Food delivery services are booming. After playing a major role in how people ate during the pandemic. In rural areas, national delivery services are beginning to take hold. But in the Haute Vallée, some restaurants have decided to take delivery into their own hands with a service called UVER. Upper Valley restaurants and retail co-op, a clever pun on Uber.
Launched last summer, customers can order from local restaurants and have it delivered. The company had very humble beginnings.
“I’d be sitting in front of my laptop working, for the order to come, I’d drop everything I was doing, go to a restaurant, deliver the food, come back, and then, you know, just keep going. to plug in, which I can’t even imagine doing that right now,” said Chris Acker, Executive Director of UVER.
Their idea sparked a collaboration between restaurants. Starting with just four, they have now grown to over a dozen. The timing made sense, the pandemic changed the way restaurants operated. People wanted a way to get their local favorites delivered.
“At a time when there were a lot of restaurants like Lou’s, they weren’t used to doing delivery, but they had to pivot to make things work, like a lot of different businesses,” Acker said.
Apps like Uber Eats, Door Dash and Grub Hub take big commissions, hurting small local restaurants.
“You know, those bigger third parties, you know, delivery companies, it’s like a vacuum for money, you know, in whatever area it’s going into,” Acker said.
At Boloco Modern Mexican in Hanover, they were one of the first restaurants to use UVER.
“It’s better than the other names, you know, because it really helps our local community versus big business coming in,” said Zachary Stanley of Boloco Modern Mexican.
The cost savings are felt by customers and individual restaurants.
“It’s great to make money and get big, but you know it’s nice to work or work for people you know who really care about you,” Stanley said.
With local connections, they want their neighbors to have a better experience.
“If you have a messed up order, for example, I’m pretty sure you won’t be able to take the call in 20 seconds, tell someone at GrubHub, Door Dash about the problem with the restaurant,” Acker said. .
Other restaurants on the app are split between Lebanon, West Lebanon, and White River Junction. They hired more drivers and expanded the delivery distance. They also plan to integrate more restaurants soon.