The owners of LimoCuisine say they offer everything you’d expect from a professional delivery system: prompt service, courteous drivers and competitive prices. One thing they can’t guarantee just yet is that your food will be delivered in a limo.
But the concept of the white glove service – or in this case the white oven mitt service – is at the heart of the business, said co-creator Clark Loffman.
“We’re not just about delivery,” Loffman said. “It’s important to us and reflective in our name that every order gets personalized attention.”
LimoCuisine was started by Loffman and his business partner Saul Picker in March. Both men, who are residents of Teaneck, knew each other through Loffman’s former restaurant, Fish of The C’s, which Picker patronized.
After more than three years in business, a couple weeks ago. Loffman said the tough economy and lower foot traffic on Cedar Lane made it difficult to stay open.
While obviously disappointed in the recent shutdown, Loffman said his experience in running a restaurant, as well as his background in information technology, helped in the formation of the new online ordering and delivery service. Picker, who is a software developer, built the entire LimoCuisine website.
Both men had discussed in the past how in South Africa, where Picker is from, there was a company that would put out a book of menus and give one to every household.
“You would just open the book, find your food, call one number, order your food, and they would deliver it,” Loffman explained. “So it didn’t really matter if the restaurant had a delivery guy because this service would pick it up and deliver it. So we were kind of thinking about it within Cedar Lane.”
NO MORE DIFFICULT DINNERS
LimoCuisine began with seven restaurants listed on its site and now features 18 kosher and non-kosher establishments. A majority of the eateries are in Teaneck, with a few located in Hackensack and Englewood, and all types of ethnic cuisines are represented.
Customers can place orders immediately or schedule them for later in the day, and they can even order from more than one restaurant, which can be a saving grace when dealing with picky eaters in the family.
“If your kids want pizza and you want sushi, you can order from the two places and pay online,” Loffman said. “We handle everything from getting the orders to the restaurants and picking up and delivering the items.”
After placing your order online, an email confirmation will be sent. LimoCuisine will contact the restaurant(s) to verify that the order was received and will take note of the time that the food will be ready. The customer is then called back and told when to expect the order’s arrival.
“We have our drivers there a couple of minutes before the restaurant has it ready,” Loffman said. “We’re always waiting for the food; the food is never waiting for us. All our drivers have insulated food bags and pizza bags that they travel with. We get the food and get it to the customer as soon as possible while maintaining all traffic laws.”
Customers who encounter any difficulties while ordering online can call 201-605-6600. Delivery costs start at $2.50 if ordering from one restaurant. The cost rises incrementally with each additional restaurant from which you order. Customers also have the option of adding a tip before checking out.
Loffman said the company has been running promotions that offer free delivery. LimoCuisine’s Facebook fans learned they can get free delivery through the end of May with the code LIMOFB12. Loffman wants to help restaurants create their own coupon codes for the site, as well as post specials and advertise in general. He also encourages people to suggest their favorite restaurants for possible inclusion on the site.
MORE CUSTOMERS FOR RESTAURANTS
For restaurants interested in more exposure, Loffman said there’s no cost associated with having their menu listed on LimoCuisine.
“The only time it costs you is when we bring people to you,” Loffman said. “We look at it as a marketing service to drive customers to the restaurants. Once they taste the food, especially if it’s convenient enough that they can get it delivered at home, then the next time the customer may take everybody out and visit the restaurant.”
Loffman explained that his company fulfills a need for dining establishments that lack a Web presence and that don’t want to or can’t afford to hire a full-time delivery person. The site also removes the need for a minimum order.
“There’s not a lot of revenue involved with sending someone out to deliver just an order of fries to a customer,” Loffman said. “But if a customer is willing to pay for that convenience, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t bring it to them.”
Along with Loffman and Picker, LimoCuisine employs a full-time operations manager, two full-time drivers and two standby drivers. The company hopes to expand throughout Bergen County, but currently delivers mostly to Teaneck, Hackensack, Paramus, Englewood, Tenafly, Demarest and Cresskill.
“Because we have the drivers, we also offer flat-rate delivery, so restaurants can reach out to us for any kind of order, not just those placed through our site,” Loffman said.
FINDING A NICHE IN THE CURRENT ECONOMY
From his experience in running a restaurant and having friends in the business, Loffman said he knows personally how hard it can be to make a profit in today’s economy.
“People are a lot more conscious of price and are going out less than they were three or four years ago,” he said. “For this particular business, it serves a wide range of places, so we’re hoping to achieve economies of scale by having many restaurants on board with us and giving people a lot of different choices.”
Loffman said when he was running Fish of The C’s, he was on the receiving end of sales pitches but now it’s his job as part owner to get more restaurants to recognize the benefits his company can provide.
“Everybody is concerned about where to put their dollars – do you advertise in the paper or the coupons that get mailed to people’s homes, or do you try other things? I think we have a nice model because it doesn’t really cost anything,” he said. “We don’t charge a setup fee. We input all the menus at our expense, and we show the restaurants their full menu before everything goes live, so they can check for accuracy on the items listed and the prices.”
Future plans for the company include expanding delivery services to other types of businesses, such as candy shops, flower stores, pharmacies, accountants, lawyers – anyone who has anything they want delivered in the same day or within a two-hour time slot. Those new services would be provided under another business name, Loffman stated.
Despite the initial challenges that come with starting any kind of business, such as getting the word out about your services and building a customer base, Loffman said he has been seeing on a weekly basis an increase in website hits and online orders.
“We’re very optimistic about the business,” he said. “It seems to be catching on.”
Coupon code LIMOFB12 can be used for free delivery through the end of May