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Could this be used for restaurant delivery business?

CharlesCharles Member
in General edited October 2009
I am looking at starting a restaurant delivery service. We would take online orders for multiple restaurants, fax the order to the restaurant, then a driver would pick up and deliver the meal to the customer. We would process the payments after adding delivery fee and gratuity. The restaurant would receive a check once a week.

I am looking into solutions for the online ordering and am considering ModX and Foxycart. Think they will work?
  • tookingstookings Member
    edited October 2009
    Hi Charles.

    I'm a sucker for Takeout Taxi in Houston. Sounds fun. :)

    I think you could do it...especially with the foxycart datafeed, you could (for example) write your own code to process the order data to automatically send the faxes and some sort of driver dispatch (if you wanted). Or just format the foxycart order notice emails in a way you could hand forward them as faxes when you saw an order come in...and maybe CC the drivers blackberry? Or have the foxycart order emails sent directly to an email-to-fax service (with no human touch, or custom code) you can create different email templates and destinations for different product categories (ie. restaurants, in your case) in foxycart.

    You can get the order data out of foxycart in a number of different ways too, as far as paying your restaurants. Assuming you encoded a restaurant ID, you could do a simple CSV dump to Excel and math from there...all the way to automatic work with the datafeed data saved in your own database, integrated with the API of a check cutting service.

    Just brainstorming. We like foxycart so much because it lets you use it in so many different ways...whether its using as much of the default functionality as possible, or deep custom integrations.

    How were you thinking of handling your menus/product catalog? (I'm assuming you are aware of the various ready-made software for RDS, but looking for something more flexible -- which foxycart is perfect for. Just curious...are you planning to do everything in-house, or outsource anything a la and for example?)
  • I have very little capital left after plans for a pizza shop went belly up. I have a bit of outdated programming experience that I hoped to polish up and give it a go myself. Or alternatively, try to find someone local who would want an equity stake. There will be an ongoing need for customization and maintenance. I am just considering options at this point. I have management experience in the restaurant industry, and MBA (for what its worth), an IT background, and delivery experience in this industry. I am just trying to turn it into a small business.

    Following your links, it seems that most of my ideas have already been implemented. I had hoped to build a similar business. I hate to just buy into someone else's business plan as I can see it just being a job and not building wealth. Looks like I will need to investigate this further.
  • tookingstookings Member
    edited October 2009
    From what I saw, it looks like you could do a lot better than much of what is out there. :)

    (Mind if I ask what area you were planning to do this in?)
  • brettbrett FoxyCart Team
    Fwiw, I think it could be a great idea, and profitable. I don't know the target market, and if there's somebody in the space already providing excellent services then it probably wouldn't be worthwhile, but if you can create a better system I'm sure you'd have clients.

    We sat on the idea for FoxyCart for a _long_ time before realizing that nobody else was going to do it, so we should stop waiting for it and build it ourselves.
  • tookings - That is what I was thinking. Plus, it isn't the ordering experience that will make or break the business but the actual delivery service that will. My market will be North Texas... preferably in the areas of minimal competition. There is an existing competitor by they do not even do the online ordering. Just the delivery. And they collect 20% from the restaurant for providing the service! That's what caught my eye. I think this is a ripe market for now. Just gotta figure out how to get into it...

    brett - My only worry with FoxyCart is that my business would be dependent on yours. If you decide to quit, sell out, or whatever, how would I convert to my own solution. It could really kill my business as all the restaurants would not be delivering.
  • brettbrett FoxyCart Team
    This may help:

    The good news is that FoxyCart doesn't lock you in. While it is the most advanced e-commerce solution that works like it does, it's not like it couldn't be replaced if something catastrophic happened. That's kind of the story with e-commerce in general though. You simply _can't_ do it without 3rd party services; it's impossible. You need hosting, a cert provider, a PCI scanning service, a gateway, a merchant account, offsite backups, and etc. It's tricky, and you definitely have to consider the possibilities of a mission-critical piece of the puzzle disappearing, but FoxyCart is run very conservatively in order to minimize risk across the board.

  • Very helpful. You make some great points. There will always be a weak link somewhere. For instance, I plan to have both wired and cellular (CDMA) broadband access to the net. Hate to lose business on the dispatch side just because of an outage.

    Would a phone conversation some time be possible to discuss the project?
  • brettbrett FoxyCart Team
    We don't typically do phone support, but we'd be happy to continue discussing it here. We could recommend some developers too.
  • tookingstookings Member
    edited October 2009
    [Note: I typed this before the last three responses. :) ]

    Personally, I think it would be more likely some other vendor would change the game on you before foxycart did. Some of our business was caught up in the "middleman" checkout companies that didn't payout most of what they should have, many years ago. And working in the affiliate world can be fun too. With foxycart, you could still pack up and move if you needed to...very difficult with some other solutions.

    Random off topic: If you are on the Dallas end of North Texas, ever been to the Cosmic Cafe? Yum. (If you like Indian.)

    It seems like an interesting business. And, if your systems were good enough, the overall application might be something you could license (using that term loosely) to other providers in different areas too, beyond running an actual RDS operation. Visions of tablet enabled drivers, running Lin–Kernighan, dancing through my head. Obviously a lot for you to think about though.
  • I'll tell you this. You guys are some of the nicest folks I have met on support forums. I am going to download and install ModX and play with FoxyCart. I will see what my deficiencies are who I need to hire. Will let you know how it progresses.

    Oh, and I will check out Cosmic Cafe even though I live in a suburb of Dallas to the west (Fort Worth). ;)
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