By Brooklyn Draisey
A new food-delivery service in Iowa City helps local restaurants bring their cuisine right to the customers’ doors.
Chomp is a delivery service that works with local restaurants and is “owned and operated by 20 of the busiest delivery restaurants in the Iowa City area,” according to its Facebook page.
It currently delivers from nearly 40 restaurants, such as Nodo Downtown and Bo-James, and it is in the process of partnering with many others, such as Mama’s Deli & Catering and Mesa Pizza. Customers can order either online or with Chomp’s mobile app.
Bo-James owner Leah Cohen said the restaurant used to go through OrderUp for its deliveries, but after GrubHub bought that company earlier in the year, the collaboration became both more expensive and less personal.
GrubHub disbanded OrderUp’s Iowa City office and raised the rates restaurants would have to pay in order to work with it, which could put a strain on the businesses financially, Cohen said.
“GrubHub is kind of a national chain, and it’s rather expensive … OrderUp tended to have a local office … it was more of a locally owned sort of thing,” Cohen said.
She noted that Chomp is locally owned and operated, and that creates a better and more personal relationship between the restaurant and the delivery service. Chomp was founded by Jon Sewell, who also owns D.P. Dough.
“It’s locally owned, it certainly strives to look at the small-business restaurants and what we’re doing … so it tends to work with you more,” Cohen said.
Both she and Tim Skinner, the general manager at Jimmy Jack’s Rib Shack, said things have been fairly successful so far with Chomp. Cohen compared its deliveries with OrderUp to the number they’re seeing now and said it’s a little less, which she chalked up to Chomp’s being a new business.
“It took [OrderUp] a little while to build up, and I’m guessing that Chomp will be the same thing,” Cohen said.
Skinner noted that since Jimmy Jack’s had never worked with a delivery service before Chomp, the restaurant people don’t really have a basis to go on, but they think it’s going well. They started getting orders as soon as they were available, and they have been consistently getting deliveries ever since.
“We get at least two or three orders a day, give or take,” he said.
Jimmy Jack’s had been wary of working with national companies such as GrubHub, Skinner said, because they can be expensive, but he agreed to work with Chomp because of its good rates and locality.
“We were always sort of saying no to these bigger companies, but when Chomp approached us, it was kind of a no-brainer to support local …” he said. “Just seeing the number of other bars and restaurants doing it really helped us, because the more restaurants, the better for all of us.”
University of Iowa freshman Emily Silich said she really enjoys Oasis Falafel but doesn’t like having to walk there to get a meal, especially in the cold Iowa winter. Chomp has given her a cheaper way to get quality food efficiently.
“It’s nice that I can support local businesses and get good food without having to walk in the cold,” Silich said.