Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Delivery from Restaurants That Don't Do Delivery; the Owner of to Go Delivery, Based in St. Augustine, Says It's an Idea Whose Time Has Come

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Delivery from Restaurants That Don't Do Delivery; the Owner of to Go Delivery, Based in St. Augustine, Says It's an Idea Whose Time Has Come

Article excerpt

Byline: ALISON TRINIDAD

Restaurants near downtown Jacksonville are signing on with a St. Augustine-based company to provide lunchtime delivery to nearby offices, but they said the orders have been slow to come.

Roosevelt Bennett, who started To Go Delivery Service in March as a dinner-only provider in St. Johns County, started working the Jacksonville market in late October. He's confident the service will catch on, given time.

"It's taken a little bit of time to crank up, but we've gotten a few orders for the restaurants," Bennett said. "There's nobody doing lunch [delivery] in Jacksonville, but a lot of restaurant owners are interested."

So far, in Jacksonville, the service has partnered with Cafe Nola, Chives, Dona Maria's Mexican Restaurant and European Street.

Bennett, a perfusionist who runs heart and lung machines during surgeries at Flagler Hospital, founded the company in St. Augustine to profit from the growth in St. Johns County, he said.

The company takes dinner orders for participating restaurants via a call center and the Internet, and charges a flat fee to deliver those orders to the diner's doorsteps. The fee for St. Augustine residents is $5.99, $6.99 for outlying areas. The fee is $5.15 in downtown Jacksonville.

"When I researched this type of business, it showed that markets like St. Johns County, like Duval County, were viable markets for an industry or service like this because the growth that's happening here. It was only a matter of time," Bennett said.

Minimum dinner orders range from $15 to $20 depending on the restaurant. The company has five delivery drivers and 15 participating restaurants in St. Augustine. Its delivery area includes south Ponte Vedra Beach and World Golf Village.

Bennett said word of mouth at the hospital helped kickstart the business. The majority of his St. Augustine business is from families, he said.

Lorna MacDonald, owner of the Raintree Restaurant in St. Augustine, was one of the first to partner with Bennett. Raintree is a high-end restaurant that serves dishes like escargot and roast duckling. …

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