nydelivery.com In The Press
The Silicon Alley Reporter
12 Internet Entrepreneurs to Watch
For anyone who's fruitlessly rifled through a junk drawer looking for Chinese takeout menus or been put on hold by pizzerias and forgotten, NYDelivery.com aims to deliver.
"I think it's much easier for people to order online," says restaurateur and computer artist Doron Golan, who founded the company with Web designer Micah Garen. "There is no one rushing you through your order or putting you on hold for ten minutes."
At first Golan's plan was to go online with his own East Village Italian takeout place, La Casalinga. Then he realized how easy it would be to put several restaurants on the Web. The site now offers menus from more than 525 city restaurants, offering anything from standard pizza and Chinese food to fine cuisine from New York's upscale restaurants like CAN, Petaluma, Time Cafe, Circa and Barocco.
To order food, users simply type in their zip code to get a list of restaurants that deliver in the neighborhood. Once the order is placed, a fax is generated and sent to the restaurant. To ensure that all orders go through, NYDelivery.com follows up with a phone call and e-mail confirmation. Eventually Golan hopes all participating restaurants will be online so the orders can be e mailed directly.
Restaurants, which are charged nothing for their participation, give 6 percent of every site-generated order to NYDelivery.com (the bulk of the company's revenue, with advertising running a near second). Peter Zhu, owner of China 99, estimates that he earns an extra $200 a month from delivery orders generated by the site. Elinore Shek, owner of CAN, says she's hardly seen a difference in her delivery business. "But since the service is free, it doesn't hurt," Shek says.
The site received a traffic boost after signing a partnership agreement with Microsoft's Sidewalk.com in December. Golan says he's very pleased with the exposure he's received from Sidewalk, but wants to concentrate on "expanding and polishing the business model" before looking into other distribution channels.
Although Golan's competition, national site Cybermeal, is well funded by the Seattle-based company and NYDelivery.com is currently in search of a second round of financing, Golan feels his ties to the New York restaurant community make his site more attractive to the locals.
But with all those eateries constantly adding to and changing Their menus, Golan admits there is a lot of room for error and Pricing discrepancies. Occasionally, people get a confirmed price Online only to be hit with a larger bill when the delivery guy shows up. Golan says it's hard to stay on top of the hundreds of menus, each with hundreds of items. But he's working on it.
Seed money for the business was raised through private investors, but Golan is looking to be refinanced. "We would like to move away from the nest and into the real world," he says. "And we feel right now that we've created the package that we can expand on." Golan sees the business growing into other boroughs and areas of New York, and eventually other East Coast cities. He's also planning to add services to the site's roster of deliverable goods.
"We are looking into video and groceries," says Golan, who has worked on a co-promotional campaign with the online video delivery site Kozmo.com. "There is so much stuff that can be delivered. And this is definitely the wave of the future."
The Village Voice
Dining Goes Digital
Doron Golan wants to revolutionize the way New Yorkers do lunch. After seven years running La Casalinga, an Italian restaurant in the East Village, the Israeli entrepreneur was looking for a way to expand his delivery business. Though he had tried using facsimile orders, the results were lackluster. "For a customer to fill out a fax and put it in a machine, Golan says with a sigh, "it's just not very appetizing" The solution: take the takeouts online.
Now, Golan and his techie partner, Micah Garen, are the owners of nydelivery.com, a Web service that lets eaters order from over 350 restaurants across Manhattan. Surfers have a couple of ways to boot up their grub.
A digital map of the city lets them find participating restaurants within their delivery zone. They can also use the site's "Food Finder" to narrow down their choice to, say, inexpensive French food in Soho (as if) or find a specific joint by name. Each restaurant has its menu formatted into a standard order form. Go to the page for Eisenberg's Sandwich Shop, a diner on Fifth Avenue, and a tongue omelette with fries is just a mouse click away. Bills are instantly tallied onscreen, so for several office workers ordering together, there's no more haggling over who owes what.
Since most of the restaurants don't have Net access yet, nydelivery zips the e-mail orders to them, ironically, by fax. The restaurants then deliver the food themselves, at no extra cost to the customer (instead, nydelivery takes a six per cent commission of each sale). By the end of the year, nydelivery plans to process secure credit card transactions on the site. If there had been an automat in Sleeper, it might have worked something like this.
It's no surprise that the concept has taken root among the harried digerati of Silicon Alley. Joost Schuur, a software engineer at Online Mag-ic, got tired of searching his office for takeout menus. He's now hooked on nydelivery. "I'm of the mentality that if I can do something on the Web, I'd rather do it that way," Schuur says. Beth Mod-lin, a human resources manager for AdOne Classified Network, is planning on modifying multitask keys on her computer to make her online dining experience even more succinct. "If I press W" she says, "then it will automatically send nydelivery my order for a Patty Duke Melt from Ellen's (Cafe &) Bake Shop"
Restaurants seem split on the virtues of online ordering. Some nydelivery participants enjoy the efficiency of the service. "I don't have to wait on the phone with customer who doesn't know what he wants," says Sherry Tseng, a cashier at Bon Oriental Gourmet in the West Village. The management at Time Cafe in Noho appreciates the added promotional value of being online, but has pragmatic concerns. "People want to know what the daily special is, explains manager Kevin Abbott, who says that the changes are so frequent that it would be difficult to update the site. "They want to sub this and sub that. And, anyway, our fax machine is upstairs in the office. For this to work, we would need one at the host stand." Nevertheless, Time has signed up to participate.
