Biz Beat

Hungry for takeout but in your PJs? Delivery services have you covered in Modesto

Modesto-Stockton Food Jets owner Charles Duke shows off one of the logo delivery cars for the online food delivery service. FoodJets recently switched to an app-based model and services much of Modesto, Riverbank and Salida.
Modesto-Stockton Food Jets owner Charles Duke shows off one of the logo delivery cars for the online food delivery service. FoodJets recently switched to an app-based model and services much of Modesto, Riverbank and Salida. mrowland@modbee.com

Hungry? I know, silly question. Of course you’re hungry.

But then the struggle becomes whether you’re hungry enough to get up and either a) make food, or b) pick up food. Well, my fellow lazy friends, your days of battling between laying on the couch and going to get a cheeseburger are over. App-based food delivery services, which have long been a staple in big cities, have moved into the Central Valley in a big way.

I knew something was up when I went to get a gyro at my favorite spot and not one, but two GrubHub drivers were waiting in front of me. Two of the most high-profile to enter the Modesto market recently are Sacramento-based FoodJets and Chicago-based Grubhub.

In April, GrubHub Delivery expanded into Modesto. The largest online and mobile food delivery service nationwide, it previously had been available in the area through its website. But participating restaurants had to provide their own drivers. Now the company has rolled out its own fleet of drivers in their red shirts and bright red food bags — as I’ve seen with my own eyes. You can order from some 30 restaurants, a mix of national and locally owned, right now. Delivery fees vary and are set by the restaurant in question, with many national chains charging no additional fee. Though the menu prices of some items may be more via the service.

Modesto is among 34 markets in 19 states that the company has added this month. They were already in 80 markets across the county.

But Grubhub isn’t the only delivery service with eyes on Modesto. The mostly Northern California company FoodJets relaunched itself at the start of the year. Formerly known as the web-based service Food To You, FoodJets can be used via app or web to order food from area restaurants, get groceries from Raley’s and receive catering. Davis High graduate Charles Duke, the owner of the Modesto/Stockton market for FoodJets, said they currently have about 16 restaurants to choose from and has plans to add more soon. While the service has chains like Chili’s and BJ’s Brewhouse, most of its choices are locally owned spots.

“It’s local business working with local businesses, so the personal touch makes the difference,” Duke said.

With FoodJets, delivery fees run $3.99 to $6.99 per order, depending on distance traveled, plus a tip for the driver. Late last year the company also started offering grocery delivery from Raley’s. The service has a $10.95 fee, which is reduced to $5 if you spend more than $100 on groceries. They also offer catering pick-ups through the website.

Duke, who lives in Modesto and was with Food to You since 1999, said he has about eight drivers in Modesto now and is looking for more. You might see some of the company’s logo cars zipping around town, which is how I first noticed them. The company currently covers the majority of Modesto, Salida and Riverbank for deliveries.

Besides FoodJets and Grubhub, Modesto also has app-based services DoorDash and Seamless (which is owned and operated by Grubhub) available in the area. Duke said he welcomes the competition.

“I feel like I’m growing more. It isn’t hurting me,” he said. “A lot of customers say, ‘I didn’t even know this existed,’ even though we’ve been around (as Food to You) for years. But I’m glad they’re becoming aware of us now.”

The delivery services like these make money by taking a commission or percentage of the total food sale. The theory is that participating restaurants will see an overall increase in sales thanks to more delivery customers. All of the apps are free to download. Grubhub is offering customers free delivery on orders with the code “MODESTOFREE” through April 26. And FoodJets is offering $5 off with your first order with the code “EAT5,” with no expiration date.

You can find out more about FoodJets by calling 800-951-3663 or visiting www.foodjets.com and Grubhub at www.grubhub.com. And with that, bon appetite.

Elsewhere around the Business Beat:

It’s Ladies Night Out at Crescent Work & Outdoor on Wednesday, April 18.

For the second year in a row the clothing, uniform and outdoor apparel shop is inviting women to come and enjoy discounts and more. Owner Craig Stott said the night is an effort to dispel the image of Crescent as just a “man’s store.” Last year more than 200 women took part.

This year the event will feature free hors d’oeuvres, drinks, a swag bag and a raffle. The event runs from 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday at the shop, 801 8th St., in downtown Modesto. For more information call 209-529-3490.

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