Now there’s a new way to order meals online from those Yelped-about neighborhood restaurants that don’t deliver themselves and it’s a web app called Caviar.
Among the first two dozen eateries partnering with this SF-based startup are HRD Smokin Grill, Ike’s Place, Mayo and Mustard, and Cha Cha Cha, plus the four pictured on the screenshot above.
Caviar’s three co-founders came out of the Y Combinator class of Summer 2011 with a daily meal deal service called Munch on Me, which focused mainly on campus towns. They sold that company last May and immediately began working on Caviar.
“Our office is in the Financial District,” explains co-founder and food blogger Jason Wang, “and it’s hard to access food outside of two blocks from our office. To go to one of the good restaurants outside of area, we have to take Bart or Uber, stand in line, and it ends up costing at least $10 in transportation plus takes up to two hours.”
The Caviar team set out to create a web-based service that would take all of the pain out of that experience, and the result is flat-rate delivery fee of $9.99 from any of its partner restaurants with an average delivery time of 17 minutes anywhere in San Francisco and Treasure Island.
“Great restaurants don't offer delivery service,” notes Wang. “Why? Because delivery is hard logistically and operationally. We decided to build a delivery infrastructure for any restaurant that offers takeout. We handle it all ourselves. They only have to make the food and to do it at the right time. We deliver by scooter, car, motorcycle, bike–we pick up the package in a thermal bag and get it to you fast.”
The restaurants are listed on Caviar with a visual menu featuring high-quality photos of every dish on their menu.
You can schedule orders anytime from 8:30 am until 10:30 pm seven days a week, and Wang says Caviar will soon feature at least one restaurant that opens as early as 7 am.
The startup’s business model is based on charging the restaurants a percentage of sales (currently around 20 percent).
One feature of the service is real-time tracking of your order–you can see an orange icon representing your Caviar delivery person approaching on a map.
The delivery people use an app called Waze, which is a crowd-sourced, real-time traffic app that helps them choose the best route to the delivery location.
Wang says this is how they have been able to get delivery times down from a guaranteed one-hour window to an average of just 17 minutes, and he expects further improvements in the future.
So far, Caviar is serving two distinct markets–consumers and businesses. Wang says the average order is $84, skewed higher by the business orders, which to date have included an order as large as for 150 people.
The company aims to grow to include around 100 popular SF restaurants with a goal of 50 orders per day per establishment, so the upside math here as a business is significant.
Caviar handles fulfillment by the secure payment system Stripe, another former Y Combinator company. As for scaling, the next market in Caviar’s sights is Seattle.