Squeeze Inn

Dining News: 7 Questions with CEO of New Food Delivery Service FoodJets

FoodJets is the latest entrant into the Sacramento food delivery market.

What sets FoodJets apart is their desire to be the fastest to get food to you, though with a much smaller selection and delivery to the curb as opposed to the door like other services.

Their founder and CEO Darren McAdams and I have been e-mailing over the last month, and he agreed to a quick Q and A so Cowtown Eats readers can learn more about the new business.

1. What is FoodJets?

FoodJets is the fastest and easiest way to eat. Our goal is to be curbside with your hot or cold restaurant meals in 10 minutes. We also offer free delivery and do not allow tipping so it’s just the meal price and sales tax.

2. Where do you get the food from? Do you cook it yourself, or do you partner with a restaurant?

From local restaurants.

3. Where did you get the idea from?

Long story short, I started Food To You in 1993/94 and now we are servicing 13 markets in 6 states delivery 1,500+ restaurants. It is a very complex system on our end and expensive and very slow on the customers end. A few years back I wanted to change that and FoodJets was born. We offer 10 minute delivery of restaurant meals without any delivery fees or tips…simple.

4. Can you tell me about the founders?

I dropped out of college and started FTY in a garage with a buddy. I bought him out 2 months later for $500 and now Food To You is one of the larger restaurants delivery services in the nation.

5. There are others in the restaurant delivery space. How is FoodJets different?

FoodJets is built for speed, great food and value. All other restaurant delivery or pizza delivery businesses are slow and expensive. So, if you are rich and patient use other delivery services if you want great food fast at a great price then FoodJets is for you. Our menus completely change from lunch to dinner and day to day and once we cover all the metro area we will have 8 – 10 food choices per day ranging from Sandwiches, burritos, pizza, tacos, Chinese, Thai, American, Mexican, etc for our customers.

6. It seems that Postmates is supposed to bring it to your door whereas FoodJets promises curbside service. Why did you make the decision?

Strictly for faster delivery times and so we can keep free delivery for customers.

7. Like Uber but unlike Postmates, FoodJets includes the tip in the price. Can you talk about why you made that choice?

Most services nickel and dime customers with a delivery fee, tips, surcharges, etc. I wanted to eliminate everything but the cost of the food and tax. We have a very simple process and system anyone can use. With our quality, variety and price point there is no reason why someone should start their car, park and wait in line anymore for food.

From what I can tell, their business model is to buy food in bulk from their restaurant partners, resell it to customers for delivery via the app or Web site. On Monday, the menu consisted of:

  • $9 Chef Salad from Clubhouse Grill
  • $10 Park Street Tacos Entree from Felipe's Mexican Restaurant
  • $10 Veggie Lasagna Entree from Anthony's Italian
  • $10 Chicken Manchurian Entree from Ruchi Indian

While Monday's menu didn't feature some of the more well known restaurants in the area, I've seen the well regarded T&R Taste of Texas BBQ in Oak Park on the app.

At the end of the lunch and dinner shift, FoodJets features a Happy Half Hour from 1:30 to 2 p.m. and 8:30 to 9 p.m. where all their entrees are half off.

On Monday evening, I took advantage of their happy hour to order the pork tacos for $5. I ordered at 8:36 p.m., and true to their claim, they had it delivered by 8:46 p.m. to the curb in front of my Land Park home. The pleasant driver pulled up, rolled down her window, handed me the food and was on her way. It was quick and easy.

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If I had to do it over again, I probably would have ordered the lasagna entree instead for its ability to be delicious even if it's not fresh from the kitchen. But for the price and speed, I have no complaints.

While the food delivery space is crowded, each of the three serve a distinct niche.

  • If you want the widest selection with waits up to an hour, choose Postmates.
  • If you want a curated selection where the service has partnered with restaurants to provide the best possible experience with waits up to an hour, choose Caviar.
  • If you're hungry now and are willing to have fewer food options, choose FoodJets.

Click here to download the FoodJets app. First time users can also save $5 by entering SAC5 during the checkout process.

