Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 21st 2013 Contents NOVEMBER 2013 • WEEK THREE www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
NEWS | BG7
rant food delivery business
that started about a year ago
on the Internet is now
expanding to south Trinidad,
hiring more drivers, and esti-
mating potential revenue at more than
$700,000 per month.
Chris Narace, 24, and Renaldo Robertson,
27, started Eat868.com on November 8, 2012.
Through their drivers or "mobile waiters" as
they prefer to call them, they deliver food from
Hakka Restaurant & Bar, Levels Ultrabar &
Lounge, Chaud Cafe, More Vino, Jenny s on
the Boulevard, Tao Sushi, All Out, Kava, Drink
Lounge Bistro, Señor Jalapeños Mexican Grill,
Flair the restaurant, Mezzaluna, and Bella on
"On the conservative, if you take all zones
of T&T and you tally them up, easily, you can
see the company generating anywhere from
$700,000 to $1 million a month in revenue,"
Narace said. He said the average value of a
customer order is $265.32, adding that figure
is going up. "When everybody was saying
brace yourself for August and brace yourself
for September, we actually saw growth," said
He said: "Our business model is that we
charge the restaurant ten per cent, and the
customer pays a 15 per cent service charge,
plus the tip, which is optional."
The service charge is what others in the
industry call the delivery fee. They deliver to
Chaguaramas, Trincity and Caroni.
In an October 18 interview, and another
telephone interview on November 15, they told
the Business Guardian they intentionally started
off low key, relying on word-of-mouth adver-
tising and the Internet.
"What we re doing is rolling it out in a very
controlled way," Renaldo Robertson said. He
said it was their intention from the start to
refrain from coming out with a big advertising
splash in the media. Based on the market
research they had done and what they had
seen in Florida (Narace) and New York (Robert-
son), they knew the business would take off
and grow exponentially.
"We didn t want to be unable to keep up
with our orders," Robertson said. The former
engineer, who left his managerial job in Point
Lisas to go into business with Narace, said a
conversation with one of the owners of Levels
only served to confirm this resolve. The Levels
owner told him that when it started offering
delivery, the orders were going through the
roof, so the restaurant had to suspend the
service. People were placing large orders, fre-
quently, and from all parts of the country.
Eat868.com, however, only delivers within
its zones right now. "The intention is to have
delivery within the restaurants boundaries,"
As long as the order is large enough, and
there is enough time to get the food to the
customer without compromising quality,
Eat868 will take it.
"We would not even bother with some items
because we would tell the customer it would
not make sense," Narace said.
"You wouldn t offer a steak from Chaud to
Palmiste," Robertson said. "The steak would
be cold by the time it gets there."
The entrepreneurs have their eyes set on
the national market, though. "We re soliciting
restaurants in the areas where we are looking
to expand," Narace said.
At present, they deliver lunch and dinner.
"People say they want breakfast," Narace said,
but "no one wants soggy pancakes, or cold
eggs," so the team is not offering that yet.
As for what kinds of food they deliver, they
said they agree with their partner restaurants
on what is deliverable. Lobster? "We ve already
done lobsters. We didn t have any complaints,"
Narace said. Sushi? "Sushi is actually the num-
ber one delivered item, and in large quantities
as well," he said.
For the most part, he said, it takes only
about 15 minutes between the cooking time
and delivery time to get to the customer in
"Being realistic, if you have to pick it (sushi)
up from More Vino to deliver it to One Wood-
brook Place, it only takes about five minutes,"
Robertson said they have delivered sushi as
far as Cunupia already. He said delivering din-
ner to Cunupia takes about the same time as
it does to Blue Range, Diego Martin.
Though it may seem counter-intuitive,
Narace said, "Sushi is pretty good for delivery.
It s very conducive to delivery," Robertson
added, "It travels well."
Also, at dinner time, "It s all highway,"
Robertson said. Traffic is less. For lunch, their
drivers have to contend with more traffic,
especially in Port-of-Spain, but that s why
they are "getting bikes on board. If we get
orders to Trincity at lunchtime, we wouldn t
be sending cars," he said.
Narace said the plan is to give "value added"
to the restaurants in the Eat868.com network
by having signs on the bikes, so while the
bikes are driving through high traffic areas,
the restaurants are also getting advertising.
