Gone are the days when that valuable real estate on the refrigerator door or in the junk drawer had to be devoted to dozens of takeout menus.
Enter the smartphone and the internet, portals to a wealth of options around the Inland Northwest for staying in and giving others the arduous task of negotiating traffic while fragrant fumes waft from the backseat.
Americans will spend $20 billion this year ordering food online, according to the investment firm Cowen, a number that researchers expect to more than double in five years as services become more available and eateries vie for the attention of a hungry and tech-savvy audience.
Get those devices out and start thumbing through your dinnertime options with these services available to those nailed-down noshers out there.
Has app? Yes
Restaurants available in: Coeur d’Alene (30)
Franchise owner Matt Logan was working graveyard shifts at a manufacturing firm and delivering groceries during the day when he decided to expand into the restaurant delivery service.
“I did the double duty of working at night and during the day for about two years,” Logan wrote in an email. “I don’t recommend it.”
His company, which was known as “CDA Food Delivery,” rebranded as “Mr. Delivery” last year, taking on the moniker of a company started in Cape Town, South Africa, a quarter century ago. Mr. Delivery was first introduced stateside in 2006, when the firm formed a partnership with a delivery service out of Texas, Logan said.
Mostly available in college towns like Austin, Texas; Morgantown, West Virginia; and Ann Arbor, Michigan; Mr. Delivery hires its own drivers and gives North Idahoans 31 options for food delivery in a variety of cuisines, including barbecue, Italian, deli sandwiches and bar food.
A flat $4.99 fee is charged for customers in Hayden and Coeur d’Alene, with a minimum order of $15. Post Falls customers pay $5.99, with a $20 minimum. Logan said he wants to lower the minimum order amount to $9 in Coeur d’Alene soon so that customers can order meals just for themselves.
Spokane Takeout Deliveries
Has app? Yes
Restaurants available in: Spokane (currently about 30 partners, charge added for nonpartner restaurants)
In the world of online ordering, large-scale mergers and consolidation have become commonplace as firms vie for consumers’ attention.
Enter Spokane Takeout Deliveries, a locally owned firm that set up shop earlier this year near the NorthTown Mall. Eric Prunier’s business has partnered with several locally owned restaurants to provide deliveries at a charge of $3, but the company’s drivers will pick up any restaurant item (or groceries, or furniture, for that matter) using the service’s custom order option, which will set you back $4.
Prunier, who also works a job in the mornings processing customs paperwork, said he employs 12 drivers and delivered nearly 900 meals in September 2017.
“I moved to Seattle for three years and attended the University of Washington,” Prunier said. “When I moved back and went to order stuff, the options were pretty limited.”
Ferrante’s Marketplace Cafe, an Italian eatery on the South Hill, added Spokane Takeout Deliveries as a partner in October.
“The customer doesn’t get charged anything extra for the service,” said Lexi Coopersmith, a hostess at Ferrante’s.
Prunier said that’s part of the company’s strategy, operating off margins from the delivery fees and paid advertising on the company’s social media accounts.
“We’re not a big outfit,” he said.
If you’re concerned about handing out your debit or credit card number, Spokane Takeout Deliveries also accepts the digital currency bitcoin to pay for your food.
Has app? Yes
Restaurants available in: Spokane (14), Coeur d’Alene (1)
Tracing its roots to the days of dial-up, this delivery and marketing service is a merger between New York- and Chicago-based firms that recently expanded with the purchase of Yelp’s Eat24 and Groupon’s Order Up services. If you use either of those services to find your dinner destination, you’ll be having your food delivered through Grubhub.
A recent industry report indicated Grubhub has the largest market share of a booming online ordering industry, with 34 percent of online customers using the service. Grubhub is outpacing the more ubiquitous UberEats (more on that below) and Amazon.
In Spokane, you can use Grubhub to order a variety of Asian, Mexican and American cuisines from restaurants that have their own driving staff. That includes the Great Harvest Bread Co. on the South Hill, which began offering orders through Grubhub about a year ago.
Fees range from $1.99 to $6.99, and depending on the restaurant, you’ll have to hit a minimum purchase amount in order to use the service.
Has app? Yes
Restaurants available in: Spokane and Coeur d’Alene (about 100)
The service sharing the corporate umbrella of the wildly popular ride-hailing app came to Schmidty’s Burgers in Coeur d’Alene in November.
“I think it’s starting to get a good roll going,” said Jake DeWitt, a manager at the burger, fries and appetizers restaurant that opened on Fourth Street in 2014. “It started off slow.”
UberEATS has been operating a bit longer in Spokane County, first launching with about 100 partner restaurants at the beginning of August 2017. Users must download a separate app from the ride-hailing service, but the principle remains the same – users are shown a variety of takeout options based on location, which is then delivered by one of the service’s contracted drivers that you can track on your phone in real-time.
A $4.99 “booking fee” is added to every order.
Eva Odom, a customer service representative at Great American Bread Co. on the South Hill, said the restaurant uses multiple delivery services, but UberEATS has proved the most popular because of name recognition.
“It’s just the most accessible brand,” Odom said. “Most people already have the app.”
Has app? Yes
Restaurants available in: Spokane (15)
Envisioned by hungry students at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, this independent ordering service is now available in more than 250 cities, including Spokane.
Currently, the company has none of its own delivery drivers operating in the Inland Northwest. The firm, which started in 2010, bought out a Philadelphia-based food delivery start-up earlier this year and added drivers in 10 markets on the East Coast and in college towns.
Users can order delivery from a little more than a dozen restaurants around Spokane with their own takeout services, including Tomato Street, Azteca and Bangkok Thai restaurants.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the Spokane7 email newsletter
Get the day’s top entertainment headlines delivered to your inbox every morning.