If you haven't downloaded Postmates yet, download the app here. Use the promo code nx3n, you'll get a $10 delivery credit.

You can download the Caviar app at http://www.trycaviar.com/sacramento.

More News:

Move Over, Tanqueray - Darjeeling Gin, which is produced by boutique distillery California Distilled Spirits in Auburn, proved that it can hold its own against even the poshest liquor brands when it won best of show at the most recent World Spirits Competition. Catherine Warmerdam in Sac Mag.

New 'breastaurant' chain will fill Suede Blue space in Roseville - The restaurant filling Roseville's former Suede Blue space is a clear departure from its steak-and-seafood past. Instead of creme brulee and couscous, expect Hangover burgers and "Lumber Jill" servers in low-cut apparel. Twin Peaks, a national chain billed as the ultimate sports lounge, is coming to Roseville. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

The accent is French at CIA’s student-run lunch service - The service was concerned and professional, and the dishes were excellent, but … the rock fish in the otherwise flawless cioppino was way oversalted (oops!), and we thought the cucumber-avocado-red onion salad was a taste and textural mismatch. Allen Pierleoni in the Sac Bee.

Poly food: The only Polynesian restaurant in Sacramento closed its doors over the weekend—a move for the best...Owner Cynthia Ala is looking to open somewhere with more foot traffic—a strip mall would be a huge improvement—in South Sacramento, hopefully by December. Janelle Bitker in Sac News & Review. (Second item.)

Continue reading "Dining News: 7 Questions with CEO of New Food Delivery Service FoodJets" »


Dining News: This Local App Helps You Get Discounts or Skip Long Restaurant Lines

IMG_2502Screen shot from Monday night showing restaurants giving discounts.

Requested App, by a team that includes Sonny Mayugba, a partner in midtown's Red Rabbit, recently launched version three of its restaurant app.

I asked him to help Cowtown Eats readers understand what the app does and how it works.

Here's an e-mail Q & A I did with Mayugba over the last week:

1. A third iteration of Requested was just released. How has the concept evolved over time and what does it do now?

Our core concept has not changed at all: we want to help independent merchants keep doing what they love and connect great customers to great places. However, the way we’ve tried to achieve this through the product has evolved like crazy!

First, we gave users the ability to name their own price in a Request and merchants the ability to approve or deny those Requests. People liked the concept, but the app was too complicated. We spoke with hundreds of users and restaurant partners, listened to their feedback, and simplified the experience. It is the best thing we’ve ever done. Now users view a selection of dynamically-priced table options they can book which vary in price depending on time of day.

That’s just the discovery side of the app, however. The real magic of Requested is in the dining experience itself. After your table is booked, you go to the restaurant and the host already knows your name. You get excellent service and when you’re done, you can just leave. The payment for your meal, including tip (a percentage you can adjust in the app during your meal), is calculated and handled through the app. You never have to worry about waiting for the check or calculating the tip, and we email you your receipt when you walk out the door.

The seamless payment system through Requested saves servers and diners an average of 10 minutes per table, and that really adds up. The other side of it is that our default tip percentage in the app is 20%, and while users can lower the tip amount, most do not. So the value of a customer using Requested is generally higher for servers, which makes for a better, happier experience all around.

While 20% may sound steep to some people (and like I said before, they can adjust the percentage), as someone who has worked in the restaurant industry for decades and now co-owns a restaurant, I believe that staff deserves that level of tipping, so I love that the app is inadvertently helping out some of the hardest-working people I know.

2. Why did you move away from some of the previous features?

Data and behavior. When you build a product or create anything - a song, a poem, a restaurant, a new car - you have preconceived notions on how people will react. And as entrepreneurs, we’re always too optimistic. And as founders, we all have two things in common: notions of what will work and things we want to build that will make our time spent meaningful. But those two things can be nebulous and shifting. The one factor we all can agree on is data.

We launched in March of 2015. And between then and now, we shipped a few cool features. But there were three glaring data points that caused us to pivot:

Thousands of people were starting requests, but only hundreds were sending them. Of the hundreds that were sending them, only 50% were getting their request accepted.

