats forward, crawling to unlock the other doors manually.
While Correa lets others do the cooking for his 500 Commercial St. company, businesswoman Kasia Lojko is hands-on in the kitchen.
Lojko co-owns allrealmeal.com on East Industrial Park Drive. It prepares and delivers fresh meals to customers in the greater Manchester area. The company began showing a profit in January.
Lojko takes online orders up til Sunday, cooks Monday and delivers on Tuesday.
One heavy snowstorm about a month ago thwarted her deliveries for the day.
"We started, but around 1 o'clock it was so bad, it took two hours to get back from Bedford," Lojko said. She finished her deliveries the next day.
Other times, the snow altered her shopping schedule.
"If I know it's going to be a snowstorm, I have to go a day early or if I can't go a day earlier, so I have to go the day I cook," Lojko said.
Correa formed his business in June 2012 and said he expects his Millyard-based business to be profitable "within the next couple of months."
People order from his website, d2ddelivery.com, and food is generally delivered within 45 minutes unless weather or traffic for an event at the Verizon Wireless Arena delay his drivers.
Customers are charged a flat $5.99 fee for Manchester deliveries and $7.99 for orders heading to Bedford, Goffstown and Hooksett.
Customers pay the normal restaurant choices. "We don't mark up the prices at all," Correa said.
He averages between 10 and 20 orders a day.
"It's been growing leaps and bounds, especially for our residential customers," he said.
About 60 percent of the deliveries go to people's homes and about 70 percent are for Manchester addresses.
Two Elm Street eateries are fueling the delivery business.
The Gyro Spot generates the most orders, and the Mint Bistro yields the highest total receipts, Correa said.
The business has added about eight restaurants in the past month.
"The wider the variety, the more orders we get," he said.
Jacci Dale, general manager of the Mint Bistro, called the delivery operation a "fabulous" service.
"It's nice that people can stay home and not come out," she said.
She said the restaurant fills seven to 10 delivery orders a week, enticing some people to eat at the actual restaurant.
"We've gotten quite a few people who order from Door-to-Door and have never been here and it's huge," she said.
Dale said delivery customers pay the full menu price, and the restaurant gives a percentage to Door-to-Door. (Correa declined to discuss the arrangement.)
Correa recently signed up Ali Baba Wholefoods Festival & Treasures on the city's West Side to deliver grocery and food items. He said he hopes to start making deliveries for the store by month's end.
Correa requires a minimum $15 order for lunch and $20 for dinner.
Lojko, meanwhile, started her business in spring 2013 and counts around 30 people who order in a given week.
"We make healthy food," she said. "We use a lot of organic, local ingredients, especially in season."
Grass-fed meats and free-range eggs also are part of our shopping list.
"It turns out everybody is looking for it because we're doing real well," she said.
Orders must total at least $39 and come with a $5 delivery charge. The business delivers to Manchester, Merrimack, Bedford, Amherst and Hooksett.
Priced at $9.99, the chicken parmesan is baked, not fried, and encrusted with gluten-free bread crumbs or nuts. Organic tomato sauce covers the brown rice pasta and sometimes is accompanied with vegetables.
The fresh meals are delivered cold.
"You just have to put in the oven or in the microwave," she said.