Golan, however, remains undaunted. Over the next year, he plans to expand nydelivery into boroughs outside Manhattan, as well as possibly adding dining reviews and grocery services. Though even institutions like the Stage Deli are experimenting with their own DIY online ordering systems, Golan hopes to bring all the city's restaurants together with the convenience of a single site. The goal, he says, is simple: "Point, click, and eat!"
News Press Release: Sidewalk Launches Instant Online Delivery Service in New York
NEW YORK, Dec. 15, 1997 — The New York Sidewalk: personalized city guide to local entertainment, published by Microsoft Corp., today announced the launch of a new food delivery feature that, through an agreement with nydelivery.com Inc., will enable users to order takeout food from over 100 New York restaurants. Busy New Yorkers can now read restaurant reviews, check out menus and place orders online. The new Sidewalk delivery service offers New Yorkers a convenient way to have great meals even when they don't have the time or the energy to go out. New Yorkers are working longer hours than ever before, which is having an impact on their social lives. In fact, a recent Sidewalk survey of more than 1,000 New Yorkers found that over 50 percent watch TV, rent videos or order takeout because they are too tired or busy to go out.
"While Sidewalk hopes to motivate New Yorkers to get out and take advantage of the city, we realize that sometimes weather, work and weariness get in the way," said Mary Lynn McGrath, business manager of New York Sidewalk."That's why nydelivery.com is a natural extension of the Sidewalk mission to make it easy for New Yorkers to enjoy all the city has to offer."
"Sidewalk is a perfect place to reach more New Yorkers with our convenient service," said Micah Garen, co-founder of nydelivery.com with Doron Golan. "We have found that once people see how easy it is to order food online, they realize it's one of the best and fastest ways to enjoy everything from New York's great pizza to prime rib."
In the same way Sidewalk helps New Yorkers zero in on the perfect movie, restaurant, bar, play, concert, gallery or sporting event, the new delivery service makes it easy to find the takeout cuisine they crave. The service allows users to check out daily specials, make selections, click to place an order and enjoy a great meal at home or work. The Sidewalk food delivery service provides access to over 100 New York restaurants and is available free of charge at (http://newyork.sidewalk.com/) (connect-time charges may apply).
Live on the Internet for over a year, nydelivery.com provides online ordering for hundreds of New York of restaurants. Its fast, convenient service is revolutionizing the way New Yorkers think about dining.
The mission of nydelivery.com is to make it as simple as point, click and eat. The service is free on the World Wide Web at (http://www.nydelivery.com/) (connect-time charges may apply).
Sidewalk offers residents a way to make better decisions about what to do, where to go, what to see and when to see it. From concerts to movies, restaurants and sporting events, Sidewalk provides previews, reviews and even customized suggestions about what's happening every day.
Sidewalk is available in Seattle; New York; Boston; Houston; Denver; Minneapolis/St. Paul; San Diego; San Francisco; Washington, D.C.; and Sydney, Australia. Sidewalk is also scheduled to arrive in Chicago.
Advertiser supported, Sidewalk is free on the World Wide Web at (http://sidewalk.com/) and is a featured offering on MSN, The Microsoft Network Internet online service, at (http://www.MSN.com/) (connect-time charges may apply).
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ "MSFT" ) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.
Microsoft, Sidewalk and MSN are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.
The Great Online Takeout
Have you ever needed to order in for lunch but couldn't find the menu you knew you had in the drawer? Are you tired of the same old stuff from the restaurant around the corner but don't know where else to turn? Well, hop online to www.nydelivery.com for an eye-opening, mouth watering tour of the eateries in your neighborhood-and then place an order before you log off.
nydelivery.com is a relative newcomer to the Internet, but currently it represents more than 320 restaurants in Manhattan. It has plans to branch out into Queens, Brooklyn and Nassau County. The staffers have fine tuned the ordering system, both automated and human, and can brag they've never lost an order.
Here's how it works. You Place an order online and nydelivery.com receives it in real time. You also receive a copy via email. Then, within 30 seconds of receiving your order, nydelivery.com faxes it to the restaurant. Upon completing of the fax, one of the members of the nydelivery.com staff calls the restaurant to confirm the receipt of a legible fax and that the order can be filled and delivered promptly.
You search for restaurants by areas referred to as zones. Each zone lists restaurants, including their addresses and the types of food they serve. Click on any restaurant name to obtain additional information such as telephone number and minimum order for delivery. A final click takes you to the actual menu.
Each restaurant's menu page works the same way, so it takes only a few minutes to learn how to navigate through the items. As you place your order a running total appears on the far right of the screen.