Forcing our restaurant partners to say “no”, even to a seemingly obvious ludicrous request, was damaging across the board.

We could dive deep for hours into this question, but those were the primary factors that caused us to look at changing how the app functioned. Everyone - foodies, restaurants, press and investors - really loves our concept. But in order to accomplish our goal of making the restaurants more busy and foodies happy, we had to do the following:

Move from ~15 taps, wait 10 minutes, get a no half the time…

to

Make the app two taps with an instant guaranteed yes every time.

And that’s exactly what we did.

3. What restaurants in Sacramento participate?

Independent, locally owned and operated places that are awesome. We curate our merchants. You can’t just sign up. You will not see a Subway, Panera or Wendy’s on Requested. I’m not against those places, I even love In N’ Out, but our mission is to grow the business of our independent restaurants without incurring any additional fixed costs. And we’re literally doing that and it’s providing true incremental margin to their bottom line.

With the success of our latest version of the app, we’re actually a little backlogged working to get a bunch of new places live! The best way to know which places are on Requested is to take out your phone and launch the app right now. Keep checking, because the list keeps growing.

4. How does the app know how much of a discount a restaurant is offering?

Some things need to remain a secret.

5. You guys are nice guys, but there must be something for you. What's the revenue stream

Awww, thanks! Of course there’s something in it for us, we need to be around forever and you can’t do that on nothing. Our app is 100% free to consumers and there is no upfront cost or fees to our merchant partners. However, when someone places a reservation and enjoys their experience, Requested receives a percentage. We’re like eBay and HotelTonight. We only get paid if both sides of our market are successful and happy.

6. Why should someone use the Requested App instead of some of the other reservation systems out there?

There are two key differentiators:

  1. With Requested, you can get a table as usual, or get a table and score a discount on your entire bill, or score a hard-to-get table by paying a premium. We have dynamic pricing.
  2. With Requested, you pay on your phone. So when you’re done, the total sales, along with your gratuity to the server, is processed through your phone. And that saves you and the restaurant 10 minutes. We're like uber for restaurants!

7. Who is behind this app?

Requested has 8 employees, four of which are founders and we’re all local to Sacramento:

Sonny Mayugba, Nichole Barnum, Jon Shumate, and Carlos Rivera are all founders. Dani Loebs heads up growth, Randy Balzarano heads up sales, Carlos Sola-Llonch is our Senior software developer and Katie Stein is our Merchant Ambassador. We also have a key Angel investor, Dave Pringle, who leads a lot of our structure and financial development and lead our first friends and family round of investment. We have an Advisory Board of amazing and active people. Our seed series round was led by Jason Calacanis, so we work closely with him and his tribe. Plus, we were funded by Social+Capital Partnership, so they weigh in on our development as well. We also have half a dozen part-time employees. We’re a small, scrappy team driven by a love of tech and restaurants and bars.

8. Is there anything else that I haven't asked that people should know about?

That’s a great question. I want our mission to be clear: we help high quality local businesses do what they love. So as we evolve, we are saluting this everyday.

On a fun note, something we’ve started with Requested that has been really fun are our happy hour parties. We partner with our restaurants and users every week or so to talk about the app, stay in the know about innovation and happenings in Sacramento and always keep the feedback and dialogue open with our users base. To find out more about our events, I’m just going to give a quick shout out to Like us on Facebook and subscribe to our events, because usually we give away free cash on the app.

One more thing! We have a pretty killer referral program built right in the app itself. Users can send $10 to their friends to try Requested, and if the friends use it, the user who sent the invite gets $10 dropped into their account as a thank you. So if you have a big social network and love Requested, we’ll pay you to spread the word.

Lastly, I encourage anyone and everyone to contact me directly. My cell is 916-320-3560 (text me) or email me at sonny@requestedapp.com or tweet me at @sonnymayugba. Most of all, thank you for all the support. -Sonny Mayugba

For Cowtown Eats readers who are just trying out the app, you can get a $10 credit by entering the by getting the app here. (Disclosure: I get $10 also when you get the free $10 in credit.)

