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Eco-Friendly Restaurant Food Delivery Now Available in Alameda

Anton Bennett has started Darling Courier to deliver restaurant food in Alameda by bike. (Facebook)

Anton Bennett has started Darling Courier to deliver restaurant food in Alameda by bike. (Facebook)

Alameda restaurant patrons now have a new at-home delivery option, thanks to Darling Courier and its founder, 30-year old Alameda native Anton Bennett.

Bennett, whose sister Chilton Dodson started Tomatina restaurants, a local chain with an eatery on Park Street, grew up in Alameda, learned to ride a bike in Krusi Park, and moved back to Alameda early last year, after quitting his job as a bicycle messenger in San Francisco.

He saw an opportunity in Alameda to offer a restaurant delivery service by bicycle.

“I am convinced that Alameda is ready to accept and benefit from this type of service. And that there’s nobody here doing it. As soon as I moved back to Alameda, I was convinced there was a huge gap to be filled. There’s an opportunity among the disadvantaged and home-bound. It’s empowering for me to bring that to people,” he told Action Alameda News.

Restaurants struggle with delivery service, he continued.

“Restaurants want to offer delivery, but most do not, because it’s expensive. The costs associated with providing delivery are high, and that prevents most businesses from offering delivery. That’s where we come in. We are a cheaper, friendly, more professional and affordable delivery solution. Restaurants sometimes cut corners on things like workers compensation and expose themselves to risk. Most Alameda restaurants do not deliver, and only offer take-out. A lot more people from Alameda would order delivery if it was available.”

It’s an eco-friendly service to boot, something that fits in with Bennett’s climate change conscious mindset.

Right now, residents can order delivery from Darling Courier, and one of his cyclists picks it up the restaurant and delivers it, usually in 15 minutes.

The food stays hot, Bennett explained, because they co-ordinate with the restaurant for just-in-time pickup, meaning the food doesn’t sit waiting for a delivery rider. Also, they use warming bags, like a pizza delivery service.

“We can deliver it hotter than any vehicle can,” he said.

Annie Wilson is a 32-year old Alameda resident with a form of muscular dystrophy that requires 24-hour care. She heard about Darling Courier from one of her care nurses.

She told Action Alameda News, “For me, having Darling Courier as an option makes life easier by me not having to rely on family members or friends to run my errands. I now don’t have to leave the house if I’m not feeling well or if I want something delivered late night when nobody is around to go for me,”

She sees the courier service as a viable option for any sort of retail pickup and delivery – groceries, coffee, medications to name three.

In fact, Darling Courier does offer parcel services, but Bennett’s focus right now is on restaurant delivery.

He’s working to transition the business so that restaurants sub-contract with him for delivery, instead of diners ordering delivery from him, which requires two orders – one to Darling Courier, and one to the restaurant.

When we spoke with him, he was in discussions with two Park Street restaurants.

Under this model, restaurants would pay a monthly subscription fee, based on sales, and diners could order directly from the restaurant or through a web service such as GrubHub.

Motivated by a desire to green Alameda, improve the environment, and reduce emissions, Bennett says he’s “all-in” on his new venture.

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