Dinner delivered: Food delivery apps on the Emerald Coast

Savannah Vasquez
Jason Vitruls, co-owner of MyTown2Go850 picks up an order at Buffalo Wings and Rings in Fort Walton Beach. [SAVANNAH VASQUEZ/DAILY NEWS]

FORT WALTON BEACH — In this fast-paced digital age, even dining looks different than it did 10 years ago. There are now applications on smart phones that allow for food from local restaurants to be delivered to your door, even from restaurants that do not offer food delivery as part of their own services.

In bigger cities, apps for food delivery services saturate the market, with big name corporations such as Uber Eats and Postmates gaining national recognition. But the phone app food delivery concept is relatively new to the Emerald Coast.

A quick Google search found six local food delivery service apps in the Fort Walton Beach area, including: DoorDash, MyTown2Go, BringMeThat, Uber Eats, Grubhub and Postmates, each with varying ranges of restaurant offerings. The larger, more well-known brands such as Uber Eats and Postmates currently have fewer options available than the lesser known brands such as MyTown2Go.

Two years ago, Mary Esther local, Jessica Wright launched the Emerald Coast franchise of MyTown2Go, a national brand with smaller city markets.

Today, she and her business partner, Jason Vitruls, oversee 40 drivers in five local cities – Crestview, Destin, Fort Walton Beach, Navarre and Niceville – and offer more than 100 restaurants for delivery on the MyTown2Go app. Wright added that her service is even available to deliver on Hurlburt and Eglin Air Force bases.

“Definitely Fort Walton, Mary Esther and Niceville have been the busiest for us,” Wright said of the app’s customer-base thus far. “Buffalo Rings and Wings is definitely at the top and Slick Mick’s is another local favorite restaurant. Also Cash’s (Liquors) because we also deliver alcohol. We are the only ones who do it (alcohol) here.”

Alex Cook, Operating Manager of Buffalo Wings and Rings in Fort Walton Beach, said that food delivery service apps have helped significantly with to-go sales at their location.

"It has actually helped out quite a bit. We have seen a notable rise in to-go orders," said Cook. "Just from the apps alone it can range from five to 10 orders a day on MyTowns, and the same with DoorDash. If there are big games or it’s a weekend, we see a significant boost in our sales, up to 10-30 percent increase."

Most food service delivery apps work in a similar fashion; Customers choose from a list of local restaurants, then place an order. A registered driver then communicates with the customer to pick up and deliver the food for a small fee. Some delivery platforms require a minimum order of $10 for the service, and the going delivery fee ranges from $1-$5.99 depending on travel distance and customer loyalty plans.

With MyTown2Go, Wright said orders must be at least $7-$10 and delivery fees start off at $3.99 and go up to $5.99 if the driver is delivering to a military base. Wright added that the difference between the MyTown2Go business model and that of larger corporations such as Uber Eats, is that she has the opportunity to offer more locally owned restaurants.

“The biggest difference is that they are corporately owned and not as hands-on with their staff and restaurants,” she said of the larger companies. “They only put up restaurants that they have a partnership with, that’s why we have more restaurants.”

Wright explained that a partnership is a mutual marketing agreement with the restaurant that enables customer sharing and advertising platforms.

When asked what gave her the idea to launch the food delivery service in the Emerald Coast area, Wright said she was just in the right place at the right time.

“Somebody presented the opportunity to me,” she said. “It has slowly built. We don’t have corporate funding to do advertising so it has all been by Facebook and word-of-mouth. We just continue every day to do it the right way and we are very customer-focused.”

As for the other apps, the Daily News reached out to Uber Eats, Postmates, BringMeThat and Grubhub to ask if they plan to expand their offerings in the Emerald Coast area. DoorDash and BringMeThat were the only companies to answer by press time.

DoorDash launched in Fort Walton Beach, Niceville and Destin in January of this year and will be adding Navarre, Gulf Breeze, Milton, Pace and Crestview by the end of May. DoorDash allows customers to order with no minimum subtotal, and has begun expanding its services to include grocery delivery in some markets.

"From a merchant perspective, we offer the largest suite of services to create efficient and streamlined operations," a Door Dash representative said in an email. "We aim to make every city smaller by bringing you food – faster, fresher, and from farther away, giving you the time back in your day to focus on what matters."

As for BringMeThat, which currently only offers eight restaurants on their online app, a representative said their platform is just now breaking in to the local market.

"We're just getting started. We don't yet have a direct relationship with some of our listed restaurants," said a BringMeThat customer service representative in an email. "We list sites by accessing restaurant and menu information from publicly available online sources and placing them onto our site."

  • MyTown2Go850: https://www.mytown2go.com. Currently offers 80 restaurants in Fort Walton Beach. Delivery available on Eglin and Hurlburt.
  • DoorDash: https://www.doordash.com. Currently offers 55 restaurants in Fort Walton Beach and offers new customers $1 delivery for one month.
  • BringMeThat: https://www.bringmethat.com. Currently offers eight restaurants in Fort Walton Beach, mostly pizza.
  • Uber Eats: https://www.ubereats.com. Currently offers six restaurants in Fort Walton Beach, mostly fast food places.
  • GrubHub: https://www.grubhub.com. Currently offers two pizza places in Destin.

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