LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A new food delivery app is launching in Louisville next week, and the developers said it’s designed to minimize excessive fees.
FoodChing works like most food delivery apps. Customers order food on the app from restaurants that agree to upload their menus. Drivers will then pick up and deliver the meal. However, the developers of FoodChing said their platform keeps more money in the pockets of the customers, restaurant owners and delivery drivers.
“We’re free for the restaurants to use," said Gene Stein, the owner-operator of FoodChing Louisville. "We’re less expensive for the customers to order through, and we pay our drivers more than the other delivery services do."
Stein said more than 100 restaurants are already on board, and FoodChing has hired at least 50 drivers so far. The free app will launch for the Louisville area June 22 and will provide service on both sides of the Ohio River.
The process of creating FoodChing started two years ago with developers based out of Wilmington, North Carolina. The idea and planning came about before the COVID-19 pandemic but then accelerated through 2020’s surge in demand for at-home food delivery.
“I’m really excited, there’s really no downside to it I don’t think,” Stein said.
Stein, a local businessman, was approached by FoodChing a couple years ago to launch the app in the Louisville market. Since then, he’s helped mold and design the service, like requiring that the app is free for restaurants to use.
Restaurants typically have to pay to use a food delivery service, which can be a financial hindrance to signing up. Restaurant profit margins are tight with little wiggle room. So for restaurants to benefit from the deal, Stein said FoodChing will never make restaurants pay to use the app.
Some of the restaurants that will be on the app starting next week include Hooked on Frankfort, The Raven Irish Pub, Frankfort Avenue Beer Depot, Fante Coffee, Eggs on Frankfort, Bearno’s Pizza and much more.
There is still a delivery fee, but it goes directly to the drivers. The fee is a flat $2.99 for the first mile. There is then an added $1.99 for miles 2-5, and an extra 50 cents every mile after that.
“The drivers get 100% of the delivery fee, and they get 100% of the tips," Stein said. "The other services take a percentage away."
Since the app does not charge the restaurant and does not take a cut from the driver, it makes its money through a flat service fee of 5% and a menu markup. All the restaurants have agreed to an 18% menu markup. So if you see a menu item for $10 in the restaurant, it will be $11.89 on the FoodChing app.
Stein said that even with the markups, the customer still ends up with a better deal.
“Our delivery service for the customers is less expensive, because we’re not nickeling and diming customers with fees up on fees upon fees," Stein said. "That’s just not right and not how we want to do business."
And each time customers order meals, they can give back to the Louisville community.
“We allow the customer to round up their to the next whole dollar, and that extra money goes to Feed Louisville," Stein said. "That’s an organization here in Louisville that feeds homeless people and people who don't know where their next meal is coming from. And that’s something we’re excited to be involved in."
The app will eventually be available in 40 markets in the U.S., but it is launching in Louisville first. The website will go live June 22, and that is also when customers will be able to download and use the app.
If you would like to sign up to be a driver or would like to include your restaurant on the app, you can text Stein at 502-627-0024 with your information.
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