ANDERSON — You’re hungry, but you’re swamped at work. You and your colleagues make a quick call and before you know it, there’s a red-shirted guy on a bicycle at your door.
Even better, he’s got an insulated carrier full of the sandwiches you just ordered from your favorite go-to spot. It’s Jack Rabbit Couriers — Anderson’s new, eco-friendly lunchtime delivery option.
“Believe it or not, it’s faster,” said Ben Orcutt, founder of the newly established service that relies on pedal power. Drivers will start seeing the red-shirted couriers based out of Orcutt’s Buckskin Bikes at 517 W. 11th St. as they make deliveries to downtown businesses, as well as to Anderson University or Community Hospital. All it takes is a delivery order placed directly with a participating restaurant for delivery between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. weekdays.
“We’re delivering food for restaurants that don’t currently offer delivery,” said Orcutt. Right now, he’s lined up three restaurants, and he’s talking to several more. Orcutt said that The Nile, Trainstop Deli and The Pittt Barbeque are already on board.
“The idea came to me when I was working at The Nile,” said Orcutt. He started working at the restaurant during his college years. He remembered when patrons would come in with group orders to take back to a business meeting. “It made a lot of sense to me to deliver that to them.” It makes sense to restaurateurs as well.
“Ben came up with this idea. We welcomed it because it gives more chance for the people to get our food or try our food,” said Samir Naby, who owns The Nile restaurant with his wife, Angele.
“This is something some customers have expressed a need in the past,” said Naby. With staff limitations, he noted, “We couldn’t do it.”
Sandra Davisson, owner of The Trainstop Deli, said, “I think it’s great. We get a chance for the businesses to get a delivery service. ... We’re really excited. We’re telling everybody.”
Not deterred by bad weather
Customers are already tapping into the service. Leanne Torres and several other colleagues at the Excel Center recently happily received a Jack Rabbit delivery.
“It was fantastic. It was definitely a life saver,” said Torres. “We could not leave for lunch … It was great. We were able to use a credit card. It was easy to pay.”
After Jack Rabbit made a run to the mayor’s office, city spokeswoman Charlee Turner said she was impressed by the fast delivery. “It takes me longer when I go myself,” said Turner. “It’s a nice concept, really.” She suggested that providing such a service promotes growth downtown.
Orcutt said another advantage is the environmental impact, and he noted, “It just sort of ups the ante for safe roadways. It’s where we do business.”
Jack Rabbit Couriers will not be deterred by weather, with plans to run year-round. “The vast majority of the days around here are rideable,” said Orcutt. He conceded, “If it’s really bad, we’ll use a car.”
Cost of the service is 15 percent of the food order over a $5 minimum delivery fee. “It’s more affordable for group orders,” said Orcutt. When you factor in gas and time and tips for a lunchtime trip out, he noted, “It’s not anymore than you’d spend otherwise.”
The couriers are ready to roll, with bikes outfitted with racks and carriers. For those really big orders, there’s even a trailer. Tai Hoskins is a bicycle mechanic at Buckskin who is taking on the courier work, too. He’s excited about the new branch of the business.
“I think I have an awesome job. I like bikes and food,” said Tai.
“The only thing we’ve got to lose is some calories,” said Orcutt, laughing.
Look for Jack Rabbit Couriers on Facebook, or go to www.jackrabbitcouriers.com for more information.
Like Nancy Elliott on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @ NancyElliott_HB, or call 640-4805.
Need lunch delivered? What: Jack Rabbit Couriers, lunchtime restaurant delivery When: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays Cost: 15% over a $5 minimum delivery fee How: Place your order by calling a participating restaurant. The courier can take cash or credit on delivery. Right now, participating restaurants include The Nile (640-9028), Trainstop Deli (274-2222), and Pitt BBQ (643-1309). Stay tuned for more. More info: Look for Jack Rabbit Couriers on Facebook, or go to www.jackrabbitcouriers.com.