When you finish, click on the Total My Order button. The screen changes to show you the food total, any additional charges for special orders, and of course, good old sales tax. Finally, you have to fill out an extensive form with your name, address, email address, phone number, cross street, delivery or pick-up, and payment method. (Note: When we went to press, you could only pay by cash or corporate account as nydelivery.com was in the midst of securing its server for safe credit card transactions.) Clicking the Send My Order button completes the transaction, and you can sit back and wait for lunch to arrive.
There are several benefits to ordering online. First, you have a wide selection of restaurants and do not have to clutter your drawers with menus. Second, everyone has the order in writing so mistakes are less likely. Third, it is easier for the restaurant because during a busy lunch it is difficult to hear your order over the telephone. Fourth, you have someone following-up your order for accuracy and punctuality. And all of these benefits come at no additional cost to you.
A Business That's Hungry for Profits
A year and a half ago, the owner of La Casalinga in the East Village thought it would be good for business to introduce online ordering for his restaurant. But then Doron Golan and his colleague Micah Garen had a better idea: if it would work for La Casalinga, why not for the whole city?
Nowadays, the owners of the Silicon Alley startup NYdelivery.com have 330 restaurants all over Manhattan online, 10 full and parttime employees, and new offices at 10 Warren Street. Online orders are growing steadily. The partners plan to go beyond Manhattan to the outer boroughs and then to other U.S. cities. The model is simple -- NYDelivery.com signs up a restaurant, automates a slimmed-down menu for lunch and dinner, does the scripting, and takes percentage of each sale. The orders pass through the NYDelivery.com offices -- a possible chink in a long-term scalable business plan -- and are passed on to the restaurants, where they're prepared and sent out via messenger service. Minimum orders are as low as $6 and there's no service charge for customers.
"Our customers are from all over, and its a pretty even mix of lunch and dinner," says Garen. "If you can believe it, the most popular restaurant is Texas Rotisserie." Hmmm, barbecued brisket delivered at lunch time? We can believe it. But there's a wide variety of cuisines, from pizza and sandwiches, to all the ethnic eats New York has to offer.
The interface at the Web site is fairly simple and frill-free. Visitors click on one of several Manhattan regions on a map, and can then choose a restaurant or caterer within that delivery zone. (The best variety is downtown, so far). There are appetizers, drinks, salads, and desserts as well as main courses. The site adds up the total, and gives several payment options. At present, you can't pay by credit card, but that's expected to be solved by late November. There is also a place for special instructions or requests.
The service is particularly popular with Silicon Alley new media companies, said Garen, and it's not surprising. New media firms represent a large, captive Manhattan clientele comfortable with doing business online.
Beth Modlin, manager for administration and human resources for the AdOne Classified Network, told @NY she uses NYDelivery.com every day. "Now it feels almost archaic to take the time to find a phone number of some restaurant, call them just to waste time talking to some counterperson who has to verify if you're even in their area and then they misinterpret a cheeseburger."
So what does she order the most? "Usually, Curry Chicken and a Mango Milkshake from Franklin Station."
New York Magazine
February 17, 1997
Online Dining a la Web
Need mee krob delivered on Fulton Street? Have a hankering for vegetarian Chinese in the East Fifties? Consult www.nydelivery.com. An interactive map of Manhattan lets you click on a neighborhood, browse from a list of available eating spots (complete with menus), and submit your order over the Net. More than 125 boites are wired right now, and several dozen more are added each week. New gee-whiz technical features allow you to customize orders (as in, fresh garlic on the mushroom sandwich at Franklin Café) or find out whether the restaurant you've selected is still open and if your address is within delivery range. So far, however, system engineers haven't devised a way to stop delivery people from scattering menus in your building lobby.
New York Post
February 2, 1997
Food at fingertips
If there is only one thing New Yorkers have in common, it must be a shared passion for food delivery.
The whatever-I-want-whenever-I-want-it tradition of the city is being transferred to the web in prime style.
Communicating a food phone order can be one of life's most trying experiences, especially if the reason you are ordering in is because you are feeling antisocial or are too busy to go out.
Hungering for some New York takeout? Now you can order on-line at www.nydelivery.com
The Daily News
If you work in Manhattan, now there's another lunch option: put your computer to work. Pay a quick visit to www.nydelivery.com
The New York Times
January 19, 1997
Online Takeout Offers A Wide Choice of Menus
New Yorkers can now place orders for delivery, takeout and catering, at no extra cost to dozens of Manhattan restaurants through a computer connected to the World Wide Web by visiting http://www.nydelivery.com.
One of the developers of the site, Doron Golan, says it is the first web site "to offer full on-line ordering services".
So far, 45 restaurants in Manhattan are involved and 35 more restaurants and chains are joining. To sign up, restaurants don't need a computer; they fax their menus to (212) 571-1824.
Customers scroll through various menus adding and deleting items from their order while their current total cost is displayed in a running tally. They can pay by cash, check or credit card. When an order is sent to nydelivery.com, an email confirmation is sent to the customer. At the same time nydelivery.com faxes the order to the restaurant and the restaurant delivers the food.
The business began in the East Village in September.