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While working in San Francisco's financial district one day in 2012, Jason Wang and his colleagues found themselves craving Ikes Place sandwiches for lunch. Problem was, Ikes doesn’t deliver and the trip across town and back would have taken a couple of hours. “We asked ourselves, why can't the good restaurants deliver?" Wang, recalls. "Why is it the mediocre and generic pizza, Thai, Indian restaurants on every single delivery website?" With this thought, Caviar was born: A premium food delivery service that brings a city's best cuisine to your doorstep for a flat fee of $4.99 – think Má Pêche in NYC or Michael Solomonov's Federal Donuts in Philadelphia. After raising $15 million in venture capital from elite outfits like Tiger Global and Andreesen Horowitz, Wang’s site was acquired by Jack Dorsey's Square for $90 million last August. That cash has fueled further expansion: Caviar now operates in 15 cities across the country and has grown from 10 to 110 employees in the last 12 months.
Caviar CEO Jason Wang gives Forbes a tour of their trendy San Francisco headquarters and discusses the food delivery service's rapid expansion.
In Boston, that means you can get quick delivery from high profile restaurants such as Eastern Standard, Blue Dragon, and starting this week, Mei Mei. Other notable restaurants include Scissors & Pie, El Pelon, Anna’s Taqueria, and Pho Pasteur. And they’re aggressively pursuing more culinary partners.
Besides the quality of their client list, Caviar also has a much more ambitious delivery radius than its competition. Granted, the service is currently only available in Cambridge, Allston, Downtown, and Southie, but if you live in those areas, any of their restaurants are up for grabs. Starting today Caviar has also introduced its first mobile app showcasing full-color photos of each restaurant and menu item and GPS capability to track the status of your delivery.
This morning Caviar, the high-end, deliver-anywhere delivery service that has been bringing things like Mission Cantina burritos and Root & Bone fried chicken to Manhattanites' doorsteps for about a year now, launches service in Brooklyn. This means that as long as you live on the west side of the borough, anywhere between Williamsburg and South Slope, restaurants like Briskettown, Motorino, Prime Meats, and Saltie, all deliver.
Caviar, a company known for delivering from America’s best independent restaurants, introduced its first mobile app. The free Caviar app enables customers to order from their favorite restaurants direct to their living room or desk. Caviar’s delivery service is available in local markets across the country. Caviar uniquely partners directly with restaurants to offer delivery from tough-to-get-into restaurants. With Caviar anyone can order delivery from iconic restaurants across the country whether you’re craving the Mexican-style corn from New York’s Cafe Habana, wood-fired margherita pizza from San Francisco’s A16, or churros from Xoco in Chicago. The new Caviar App for iOS offers customers affordable delivery with a seamless mobile interface, showcasing full-color photos of each restaurant and menu item. With the new app, customers can now order directly from their phone and customize menu items with special requests and additions.
This sounds like a great way to welcome winter. Square purchased Caviar a few months ago, when it was still testing in a handful of cities. Now, Caviar is launching a very Seamless-like app and expanding to 15 cities nationwide, including Brooklyn. The app includes a very fun feature that lets you track your food via GPS as its being delivered.
Caviar's service allows individuals and businesses to place delivery orders at high-end restaurants that don't offer their own delivery service. The service is currently available in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, New York, Washington D.C., Seattle and San Francisco. Ordering through the app functions much like the website: You can choose from a list of restaurants available in your area and place an order. Orders can be placed hours or days in advance and all payments and tipping are processed within the app. You can also track the location of your delivery driver through the app.
Caviar, which partners with many restaurants that don't traditionally offer the option,has expanded into Brooklyn. The upstart food delivery service was acquired by the mobile-payment specialists at Square in August. Caviar has a new GPS-enabled app, and has cracked open a whole new pack of restaurants and menu options, led by Carroll Gardens stalwarts Frankies 457 and Prime Meats. Mile End Deli and Motorino's Williamsburg location is onboard, as are Blue Ribbon, Caroline Fidanza's excellent sandwich shop Saltie, and Park Slope's quirky, under-the-radar fried-chicken shack Wangs. Dessert options also run the gamut from SkyIce's vegan sorbet to foie-gras ice cream.
