BEACHWOOD, Ohio — With the pandemic limiting indoor dining, many restaurants are using delivery services like Uber Eats and DoorDash.
But those services can be costly when the fees cut into profit margins.
To help, city officials created Beachwood Delivers, which provides delivery services from restaurants to customers free of charge.
“A couple of the restaurants that we were speaking to just to bounce this idea off of them, said that they were really hurting, and that it was sort of an illusion that the third-party apps were bringing in money to the restaurant. But in essence, there was a hole in the bucket, and it was cutting into their very thin profit margin," said Karen Carmen, Community Services Director for the city of Beachwood.
The drivers for the free service are hired by the city of Beachwood, officials said.
Carmen, came up with the idea while working with Mayor Martin Horwitz, and the city, to help local businesses paying substantial margins for delivery services during the pandemic.
City leaders said the free delivery service will help customers save money and help restaurants make money.
"It’s a win, win, win situation for everybody. Of the restaurants that are participating in our program, these are really local businesses, they’re not chains, they have roots here in the Northeast Ohio community,” Horwitz said.
Mario Santo Domingo started MarMar’s Pop Up Pizza Kitchen with his wife.
He's getting the free delivery service for his restaurant.
The operation is running out of a different restaurant for now, doing pickup orders for hungry customers.
He said as a chef, he always dreamed of running a restaurant.
"I love pizza, my wife loves pizza, everyone loves pizza. Pizza was not very badly effected by COVID. Actually, a lot of the numbers went up, so we thought it was a perfect time and place to start our own business and give it a shot,” he said.
Domingo said the restaurant is only three weeks old, so being apart of the delivery service helps get the name out there.
The free service helps the restaurant save money, too.
“Some people charge the full 30%, on top of what they want to make. Others will charge a percentage of it and others will eat it. If you’re one of those companies that’s going to eat that cost, it takes your margins down to almost nothing and you know, there’s been quite a few stories about how that’s negatively impacted the industry.”
Domingo said he’s starting to do make more pizzas as his young business grow.
He said he's happy to have another boost to get his business up and running.
“It’s fun, I enjoy it. I’m having a great time working with my wife again.”