Counting on convenience

Leave it to the parents of a newborn to come up with a way to get good food without having to expend unnecessary effort.

"Everyone has a busy life, even people who don't have kids," says Boots English, who created Deliver de Cuisine &

and a baby girl, Olive, who is nearly a year old &

with his wife, K.C. Mahoney. "We wanted to make it easy to get convenient, high quality food."

Now it's possible to have a full-course meal delivered from a variety of Ashland's restaurants with simple phone call. Most of the featured menus will have everything available that the restaurants' normal menus would; breakfast is even available with 24-hour notice. The only items missing from the menus are beverages, which can be ordered directly from the delivery service.

Convenience is the primary focus. While the time from order to delivery is usually less than an hour, it's possible to order meals in advance to be delivered at a specific time. Orders can also be placed on-line at their Web site. Every restaurant's menu is contained in a menu guide, produced by Deliver de Cuisine, which is available at local supermarkets, hotels and restaurants. The guide will be updated several times a year.

"We thought it best to start with a small number of restaurants so that we could ensure good service but we are accepting suggestions for which restaurants should be featured in the next edition of the guide," says Toni Scott, who runs the call center and is a partner with English and Mahoney.

As the former owner and operator of Creekside Pizza Bistro, English says much of the reason for pursuing this venture is the benefit that the restaurants themselves receive.

"Everyone is really happy to be working with us," he says, "It helps their business on every level. They get to reach markets that they normally would not, they get a delivery service without the overhead and they get free advertising."

In March of this year, English went to a conference for delivery services in Chicago. He says that the attendees were more than willing to share their knowledge of the market and supplied him with many of the ideas that have helped them to integrate their service into the restaurants they work with. Much of the difficulty with a business such as this, he says, is streamlining the process between taking the order at the call center and picking up the food at the restaurant. After less than a week in business, it seems that they are making it work.

Jenny Donohue, who ordered food from Dragonfly on Wednesday night, was impressed.

"They were really friendly and professional. The food was perfect; we didn't even need to reheat it," she said.

Two of the businesses in the menu guide, World Feast and the Ashland Food Co-op, provide food specifically for Deliver de Cuisine's catering services. Their menu guide states that "with 48 hours notice we can take care of ALL of your catering needs." When asked what this implied, English was categorical.

"We will supply everything for any function. Business meetings, romantic picnics, birthday parties... We can bring balloons, candles, anything. We even have a list of DJs who work with us," he says.

For now, Deliver de Cuisine is serving Ashland and Talent but in the next eight months they plan to expand to Phoenix and Medford.

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