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A 'Takeout' success story
Statesboro duo trying to build on delivering 1 customer at a time
Boro Takeout Driver Web
Jodi-Ann Simpson, a driver for Boro Takeout Express, leaves El Jalapeno Mexican Restaurant with an order in an insulated bag. Like many Boro Takeout drivers, Simpson is a Georgia Southern University student. - photo by AL HACKLE/Staff

The list of client restaurants at borotakeout.com looks like a who’s who of Statesboro’s independent restaurants with deliverable food, plus a few franchise places and one grocery store.

Since receiving the 2013 Entrepreneur of the Year Award last month, the owners of Boro Takeout Express have added another restaurant. They are in the process of adding three more. That will make the total 34 restaurants and Bi-Lo on their roster, four years and a few months after Rick Robins and Sally Minton started the business.

“We got a lot of calls after we won that award,” said Rick Robins. “That was kind of nice.”

The Statesboro-Bulloch Chamber of Commerce presented the award to Robins, but he and Minton are equal partners in the business. Both contributed ideas and skills from years of experience in relevant fields.

Incidentally, although the award is called Entrepreneur of the Year, the chamber does not present it annually, but only when someone succeeds in an innovative business, especially one seen as establishing its own local niche. Boro Takeout provides delivery service for some food establishments that previously did not deliver and has relieved others of the need to coordinate their own delivery teams.

How it works

What Boro Takeout operates is a dispatching center. The company purchased a software package, created by DataDreamers, that supports similar food delivery services in many communities. Boro Takeout Express contracts with the restaurants and supermarket, who pay a fee based on their monthly deliveries.

An interactive menu from each client business appears on the Boro Takeout site. So the restaurants are paying the firm for marketing their food as well as delivering it.

“If we can help other people reach their goals and be successful, then we’ll reach our goals and be successful,” Robins said.

Boro Takeout Express has relatively few actual employees, just the five or so dispatchers. At least one is on duty each shift, seven days a week, with Minton as the lead dispatcher. Two dispatchers often work together on the busiest evenings, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

The larger workforce is the team of drivers, who work as independent contractors. While Boro Takeout Express earns its money from relationships with restaurants, drivers receive the delivery fees paid by customers as well as any tips, Robins said. The fee is generally $3.75 in Statesboro, but surcharges are added for farther destinations such as Brooklet and Portal.

Drivers provide their own cars and pay for their gas from what they receive. Currently Boro Takeout has about 20 drivers but is looking for more.

Many of the drivers are university students.

“It really works well with their schedule because we can work around their classes,” Minton said. “If they have a night class, sometimes they can work earlier, and we don’t do late night.”

She adds that the independent contractor aspect makes the work good experience and a “resume builder.”

Entrepreneurialism

Minton and her husband owned a successful restaurant in Boone, N.C. In Statesboro, they opened Jaman Caribbean Café, which has since closed, where El Jalapeno Mexican Restaurant is now located.

Meanwhile, Robins has been a fundraising professional for 33 years, working as an independent consultant to nonprofit organizations for the last 20. One of the larger projects he has raised money for was the $29.1 million Oklahoma City National Memorial. Locally, he developed Dancing with the Statesboro Stars for Safe Haven. He also handled credit card processing for Statesboro restaurants, which is how he got to know the Mintons.

They had seen a multi-restaurant delivery service working in North Carolina, and thought Statesboro needed one. Minton’s husband, Stephen “Chef” Minton, a certified executive chef, programs the menus for the restaurants, Robins said, and both Mintons applied their experience to building relationships between the takeout service and its client restaurants.

Now Boro Takeout is contributing to the growth of similar businesses in other towns. A Boro Takeout driver recently launched Pooler Takeout, with the established Boro service providing computer dispatching and administrative support, Robins said.

He said Boro Takeout is looking at starting deliveries in Metter this spring.

Robins’ main advice for would-be entrepreneurs is to do your research and learn all you can from those who have done something similar.

“Although we’ve had different success than others in the way we market here in town, knowing what other people do or have done similarly in other communities is very helpful because that knowledge allowed us to avoid some mistakes,” he said.

Al Hackle may be reached at (912) 489-9454.

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