Taking A Bite Out Of The Food Delivery Service Game

By Brian Whitehead San Bernardino County Sun, Calif.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) A 2016 report by McKinsey & Co. predicts U.S. courier-type last-mile delivery volume could double over the next 10 years. Entrepreneur Kishana Sampson,  founder of "Have A Bite Delivery" sees the trend and is getting in early.

San Bernardino County 

The ping of a desktop computer inside a two-story, four-bedroom house in the northernmost suburb of San Bernardino means someone's stomach is growling somewhere in the 92408 ZIP code.

As 22-year-old dispatcher Takora Fisher fields that someone's food order from the web, Kishana Sampson, founder of Have A Bite Delivery, monitors the ensuing steps from her cell phone.

From Sampson's home office, Fisher sends emails to the fast-food restaurant of choice -- Panda Express, on this Wednesday -- and either Anthony Lavalais, Sampson's 22-year-old son, or 30-year-old Ashley Broussard, initiating a meal-delivery process pioneered by popular services such as DoorDash, Postmates and Uber Eats.

"Have a bite with us," Sampson's tagline reads.

According to the analytics company Second Measure, meal-delivery sales in 2019 rose 40% year-over-year, with GrubHub, DoorDash, Uber Eats and Postmates ruling the market. Meanwhile, a 2016 report by McKinsey & Co. predicts U.S. courier-type last-mile delivery volume could double over the next 10 years, reaching roughly 25 billion parcels per year in the U.S.

As the percentage of people who order food and goods over the Internet continues to grow, local entrepreneurs such as Sampson and Redlands native Suze Knobler want in on the soon-to-be $200 billion industry.

Both recently launched their own gig services for the communities in which they live.

"I wanted to build something honest," said Knobler, founder of Suze Q Shops for You, an alternative to Instacart, the multi-billion dollar grocery delivery service for which she previously worked. "Build something people can trust because they know me and know the name and understand that not only am I trying to build a life for myself, but I'm trying to build something to give back to my community.

"I just really want to give back. I love being able to help."

A school counselor with San Bernardino City Unified by day, Sampson, 42, launched Have A Bite Delivery in October with little in the way of marketing or promotion. And yet, the nascent small business already offers employees at Mattel and Inland Regional Center the option to deliver lunch from Charleys Philly Steaks, Baja Fresh, Panda Express and BurgerIM in San Bernardino and Napoli Italian Restaurant in Loma Linda.

"We're starting out small," said Sampson, who got the idea from her time in the corporate world, where food vendors maximized employees' lunch breaks by setting up shop inside the office.

"More family-based in terms of size."

While Have A Bite Delivery and Suze Q Shops for You were created with the help of online platforms such as Time To Eat Delivery and dumpling, their recent growth is a testament to the entrepreneurs at the controls.

In an industry that can prioritize speed over customer service, Knobler said, relationships are what keep her phone buzzing with new orders at all hours of the day.

"I hope people continue to shop local, keep things local," she said. "There are too many big companies here. Let's keep mom-and-pops open. Keep our money within our community."

In addition to securing relationships with local employers Mattel and Inland Regional Center, Sampson and her marketing director have distributed flyers at LifeStream Blood Bank and the National Orange Show. Knobler, meanwhile, has joined the Redlands Chamber of Commerce and promoted her small business on the radio and in print media.

But as Sampson can attest, challenging name brands in what has quickly become a saturated market is a marathon, not a sprint, and though Have A Bite Delivery's first month was slow in terms of sales, Sampson remains optimistic that her low delivery fee and timely service will attract customers soon enough.

And next year, she plans to roll out options for grocery, restaurant and prescription delivery, the latter a cause she said is near and dear to her heart.

"I have a disability from the military, so I get my prescriptions mailed, but I'm able to work," said Sampson, an Air Force veteran. "But I understand that not everybody is in that position, nor does every disabled vet have the support system behind them to help out. Some of my friends don't have that system."

Already available to shop for groceries, home goods, prescriptions and other items at the click of a computer mouse, Knobler has customers in Colton, San Bernardino and Riverside.

Wherever the need is, she said.

"The feedback I've received is just amazing," Knobler added. "People feel like they're cared about and that's how I want them to feel. Some people say, 'It's just groceries,' but it's not just groceries to that mother of six kids who doesn't have time to get out of their house or the person battling cancer who because of their immune system can't be out in public or the elderly military vet who's wheelchair-bound.

"Maybe I'm bringing a little something into their lives," she added. "That's very important to me. This is not just a job." ___ Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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