Local Heroes

How three college students turned a local food delivery idea into a business that powers local restaurants across America

April 8, 2021

Discovering the need for local food delivery in hometowns across America 

College. A time full of late nights, new friends, a little schoolwork, and lots of, yep you guessed it, food. When brothers Mike and Dan Rolland and friend Corey Arenson were attending Indiana University and the University of Colorado, they experienced a tension that would become their life’s work. In their respective college towns, many students didn’t have cars, they weren’t cooking much, and they wanted to eat at unusual times. There had to be a better way to connect local restaurants with the local community. 

As sophomores in college at IU, Mike and Corey launched a restaurant delivery app & website, btownmenus. They spent their days passing out fliers and free pizza. True entrepreneurs, they spent their nights bringing free food to different apartment complexes and greek houses. When their teachers began to take notice, they let Mike and Corey make announcements about the delivery service in front of lecture halls to encourage students to use btownmenus. Mike and Corey started seeing some major traction, so when Mike's brother Dan enrolled at the University of Colorado in 2006, he launched a sister company: hungrybuffs. Using similar tactics, that company began seeing success as well.  When the three finished school, they joined forces to create a delivery platform that would bring local food to the local community in towns across the country. 

Hungry Buffs Food Delivery App

How LoDel provides local restaurants with the online ordering platforms they need, and local communities with the food they want 

LoDel’s mission is two fold. On one hand, they provide local communities with a reliable, easy way to discover and enjoy the best food their town has to offer. On the other hand, they exist to provide local restaurants with an online ordering platform that makes connecting their food with their local communities simple and successful, “We offer local restaurants the most affordable option for a delivery and marketing vehicle to aid in driving more business to them from consumers within the community.” LoDel’s mission is more than just a statement, it’s the core of who they are. “In a crowded category with many massive national players that continues to grow rapidly, LoDel is locally operated for local restaurants.” The company was started in local markets by local college students.

Food delivery app for local restaurants

Today LoDel has a presence in “hometowns” nationwide from Boulder to Bloomington, Flagstaff, Arizona to Provo, Utah, Fargo, North Dakota and countless others. They’re expanding their footprint rapidly in hopes of soon having a presence in every “hometown” in America. “Put simply, we do what we do  to help restaurants bring in more business and make customers’ food decision making simple, local and fun.” 

Designed to make local delivery profitable and simple

Delivery can be difficult for local restaurants: with high commissions on top of what are already low margins, it can feel like the juice isn’t worth the squeeze. LoDel understands this challenge and is structured specifically for “the best takeout and delivery restaurants in their hometowns.” LoDel connects local restaurants with a local LoDel franchisee to consult on how they can make delivery simple and successful for their restaurant specifically. LoDel provides local restaurants with multiple platforms that help the community discover their restaurant and order food online, simplify communication with their customers, and improve their order accuracy and restaurant operations. 

Food delivery app for small restaurants

How partnering with online ordering service, LoDel, works for restaurants

Partnering with LoDel simplifies the process of receiving, accepting and fulfilling online orders.

  1.  A hungry customer places a takeout or delivery order through LoDel.com, the LoDel app, or that specific restaurant’s custom landing page on LoDel’s site
  2. Your local LoDel representative emails or faxes the order to you
  3. An automated call alerts you to the order so you don’t miss it
  4. You prepare and deliver the food to your customer

Sound simple enough? We agree. 

Outside of the delivery ordering and operations side of their business, LoDel’s unique franchise model invites local entrepreneurs to own and operate LoDel in their hometowns. This franchise model ensures that your restaurant is supported by someone who is 100% personally invested in making both your business and theirs successful and profitable. With 24/7 support, local restaurants can be sure that whatever they need will be taken care of when they partner with LoDel.

The Sink Boulder Delivery

Outside of the delivery operations and support side of things, LoDel provides local restaurants with increased reach and exposure through co-branded & hyperlocal marketing initiatives from postcards to flyers to branded cups and targeted, local email campaigns run by LoDel’s market owners. They’ll provide your restaurant with a daily or weekly breakdown of all orders to simplify accounting and performance reporting. 

Otter partners with LoDel to help local restaurants succeed in delivery

As a delivery management and optimization platform that’s hyper-focused on improving efficiency and success of all restaurants from national chains to local favorites, Otter and LoDel have formed a partnership to make fulfilling online orders more efficient. This partnership will help Otter superpower small local businesses in an industry that’s crowded and growing rapidly, and will help LoDel’s restaurant partners simplify their business even further. 

With Otter and LoDel, the process of fulfilling local online-orders is seamless. 

  1. Local restaurant receives an Otter tablet to centralize their delivery business
  2. Customers place takeout or delivery orders through LoDel.com, the LoDel app, or that specific restaurant’s custom landing page on LoDel’s site
  3. The order goes directly to your Otter tablet so you don’t have to keep up with emails, calls or alerts
  4. You prepare and deliver the food to your customer

“We chose to partner with Otter because you guys are truly a partner: you don’t see us as a small company in the midst of all these national delivery companies. You care about what we care about: local restaurants. We’re excited for our future together.”

Local restaurants – learn more about how Otter and LoDel can superpower your online business today!

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