Regarding their packaging, the partners said
they do not have mini refrigerators in their
cars. "What people don t realise is sometimes
the restaurant s packaging makes all the dif-
ference," Narace said.
"People think the thermos and the thermo
bag are the only options, but in reality, there
are better containers out there and that s what
we re exploring," he said.
"Delivery itself is a very complex thing,"
Robertson said. "It wouldn t make sense if
you have to put out all those things, like fridges,
in the cars," adding that "we would just say
no to the order" if it is not possible to get
quality food to the customer in time.
"For the year in operation, we have never
had a complaint in our zones," Narace said.
The former marketer who worked with his
father in insurance before launching into entre-
preneurship with Robertson, said they encour-
age their customers to order early. "If you
order at 11:55 am, you cannot expect to get
your lunch at 12:15 pm," he said, so while deliv-
ery time from the kitchen to the customer is
short, the customers who order earlier are
"We try to tell consumers to place their
orders early before 9:30 am, so that they beat
the lunchtime rush at the restaurants. It s a
big thing for us to order early. There are people
who order Friday for Monday," he said.
Narace sees a future in which the mobile
waiters will have tablet computers, so that
they can get instructions to pick up and drop
off orders while on the road, and customers
can sign for receiving the food electronically.
He said the plan is to install tracking devices
on the drivers vehicles, so their locations are
known. Narace said the company uses an app
(computer application) to tell the drivers the
fastest way to their destinations based on
Giving the history of the company s start,
Robertson said he and his partner "looked at
the market to see what was missing." While
working late nights on another venture---a
fashion magazine---Robertson and Narace found
themselves short on food options available for
Narace said they found themselves having
to take their meetings to restaurants. "Through
an inconvenience, we created a convenience,"
Narace said the food delivery business they
conceived exists elsewhere in the world. He
mentioned GrubHub in the United States, and
JustEat in the United Kingdom. He said
Eat868.com is not exactly like either of the
two, but merges the best of both worlds.
To date, Eat868.com has served about 500
customers, Robertson said, many of them
repeat customers. "We have customers who
order four to five times per week; some order
twice per day."
Offering advice to restaurants that want to
come on board with Eat868, Narace said "it
does not add up" when individual restaurants
try to do delivery themselves, because they
have to hire drivers on their own and it would
cost less to use their service.
"Our goal is, over the next three to five
years, to have restaurants just come on board
to have their food delivered anywhere in the
country," Robertson said.
Narace said the aim is to pool the use of
the drivers because having multiple drivers
for multiple brands going into the same areas
does not make sense.
Robertson said he saw one guy on a bicycle
in New York doing deliveries for Burger King,
McDonald s and Wendy s all in the same area,
and that is what will work best long term.
Narace said sometimes everyone in the same
family might agree to order food, but not the
same type. Separate orders from KFC, Jenny s
and Burger King can be satisfied with one
delivery, Narace said.
As for fear of competition, the duo have
none. They said another company attempted
to compete, but folded in months.
Bad orders are also not among the company s
fears. Robertson said: "We have control mech-
anisms. If it s a big order, we try to take your
credit card information." He said in their year
of operation, they have never had a bad order,
but "it is something we definitely have to pay
attention to when we go public to the mass
He said they have never had a problem with
wrong orders because the ordering is done
online and no one can say they did not hear
"You have to take responsibility for whose
fault it was. If it s our fault, we take 100 per
cent responsibility," Narace said.
"As it s all ordered online, if there was any
human error, it would be your error," Robertson
In a worse case scenario, "if the customer
turns out to be a hoax, we just have dinner
that night," Narace said. "For the most part,
because we have not marketed to the masses,
we have only serious orders," he said.
Describing their customers, Narace said they
have many corporates and corporate-based
customers in the day and residential customers
Narace said they stay away from government
customers. "We really don t cater to the Gov-
ernment," he said. "From what I ve heard, it s
not worth my time. Even if you order $100,000
from me, but it takes six months to get paid,
it s just not worth it."
Renaldo Robertson, left, and Chris Narace, who created Eat868.com.
As long as the order is
large enough, and there
is enough time to get
the food to the
Eat868 will take it.
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