Sure you’ve heard of Grubhub or Ubereats–just two of the big-name online food delivery services that are revolutionizing the way that people dine “out”–but have you heard of Pueblo ToGo? Since launching at the beginning of June, Pueblo Togo has received raving reviews from the public. They currently have a total of 13 restaurants in Pueblo using their services including favorites like Pass Key, Bingo Burger, Mr. Tandoori’s, and recently Park East.
Pueblo resident John Knight is the area manager. He started up Pueblo ToGo with his business partner Ruston Hicks who is the founder of a very similar delivery service in Texas called Texas ToGo. Having come from a place like Midland, Texas where the economy is very oil-centric, Knight says he was skeptical at first of how successful this type of internet app-based delivery service would be in a place like Pueblo where the local economy isn’t quite so lucrative. But after conducting a great deal of market research, both Knight and Hicks discovered how wide open the market in Pueblo was for a service like Pueblo ToGo and decided to capitalize. “The public response, I feel, has been wonderful… The community has been very open to it. They’ve been receptive. They’ve been wonderful to all my drivers. We’re loving it,” Knight says.
In addition to the restaurants that are already available for delivery orders through Pueblo ToGo, Knight says that five more have already signed up and are preparing to go live within the next couple weeks. At their current rate of adding one restaurant per week to the service, Knight says that he expects they should have at least one-third of the over 200 restaurants in Pueblo available for delivery through Pueblo ToGo by this time next year. “The restaurants have been receptive to it. Pueblo is kind of an older community and some of the restaurant owners here are set in their ways. But [delivery] is the future of the service industry and the future of the restaurant industry as well. We’re just here to increase their sales,” he explains.
As for the big-name competitors, Knight says he isn’t worried. “Yes, we are smaller. [But] we’re not scared to compete with them,” explaining how the hundreds of millions of dollars worth of investors backing these more mainstream food delivery services provide them with a kind of financial safety net that enables them to operate in the negative and keep their delivery fees low.
Knight adds that even though delivery fees tend to be more around $4 on an order through Pueblo ToGo (versus the $1 to $2 delivery fee on an order through say a Grubhub or Ubereats), 80 percent of that fee goes directly to the delivery drivers employed by Pueblo ToGo – plus 100 percent of the tip they receive. While a delivery driver employed by Grubhub or Ubereats is typically only paid in tips and does not receive any cut of the delivery fee.
“We take better care of our drivers than those places do. But that’s because we’re actually trying to make a profit,” Knight says. “We are exploring other avenues of staying ahead of the game and maintaining the momentum that we have in the markets that we have and really establishing ourselves in these smaller markets before Grubhub and Ubereats venture down here.”
Pueblo ToGo is open seven days a week, 13 hours a day though their hours vary slightly–8am to 9pm on the weekdays, 8am to 10pm Fridays, 9am to 10pm Saturdays, and 9am to 9pm Sundays.
Pueblo ToGo can only deliver food from participating restaurants that are open. So while Pueblo ToGo itself may be open later than the place you want to order from, they are not magicians and cannot conjure an order for you from a closed restaurant.
Luckily, the Pueblo ToGo app makes it easy to know which participating restaurants are open, as the app automatically updates its list of restaurants’ availability and will prevent you from selecting a restaurant that is closed. First-time users of Pueblo ToGo can enter the coupon code: ‘firsttimer’ at checkout for half off of the total of their first delivery order. For more information and updates on newly added restaurants you can download the app, visit their website (www.pueblotogo.com) or check out their Facebook page.