The Requested Team is also holding a Happy Hour at Alley Katz on Wednesday, Aug. 26 from 6 to 9 p.m., where they'll give you a code for $5 (which is basically buying your first beer) and 15 percent off the rest of the night. Click here to register.

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Bottle & Barlow's Jayson Wilde - Earlier this summer, bartender Jayson Wilde teamed up with barber Anthony Giannotti to open Bottle & Barlow, Sacramento’s first bar and barbershop under one roof. Wilde grew up near Natomas and learned the cocktail business as a bartender’s assistant at Shady Lady Saloon before going to work at San Francisco’s famed Bourbon & Branch. SF Weekly named him one of San Francisco’s new generation of bar stars when he was 28. Now 33, he’s back in his hometown, planting his craft-cocktail flag on the city’s white-hot R Street Corridor. Marybeth Bizjak in Sac Mag.

Pieology has quick, crispy pizza down to a science - The thin crust is perfectly crisp, with char visible on bottom, and tastes just salty enough to be memorable. There’s not enough material here to compare it with local craft pizza houses’ crusts, which tend to be larger. But crust crispiness remained consistent through the 10 Pieology pizzas we tried. Carla Meyer in the Sac Bee.

Temple Coffee & Tea - The local third-wave coffee mecca is taking its first step out of Sacramento and opened its doors in a new downtown Davis location on Aug.15. The interior will feature Japanese-inspired design with a 32-foot-long solid oak community table, thoughtful touches like a mid-century modern clock. In Sactown Mag. (Fifth Item.)

Bring the Funk - It looks like 9999 Thai-Laos Boat Noodle could still use more luck. On multiple visits, the spacious restaurant was completely empty, or contained just one other party. That meant more than 120 seats lay vacant, plus a large, desolate bar. A karaoke stage and its accompanying dramatic music videos hint at 9999’s potential as a nighttime destination. But for now, it’s just another undiscovered gem in south Sacramento. Janelle Bitker in Sac News & Review.

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Continue reading "Dining News: This Local App Helps You Get Discounts or Skip Long Restaurant Lines" »


Dining News: Iron Horse Tavern Sets Opening Date

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Iron Horse Tavern, by the Wong Brothers, owners of Cafeteria 15L and The Mix, will open to the public on June 18, reports Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

Among the other details she's unearthed:

  • "The Wong brothers spent more than a year fine-tuning Iron Horse's menu, seeking inspiration from places such as New York, Chicago, Portland and Seattle. The end result features options ranging from pizza to paella."
  • "Iron Horse will emphasize "cozy, casual dining" with 15 small-plate options, Mason Wong said. Craft cocktails will be available, and 25 beers will be offered on tap, including local varieties."

Click here to read the entire story in Sac News & Review.

For a video tour, check out Tina Machua on Good Day Sac.

According to the video, menu items include:

  • 2 lb turkey leg, brined for 24 hours, confit and deep fried with flower
  • A 9 option mac & cheese bar, including lobster mac & cheese, pesto mac & cheese and egg and bacon mac & cheese.
  • Red Velvet Ho Ho
  • Loco Moco

But if you want to get a jump on the rest of the public, you can get a taste of their food (and other restaurants near 15th & R such as Dos Coyotes and Roxie Deli BBQ) on Sunday June 14 at a fundraiser for the Children's Receiving Home of Sacramento.

Rst

According to its Web site, the Children's Receiving home's mission is to positively impact the lives of children, youth and families affected by abuse, neglect, behavioral health issues and trauma in California.

Click here for tickets.

Iron Horse Tavern will be located at 15th & R, and can be found online at http://www.ironhorsetavern.net/.

* Photo via their Facebook Page.

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In chefs we trust: Omakase at Kru -  I've been sitting at the bar at Kru for lunch recently for $20 omakase sessions, and the crew does not disappoint...By far, it's one of the biggest bangs for your buck in Sacramento. Garrett McCord in Sac News & Review.

