Americans have significantly changed the way they eat during the last 40 years, and one local entrepreneur is capitalizing on that shift.
According to the USDA, 41 percent of food consumed is made outside of the home, a 20 percent rise since 1970.
With busy schedules in today's fast economy, it's no secret Americans eat out more often, whether in sit-down or fast food establishments. Food sales make up a large market that continues to grow. In 2010, $1.24 trillion worth of food was supplied through both food service and food retail. Of that total, food service facilities accounted for $594 billion.
Marrying the two concepts of eating out, while staying in, a new service in Jefferson City is bringing restaurant food right to your door. Traditionally, pizza has been the delivery food of choice, but with My Dinner Taxi, patrons can choose from several types of cuisine, all from one website.
Tim Overton worked in the pizza business for 24 years. When a broken foot set him back, he used that time to evaluate his skill set and made the dream of owning his own business a reality. On June 1, 2011, the entrepreneur opened up a delivery service in Columbia with eight restaurants on board, "and a shoestring budget."
After a lot of hard work and door-to-door advertising, Overton expanded his offerings to more than 30 restaurants in Columbia. In 2012, he moved into the Jefferson City market.
"We're just filling a niche that wasn't filled before," the local owner noted.
Boasting the slogan, "We bring restaurants to you!", the local delivery service now employs 28 drivers in both cities working as independent contractors. Restaurants don't pay anything for the service, and receive free advertising on the delivery website, door hangings and more.
With 12 businesses in Jefferson City to choose from, customers place their order online or by calling the delivery service. A fee of $4.75 is added to the order to help cover fuel charges.
"It is just as easy to order from our website, as it is from others," Overton said.
Overton said My Dinner Taxi sees both business and residential orders. The business is open from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. seven days a week in Jefferson City, and deliveries go out to mostly businesses during the day shift, whereas evening is mostly residential, as would be expected. Customers can order weeks or months ahead of time, giving My Dinner Taxi a catering feel.
While Americans look to convenience in all shapes and sizes, My Dinner Taxi has broken into this new service area. "It is a new business model, a new concept, but it's growing," Overton said confidently. For more information, go to www.mydinnertaxi.com.
Accompanying photo: Delivery driver John