Insider Insights: A Decade in the Restaurant and Food Delivery Business

The past ten years have seen a dramatic transformation in the culinary world, creating a legacy of creativity and innovation. It’s as if a masterpiece has been crafted across the industry.

We’re going to explore stories from those who led this exciting gastronomic revolution. They’ve seen the restaurant scene evolve from a domain rooted in tradition to a dynamic playground ripe with innovation. Where diners once stuck to familiar tastes, they now eagerly embark on culinary adventures, hungry for unique and memorable experiences.

Meet Chris Heffernan, the Founder & CEO of dlivrd, and Ashley Campos, the Chief Strategy Officer—the dynamic duo rewriting the script in food delivery.

Corporate Blues to Entrepreneurial Bliss

Chris grew weary of the monotonous 9-to-5 routine and a boss who brought more stress than success. He yearned for a change. “I didn’t want to keep working for someone else; I wanted to chart my own path,” he says. Motivated by the idea of delivering diverse food options right to people’s doors, beyond just pizza or Chinese, he took a bold step into entrepreneurship. This spark of “why not?” ignited the launch of his first delivery app in 2011, which truly stirred the pot!

From Jimmy John’s to dlivrd’s Heartbeat

Ashley embarked on her journey with Jimmy John’s twelve years ago, mastering the art of lightning-fast delivery. Inspired by the lack of such services in her hometown, she had an epiphany: “Why not start our own delivery service?” Her mission was clear—to illuminate areas overlooked by major delivery companies. She combined her delivery expertise with building strong partnerships and maintaining fair fees for local eateries. Today, Ashley is at the helm, guiding the strategy for dlivrd with confidence.

Options Everywhere!

The delivery scene’s gone from ‘pickup or delivery’ to an assortment of choices — third-party, first-party, curbside pickup, online orders. You name it, you got it. Chris observes, “Before, it was Chili’s or the local version. Now? Vegan spots, taco joints, burrito havens — a buffet of choices from fancy to quick bites.” It’s like a food carnival, and we’re all invited! There are now a lot of options for everything and everyone within the dining realm. 

Wisdom from the Trailblazers: Christopher and Ashley’s Pro Tips

Chris shares his nugget of wisdom here: “Running a restaurant is no easy feat. It’s challenging, with competition at every turn.” His key piece of advice? Stay informed about the latest industry trends. “It may not be broken, but there’s always room for improvement.”

Ashley offers a key piece of advice: “Keep a close eye on every penny,” she emphasizes. Running a restaurant goes beyond serving delicious meals; it involves carefully balancing your finances. With costs like food, rent, labor, and insurance, profitability can slip through your fingers if not managed wisely.

For restaurants accustomed to relying on DoorDash and Uber Eats, dlivrd recommends considering alternatives like self-delivery or other third-party services to gain direct insights from customers. It’s akin to having exclusive access to tailored marketing strategies that can enhance profits over time. Understanding who is ordering from your restaurant is crucial, even when using third-party platforms.

Automation, AI, and Human Touch

When asking Chris about what’s to come for the industry, he describes a future drenched in automation and AI. “Automate the mundane, so you can keep the human touch alive,” he says. Ashley adds, nodding to dlivrd’s journey — from manual orders to slick AI tools. “Balance is key,” they agree, keeping it real with a side of tech.

In dlivrd’s recent technological advancement, our AI, Frederick, autonomously matched 5000 orders to drivers in just three minutes, a feat we hadn’t imagined a year ago. Yet, amidst this digital efficiency, our commitment to human connection remains steadfast. While Frederick orchestrates seamlessly, we cherish the personal touch—applauding and guiding our drivers. At dlivrd, innovation isn’t just about efficiency; it’s about nurturing a community where humanity thrives alongside technology.

Driver Partners are at the Core: dlivrd’s Love Letter to the Road Warriors

Ashley highlights a big part of dlivrd’s secret sauce — their driver partners. “Making sure our drivers are rockin’? That’s our top goal.” It’s not just about the green; it’s about making a driver feel part of a crew, not just a wheel in a delivery machine. Insurance perks, local driver social events, special tiers for top-notch driver partners — dlivrd’s got their driver partners’ backs through rain, snow, and sunny days. Because in the end, they’re the ones who are out there bringing magic in the form of food to customers.

Chris and Ashley’s stories weave into a melody that’s been setting the industry stage on fire. From wild entrepreneurial dreams to the smooth groove of delivery evolution, their stories are the beats that’ve kept our stomachs happy and our doors knocking. The future? It’s a delicious blend of tech and humanity, and in this tasty blend, the flavor keeps getting better.

In this ever-evolving industry, one must dance with change, not resist it. The magic is in the adaptation, in finding joy in the unexpected beats of the culinary rhythm.

And so, the story continues, a culinary continuum where every chapter holds the promise of innovation, challenges, and triumphs, waiting to be written.