As many customers have realized by now, something changed at Borotakeout.com a couple of weeks ago, when its web address began taking them to the MrDelivery.com homepage.
Boro Takeout Express, created by Statesboro business partners Sally Minton and Rick Robins nine years ago, had built a network of Takeout.com locations in five Georgia cities. For dispatching and branding purposes, this area network became part of Mr. Delivery’s larger network, active in 49 market areas in 21 states.
But Mr. Delivery did not buy out Borotakeout.com and its offspring locations. Instead, the growing Mr. Delivery company, with U.S. roots in Bloomington, Indiana, reached out with an offer to bring the Takeout.com locations aboard as a franchise.
“The biggest hurdle we’re having is letting people know it’s still us, we’re still here, we’re still local,” Minton said last week. “We’re just going to have better marketing opportunities be able to do more with commercials and social media, being Mr. Delivery, than we were as Boro Takeout.”
For Borotakeout.com’s first seven years in business, Minton ran the delivery service from the dining room of her home. Two years ago, she and Robins relocated the headquarters to downtown Statesboro, in the Innovation Incubator space offered to entrepreneurs by Georgia Southern University at City Campus.
Still in the Boro
What is now the area Mr. Delivery franchise office will remain at City Campus. Minton and Robins remain the owners. Minton continues to schedule and manage drivers – who are contractors rather than employees – and will still work with the local restaurants and retailers who sign up to have their meals and other items delivered.
“We’re still going to keep an office here,” Minton said. “It’s just that dispatching isn’t done out of this office. We’re going to be dispatching through Mr. Delivery now instead of here … and the customers when they call, they can still call the same number. It just gets routed to the Mr. Delivery call center, and if somebody needs to talk to us, they send us a message.”
For now, Minton and Robins are keeping some former dispatchers employed to respond to customer service calls.
The Statesboro location alone delivers for about 50 restaurants and fields about 50 drivers, Minton said.
Boro Takeout’s owned expansion locations included Hinesvilletakeout.com, Richmondhilltakeout.com and Rosecitytakeout.com, which is in Thomasville. The Boro Takeout owners also introduced a Rincon service area a few months ago under the Mr. Delivery name, and the Mr. Delivery owners had them take over a Savannah franchise previously operated by a different owner under a different name.
All of these became market units counted in the 49 “cities” – mostly college towns, modest-size cities and some rural areas from Washington state to Florida and from New York to California – now listed by Mrdelivery.com.
The franchise opportunity came along just as the Boro Takeout entrepreneurs were seeking to establish standard operating procedures across their locations and discovering the cost, Minton said. They had also realized that naming the locations for their towns hampered efforts at shared advertising.
“Mr. Delivery contacted us around the same time, and they already have all of those manuals and SOPs and advertising materials,” Minton said. “It was what we had envisioned we wanted to do, and they had already done it.”
With Mr. Delivery, customers can again download an app for ordering from smartphones. Boro Takeout previously offered an app but lost the service, so technical support was another gain from joining the larger outfit.
With Mr. Delivery, customers also stand to gain access to national restaurant chains, and potentially some non-restaurant retailers, whose individual locations were not able to contract through Takeout.com, said Rick Robins.
“Mr. Delivery wanted us to come under their umbrella as they’re expanding basically by picking up strong independents like us to give them a national footprint, and the main thing that does is it allows them to be able to negotiate on behalf of all of us national contracts with national companies,” Robins said.
Chili’s deliveries should be added in Statesboro soon, since Mr. Delivery already delivers for Chili’s in Savannah, he said. Negotiations are underway with a couple of other national chains with Statesboro locations.
Meanwhile, Mr. Delivery’s national ownership is negotiating with two other Takeout.com locations, those in Pooler and Augusta, in an effort to bring these aboard as franchises. These locations are not owned by Minton and Robins, but by entrepreneurs who previously drove for them.
“Instead of focusing on an area or a market we want, we focus on a company that we want, that is a good operator,” said Jason Moldoff, chief operations officer of Mr. Delivery Inc. and one of the privately held company’s owners. “In fact, we’re talking to more in Georgia, one in Augusta, one in Pooler, that we should be able to come to arrangements with.”
Moldoff launched a delivery service called Straight to Your Door in 2006 in Bloomington, Indiana, while a business student at Indiana University. His company quickly grew to include three other markets, also college towns. But the recession hit as he was attempting to raise further capital, forcing some scaling back of plans, he said.
Then Moldoff met an investor, Laurence Levine, who was an owner of a Mr. Delivery company in South Africa. Levine, who invested in Straight to Your Door in 2011, has since sold his interest in the South African company. They rebranded the U.S. company as Mr. Delivery USA in 2013, and Levine is now the CEO and majority partner.
Moldoff describes Mr. Delivery’s franchising efforts and technological support as a way to keep entrepreneurs who introduced restaurant delivery services to their communities in the business. Otherwise, they face a tidal wave of competition from recent players with big corporate cash, such as DoorDash, Uber Eats, Bite Squad, EatStreet, Grubhub and others, as he tells it.
“So all of these independent, small operators that operated off of 20 grand, or took $10,000 out of their 401k to get started, they just became sacrificial lambs in this new growing concept where these companies were just throwing money at consumers, at restaurants and mostly at drivers,” Moldoff said.
Minton and Robins did not have to pay a franchise fee, but they pay Mr. Delivery a per-order fee for its dispatching services.
Meanwhile, the delivery fee paid by local customers rose from the $3.75 fee plus 50 cents fuel surcharge, or $4.25 total, which Boro Takeout had charged, to Mr. Delivery’s base fee of $4.99 for a five-mile radius, plus 30 cents for each mile over five miles.
But Robins noted that Boro Takeout’s delivery fee had not changed in nine years and that drivers, who pay for their own gas, receive only the delivery fee and tips.