CHINATOWN — Dishes from more than a dozen Chinatown restaurants can now be delivered to your home or office within an hour.
OnDelivery.com, a new “food messenger” service that launched earlier this month, can deliver Tawainese bento boxes, bao, ramen bowls and other delicious treats anywhere in Lower Manhattan up to 42nd Street from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day, it announced at a Thursday afternoon press conference.
The site lets customers view menus and order food online, which is then delivered by uniformed food messengers hired by the company, who travel by bicycle or subway, said co-founder James Chen, who started a similar site in Queens called flushingfood.com a year ago.
“We provide the delivery service for every order that’s generated on our website, so this way we can deliver much further and much faster,” he said at the press conference, which took place at Shanghai Cuisine at Bayard and Mulberry streets.
Although convenient for customers, the service has advantages for local businesses as well, Chen said. OnDelivery allows restaurants to expand their customer base without the hassle of hiring extra workers, purchasing equipment and paying higher insurance rates to cover deliverymen, he said.
The fledging service has already won the support from local elected officials and business leaders, who see the service as a way to promote local businesses, which have been negatively impacted through the closure of Park Row and the economic downtown in the past few years.
“These are locally owned small businesses, often immigrant-owned, and we should be doing more to support them. This is another way for them to thrive and succeed,” said State Sen. Daniel Squadron, who was at the press conference with City Councilwoman Margaret Chin, Chinatown Partnership Executive Director Wellington Chen, Chinese Chamber of Commerce of New York President Justin Yu and a representative from the Manhattan Borough President’s office.
OnDelivery currently works with 15 restaurants, which are mostly in Chinatown, although a few East Village eateries have also started using the service, according to the company. About 10 more are in the process of signing a contract with the company, a spokesman said.
Chen hopes to generate $10 million in online business for participating restaurants this year and to hire 50 messengers, who will be paid $8.75 an hour plus tips and overtime, he said.