By Julie Snyder–
Wouldn’t you love to order food from your favorite restaurant in town and have it delivered to your door–especially with this recent crazy weather? Arrow Food Couriers can grant your wish, if you’re craving restaurants like J. Gumbo’s and China Inn. The two masterminds behind the idea, Kela Ivonye and Michael Gray, explain everything from the idea that started it all, to the progress they’re making as they launch and expand their business.
Ivonye and Gray’s business model is a clever one; we’ve all been there: wanting food from a certain restaurant, but not wanting to deal with the hassle of lines, traffic, and the waiting time in between. Arrow Food Couriers has answered our prayers; for a small delivery fee, we can now have the food we want in a reasonable amount of time, without leaving the comfort of our homes!
Ivonye came up with the idea while working at a restaurant that didn’t deliver, even though it was a constant request from customers. Ivonye thought the restaurant could do more business if they delivered, and thus came up with the idea of delivering food from different restaurants. After proposing it to a friend from graduate school, Gray, Ivonye and Gray both began working out the kinks of their idea, and the logistics behind it.
Gray was fully behind Ivonye’s idea, thinking that it could really work in such a dense population in a certain part of Louisville, namely the populated area of U of L, Old Louisville, the Highlands, and back. Their mission was to create this business on the slogan of “delivering food at the right temperature, in a reasonable amount of time, while also in an environmentally-friendly way.” They hope to reduce emissions from vehicles by using Kela’s hybrid, bikes, scooters, or even walking the food during the delivery process, within a small range of the city.
When you think of food, you don’t really think of arrows associated with it; Ivonye’s logic behind the name was something that was “fast, simple, and does the job,” leading to the epiphany image of an arrow. After reading about an article in the food issue of the Louisville Cardinal a few months back, he made a note of all the local restaurants, for potential business purposes. He also noticed that on the issue was an arrow, solidifying the idea behind the name. The “courier” part came after trying to make sure the name “Arrow Foods” wasn’t taken; it was added to as a means of keep it original, but it also ended up signifying Ivonye and Gray’s love of sports–abbreviating it AFC.
Ivonye is the CEO of Arrow Food Couriers, and the only “driver” delivering the food. Gray is the President of the business, organizing and keeping track of the business side of the AFC. It’s a two-man run operation, though they do have a lot of contributing volunteers helping them out. Volunteers range from a class of speed school students, to a couple marketing students from the soccer team, to a graphic designer collaborating with them to get the business up and running.
Though the pair could not elaborate on which restaurants they will be collaborating with (due to a confidentiality agreement), they did give a few hints. By the time they launch in mid-March, they will have 10-12 local restaurants that have already solidified their contracts with AFC. Ivonye and Gray’s focus is on local businesses; they want to help them grow, and, down the road, they might consider bigger food corporations. A few names were dropped that will definitely be a part of AFC’s business, including Burger Boy.
Though their actual launch date isn’t until mid-March, they are currently delivering food from J. Gumbo’s and China Inn, with more restaurants to be announced later. You can order food now by simply calling either restaurant and placing an order between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m. As of now, their website, www.arrowmyfood.com, isn’t fully launched; it is set up with a countdown until they launch. If you go to the website, enter your email address and utilize their business before they launch, you can get one freebie from them!
Ivonye and Gray are reaching out U of L not only to spread the word of Arrow Food Couriers, but to also help out the students. They graduated from U of L so they know what it’s like to want food delivered without leaving your dorm room, or without subjecting yourself to the mundane pizza routine, yet again. They’re big on the university, big on this city, and big on the environment.
And they’re looking for help as well! Once they launch, they’re going to start hiring people to deliver food and help out with the marketing aspects of the business as well. If you’re looking to support a local, environmentally-friendly business that created this new way of obtaining your favorite food, follow them on Twitter @arrowmyfood, or if you’re looking for a job in the near future, email firstname.lastname@example.org. They’re also looking for feedback so send them a message of what restaurants you would like to have delivered, as well as what a reasonable amount of time is for waiting for your food to be delivered. The Arrow Food Couriers is shooting an arrow through the city of Louisville and it looks like it’s going to keep on shooting.