Local food landing at Sacramento airport's Terminal A - Airport spokeswoman Laurie Slothower said the addition of Squeeze Inn, Iron Horse Tavern and Paesanos reflects the positive reaction to local bars and eateries opening in Terminal B a couple years ago. Ben van der Meer in Sac Biz Journal.

Continue reading "Dining News: Iron Horse Tavern Sets Opening Date" »


Dining News: Pieology, Replacing Monsoon at 16th & K, to Open in Mid-November

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Pieology, a player in the "fast pizza" space where you can get a custom pizza in less than 5 minutes, will open in mid-November, reports Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

Pieology Pizzeria plans to open its new restaurant in midtown Sacramento in mid-November, according to a company spokeswoman.

The restaurant, which specializes in personal pizzas, fills the spot previously occupied by Indian restaurant Monsoon at 1020 16th St. It will be the Sacramento region's first Pieology location.

Guests select pizza elements such as sauce -- available in flavors ranging from barbecue to pesto -- and toppings, including options such as meats, cheeses and vegetables. Pizzas cost less than $8.

Read the entire story in the Sac Biz Journal.

In addition to the Sacramento location, Pieology recently opened a restaurant in Fairfield, and will open locations in Vacaville, Santa Rosa and Daly City, the business announced on its Facebook Page.

More News:

Sactoberfest organizer to file for bankruptcy - In accordance with bankruptcy rules, he said his employees would be paid first, followed by independent contractors and larger businesses. He said it’s also unclear how much money there will be for the charitable organizations that supplied volunteers. In an Oct. 21 letter informing creditors and others of his plan, he said that most of the staff were hired as independent contractors. “I’ve never been in this position. I’m a guy who pays his bills,” said Clakeley, who started his Orangevale-based event company Finrich Events after a long career in events in San Diego. Ed Fletcher in the Sac Bee.

Sactoberfest promoter apologizes for event's financial failure - The promoter behind this month's Sactoberfest has sent a letter of apology to nearly 100 contractors and creditors who were not paid at the end of the three-day event. Richard Clakeley said he is "mortified and deeply embarrassed" by the financial failure of the second annual beer festival which drew less than half the 8,500 paid attendees Clakeley had budgeted for. George Warren on News 10.

‘Sactoberfest’ Worker Alleges Pay Problems - The event employee says when she went to pick up her paycheck Friday, she and several others were told that because of lower than expected attendance, they would be paid 75 cents on the dollar. Ali Wolf on FOX 40.

Sactoberfest Organizer Admits to Not Paying Workers - The organizer of the Sactoberfest beer event admitted that he owes 100 workers money. “It’s not fair,” worker Anna Gaebe said. “We busted our humps.” Gaebe agreed to work as a bar manager for Sactoberfest for a flat $500. Marin Austin on FOX 40.

Bacon & Butter opens to large crowds and answers a key question about relocating - Bacon & Butter is back in business, filling seats, cranking up the kitchen and answering a big question on the minds of many: Can a popular restaurant remain popular when it pulls out of midtown and opens in a quiet neighborhood like Tahoe Park about 15 minutes away? Based on the super-busy brunch I witnessed Sunday and the one I heard about the week before, Bacon & Butter is doing better than ever in its new and improved digs at 5913 Broadway. Blair Anthony Robertson in the Sac Bee.

Continue reading "Dining News: Pieology, Replacing Monsoon at 16th & K, to Open in Mid-November" »


Dining News: Guadalajara Grill to Replace Headhunters at 20th & K

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I'd noticed the change in signage for the restaurant inside Mango's, but I never had the time to track it down. Luckily, Sac Biz Journal's Mark Anderson has the news.

Guadalajara Grill operates daily during lunch and dinner at 1930 K St., and then later at night the venue becomes Mango's, a Latin night club with three dance floors sprawled out over 10,000 square feet through two buildings and a large outdoor courtyard...

Guadalajara was invited to take over the restaurant operations by Gomez, who liked the food at their other locations.

The first Taqueria Guadalajara opened in 1991. With the new midtown restaurant, there are now four locations. The others are 640 West Covell Blvd. and 417 Mace Blvd. in Davis and 6 West Court St. in Woodland.

