Shore-Dash delivers food to Destin's water playground — Crab Island
You’ve dropped anchor on the perfect spot at Crab Island in Destin for a day of fun and sun on the water, but you forgot the food.
Shore-Dash, one of Destin’s newest businesses, can make it happen and deliver that shrimp basket, burger or pizza right to your boat.
Bryan Garcia is the restaurant runner on land and Tollie Sterling is the runner on the water in her 12-foot Jon boat to make those deliveries.
“If you’re looking for a get rich-quick scheme, this is not it. It takes a lot of work to coordinate a service that is not offered,” Garcia said.
Sterling came up with the idea last summer when she had friends in town. They had intentions of picking up a pizza before getting on the water, but forgot.
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"Surely someone delivers,” she thought.
But after an online search, she found nobody that delivered on the water.
At the time, Sterling was working for Destin Pontoon Charters and mentioned the idea of food delivery on water. The owner liked the idea and said, “here’s a boat go do it,” she said.
Sterling was given an inflatable boat but had to figure out how to make it happen. It was a lot of trial and error.
“We figured out what doesn’t work and then took the wins,” she said.
By the end of last summer, she was making 50 to 100 deliveries a day on the water.
"We’ve spent the last six months playing around with different kinds of menu items,” she said.
Shore-Dash delivers for Landsharks Pizza Company, Fat Boys, Destin Seafood Market and Gilligan’s Seafood on the Harbor.
The way it works is people can call in, order online, or just flag Sterling down on the water to place an order.
Shore-Dash drops the boat in the water about 10:30 a.m. each day and Sterling starts trolling around Crab Island weaving in and around the boats, to let them know of the service.
"A lot of people don’t know the service exists, but a lot of the locals do,” Garcia said.
Sterling is the one in the blue Jon boat with a bright pink shirt on and sporting two flags on the back of the boat, one that says pizza and the other Shore-Dash
"We get a lot of repeats. A lot of the captains will order from us. We like to take care of them,” Sterling said.
“But it’s not just about us making money but bringing business to the restaurants that are slow this time of year (because people are on the water during the day),” she said. “So, we get to work with these restaurants that have great food and take it to the people out there.”
Garcia and Sterling have a good system and have worked out the logistics.
“We work well together. He goes straight to the restaurant; I meet him here (at the docks). It takes him seven minutes tops to get there and seven minutes back. And it takes me three minutes to get from the docks to Crab Island,” Sterling said.
And they keep the food hot, just like any delivery person.
“We have the insulated controlled bags, just like any other delivery service and most restaurants are close to the harbor,” Garcia said.
But with 400 boats or more on Crab Island a day, how does Shore-Dash know where to make the delivery?
“We have a GPS tracker, so we can mark them when they make an order. And communication is key. We communicate what is going on, so we can make sure everything goes out properly,” Garcia said.
Sterling said their website has built-in technology that sends her a link.
“All we have to do is click that link and it takes us to where they were when they placed the order,” she said.
However, if someone flags Sterling down on the water, she gives them a flag and a business card. The flag is to help identify them when she comes back with the delivery.
“Sometimes they move … I can’t find them and they’ve paid for their food. And then I’ll see them standing on top of a double decker somewhere in the middle of Crab Island waving a red flag,” she said.
The business card is for if they move, they can call with new location.
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This is a full-time job, seven days a week for both Sterling and Garcia.
Sterling gets on the water by 10:30 a.m. and they post on their Facebook and Instagram account if there is a special restaurant they will be utilizing that day.
Customers can pay with cash or credit card.
The delivery fee is $25, which covers the gratuity to the restaurant for packaging up the food. They also take care of the gratuity to the dock hands for the use of the docks.
“So, if you’re just getting fried pickles probably not convenient for you,” she said of the charge.
To see their menu of items for the day, visit https://shore-dash.com/menu/.
Sterling said they get the most request for “fried baskets.” However, they do deliver everything from burgers, pizzas and tacos.
There biggest day on the water thus far was the Monday after Memorial Day.
“We did almost 100 deliveries,” Sterling said.
They start delivering a little after 11 a.m. when the restaurants open and take their last order of the day at 4:30 p.m. in order to have on water by 5 p.m.
Shore-Dash only delivers to Crab Island and plan to go until mid-October.
“As long as people are out there, we’re going to try and do it. Once it’s a service rendered, and people have the expectation, you want to meet that expectation,” Garcia said.
“And the people on Crab Island … they are eager and they are ready to buy. They are consumers who are ready to consume,” Sterling added.
Garcia and Sterling are hoping to grow the business, with plans to have four boats on the water by the Fourth of July. They also offer merchandise on their website at https://shore-dash.com/.
“Our hope is to show revenue and stability, that we can move it to any other place with sandbars that has a need for food to be brought out to them,” Sterling said. “We love it.”
“This is by far the best office view I’ve ever had,” Garcia added, looking out over Crab Island.