Business

Durham food vendor creates "first-of-its-kind" app and automated delivery service

Posted January 13, 2021 10:14 a.m. EST
Updated January 13, 2021 10:48 a.m. EST

— "On the Way Foods" is touted as a first-of-its-kind automated food delivery service in Durham. Owner Rich Schreiber says it’s an answer to pandemic safety concerns as well as the higher costs of getting a quick, hot meal.

"We need a different business model. We need something that helps people, that lowers the prices but also gives a restaurant a fighting chance too," said Schreiber.

A phone app called FOOZZAM is the heart of the new business model. The app is available to any restaurant or food service vendor as well as help equipping a van with an automated system of food trays that respond to an app user.

Schreiber began his offerings with popular pizzas which are kept warm in automated trays in the back of his specially equipped van.

People sign up for the app. The more people in the same community who use the app, the more likely Schreiber will schedule the truck to park in a central pickup point to serve those users.

"I just send them a notice on the app saying we are at the location, come down real quick, it’s ready to go," said Schreiber.

The complex automation system inside the van responds to users’ commands. They use their app to pay, then swipe the app to open the van’s tailgate. Another swipe triggers a warming tray to present the boxed pizza.

Schreiber said, "It takes literally 20 seconds to get your food." On top of speedy service, customers have fewer worries about COVID-19. "It’s no contact. The whole thing is heated up to a temperature that actually sterilizes the outside of the box," said Schreiber.

The trays can be filled with a variety of foods and at a bargain price, according to Schreiber. "The Foozzam app does not allow tipping. It does not allow delivery fees. There are no fees of any kind. The price of the food is only the price you pay when that van drives up."

Schreiber just launched his Durham business. He says his drivers are paid a living wage to help compensate them without tips.

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