Read the entire story in Sac Biz Journal.

I've eaten at their location on Mace Blvd. and found it good for being in Davis. With Tres Hermanas just a short distance down K Street, the competition will be much higher in Midtown, but I hope the owners are ready for it.

Photo taken on May 1, 2014.

More News:

San Francisco’s 7x7 magazine shouts out Sacramento food scene - Seems as those big city folk in San Francisco are continuing to warm to its cowtown neighbor about 75 miles away. Following an April article in the SF Weekly which gave well deserved props to Sacramento’s cocktail scene, the San Francisco lifestyle magazine 7x7 posted a piece today about Sacramento becoming a culinary destination for farm-to-fork restaurants. Chris Macias in the Sac Bee.

VIDEO: Firefighters Respond to Original Squeeze Inn Location - Crews responded to a fire at the original Squeeze Inn location on Fruitridge Road Wednesday evening. The cause of the fire was not immediately known. On FOX 40.

Midtown BevMo opening in June - A midtown Sacramento BevMo store will open soon. The big-box liquor and specialty food store at 1700 J St. is expected to open at 9 a.m. on June 13. It fills a 12,484-square-foot building that long housed The Beat record store. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

Continue reading "Dining News: Guadalajara Grill to Replace Headhunters at 20th & K" »


Dining News: RIP Squeeze Inn West Sac

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Squeeze Inn's West Sac location has closed.

I called the phone number on Tuesday evening, and the phone number had already been disconnected. I then called Oscar's Very Mexican Food, whose West Sac location shares a building with Squeeze Inn, and the woman who picked up told me that Squeeze Inn closed a week ago.

The West Sac location has also been removed from the Squeeze Inn's Web site, although no explanation has been given via social media.

The West Sac location first opened in May 2011 and shares an owner with the local chain's Yuba City location.

H/T to Ms. Munchie for the tip.

More News:

Midtown eatery fuses Mexican and Japanese food to create sushi burritos - An additional late-night weekend food option is now open for Sacramento, as the new Wrap N’ Roll Sushi Burrito restaurant is bringing a fusion of Japanese and Mexican food by creating oversized sushi rolls that resemble burritos. Erika Bradley in the State Hornet.

Try It: Ruhstaller 1881 California Red Ale - A few days later I pulled the beer out of the refrigerator, took a few gulps, and quickly wished I had bought more than just one. Described by the brewery as “a true California Red Ale with all ingredients hailing from the Golden State,” this hoppy, crisp beer offers a mouthful of rich, layered flavor with lovely floral nuances. Kira O'Donnell in Sac Mag.

Continue reading "Dining News: RIP Squeeze Inn West Sac" »


Dining News: Now Open - Lou's Sushi

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Lou's Sushi, which Cowtown Eats wrote about in mid-May, has opened at 28th & P, replacing what had been an Una Mas.

The restaurant, which opened for business in the frist week of the month, is run by Lou Valente, a chef who has done a stint at Zen Sushi at 15th & I streets and the now defunct Sushi on the River. He's also worked in LA and San Francisco.

The restaurant's first 3 weeks in business haven't been trouble free. They were shut down for a day after theives stole exposed copper pipes, which cut off their water supply.

For now, they're open Tuesday through Saturday, but expect to be open 7 days a week by the end of the year.

While ther are a lot of of sushi places in Midtown, there aren't a lot of restaurants in that part of town. I'm hopeful they can carve out a niche as a good neighborhood sushi place.

Lou's Sushi can be found online at http://www.lousushi.com/.

More News:

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T & R Taste of Texas BBQ - Based on their reactions, I'm pretty sure the kidlets and Mr.S. would most definitely welcome more takeout from T&R. The portions were Texas-sized (big), the food's reasonably priced and the ribs were tasty-- an overall good value. Being that it's not too far from the Grid, I could see it becoming a popular place to quench our BBQ fix on family dinner nights. Ally Gaffan on A Girl & Her Fork.

Continue reading "Dining News: Now Open - Lou's Sushi" »