The North Coast could soon have a dedicated food delivery service.
Candy Yiu, a software engineer at Intel, owns Near the Pier Guesthouse on Franklin Avenue and the Portland restaurant Malka with her husband, Akshay Dua. Over the summer, the couple started Slurpalicious, a free online and smartphone ordering platform for the North Coast, and has added several food carts.
Yiu and Dua recruited several drivers, including themselves, and plan to start deliveries in mid-January. Yiu said the service will initially cost restaurateurs up to $50 a month.
“Our model is we will only charge 10% to the restaurant for every order to go out,” Yiu said. “But once it hits $50, then we stop, so restaurants don’t have to pay more than $50” a month.
Malka can earn between $1,200 and $1,600 a week through DoorDash, Yiu said, but the delivery service takes up to 30% of the profits. Slurpalicious is part of the couple’s effort to help local restaurants afford deliveries, especially when the coronavirus pandemic has limited indoor dining.
The state Legislature capped third-party delivery fees at 15% and online ordering commissions at 5% during the pandemic. Portland capped delivery fees at 10%, although restaurateurs have reported some larger companies violating the ordinance.
Customers ordering through Slurpalicious will pay 7% of the order’s price in handling fees, Yiu said, along with $1 pickup and drop-off fees. Drivers will be paid 80 cents per mile. Slurpalicious will incentivize customers to group orders in a certain time slot, offering a discount on delivery fees while helping drivers earn more per mile, Yiu said.
“Slurpalicious is not going to make as much money as DoorDash, but I don’t think our expenses of running, (that) we need that much money,” she said.
The service has mostly attracted food carts, including Coffee OR Waffle, Surf 2 Soul, Roll and Bowl and CS Fisheries in Astoria, along with the Tres Bro’s Nicaraguan food truck in Warrenton.
Yiu and Dua have been recruiting brick-and-mortar restaurants to join the delivery service but have so far only convinced Curry & Coco Thai Eatery, whose future is up in the air. Nalinrat Sahunalu, who owns Yellow Curry Cozy Thai in Seaside and expanded to Astoria last year, closed Curry & Coco temporarily to travel and is debating whether to reopen in March, depending on the severity of the pandemic.
“We’re trying to see if the delivery can help them out, to get more business so they don’t have to close down,” Yiu said.
Yiu said restaurants were initially hesitant to join Slurpalicious, arguing that they have enough business from indoor dining. She suspects the situation has changed since the beginning of the pandemic and hopes to build momentum.
“Hopefully … they understand that this is really helping them and get more comfortable to do that,” she said. “Then hopefully we will just take off.”