The current delivery area includes Williamsburg, Dumbo, Downtown Brooklyn, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights, Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill, Carroll Gardens, Red Hook, Gowanus, most of Windsor Terrace, and Park Slope.
Caviar launched its leading online food order and delivery service for top-rated restaurants in Philadelphia. Caviar fills a critical void for consumers and restaurants by providing the easiest, fastest way to order the best-tasting food online for delivery to homes or businesses.
In Philadelphia, Caviar deliveries are free during the company’s special introductory period, making it even easier to order from area favorites such as Federal Donuts, High Street on Market, Mercato, The Fat Ham, and Jose Garces’ restaurants. The delivery fee is $4.99 per order for any number of menu items.
Caviar delivers food from 40 restaurants that don’t usually deliver, like Brauhaus Schmitz, Amada and Federal Donuts. Delivery is free for the month of October. Caviar is starting out by delivering to Center City, University City, South Philly and Northern Liberties, according to the Business Journal.
The startup has three employees in Philly, led by GM Steve Harrell, who previously ran Sidecar‘s failed expansion to Philly. They’re working out of a shared office space at 13th and Race Streets and plan to hire more as the local presence grows. We spotted Harrell making deliveries today.
Ever had the craving for a Distrito taco, a Village Whiskey burger, or a donuts from Federal Donuts but didn’t feel like driving anywhere? Maybe a long day at work or you just don’t want to give up that primo parking spot you found right in front of your home. Well great news, Caviar delivery service has just launched in Philly.
A big positive of this service, is that there are no minimum order requirements for delivery and you can order up to a week in advance. So if you crave just one taco or 1 doughnut you can have it delivered to your door today or schedule it to be delivered 8 days from now.
It has been amazing to get insider access to many of Philly’s best kitchens, and we are really excited to showcase all of the chefs’ creations. From award-winning tapas at Amada to fresh out-of-the-oven Federal Donuts, our restaurant partners put a ton of effort into every dish,” says Caviar’s General Manager Steve Harrell, on the company’s blog.
To use the service, hungry Philadelphians can sign up, browse a photo menu of whatever restaurant they want delivery from, customize their meal and have it delivered right to their door. And through October, there’s no delivery fee.
Already operating in its native San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, and other major cities, premium delivery service Caviar launched today in Philadelphia. You won't find any of the usual pizzeria suspects on their list — the service carves out its niche by creating delivery options where there are none, or expanding the reach and accessibility of delivery where it's limited.
The initial offering in Philly is an eclectic mix of fine-dining spots, like Amada, and casual hotspots like Hip City Veg and Federal Donuts. In Hip City Veg's case, the delivery area will be expanded, while FedNuts (like other bakeries on the list) has typically only offered delivery for larger catering orders. Many of the offerings are well-suited to office lunch or snack orders.
While Caviar has been serving 12 markets around the United States, it has not yet broken the Philadelphia market, filled with its high-end restaurants that garner national attention. That is, until now.
Starting Wednesday, Caviar will be delivering food from 40 of Philadelphia’s top-rated restaurants like High Street on Market, Brauhaus Schmitz, Cuba Libre and Federal Donuts. (Click here for the full list.) More will added later this year, including Village Whiskey, Charlie Was a Sinner, and Crow & The Pitcher.
"When I was in San Francisco last year, my cousin told me, 'Omigod, you have to check out Caviar, they are unbelievable,'" says Ellen Yin, owner of Fork in Center City, who has signed up her sandwich and catering shop, High Street on Market, as one of the city's first Caviar locations. Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/inq-phillydeals/Caviar-takes-on-GrubHub-for-Phillys-high-end-takeout.html#Gu6lDbf3CqtahFLV.99
Caviar promises real-time GPS order tracking, orders up to six days in advance, no minimum orders, delivery time selected first so sources that aren't ready aren't offered, and (mostly) four-star Yelp ratings. Caviar charges $5 per delivery, which it is waiving as it begins in Philadelphia, plus a percentage of each order, which the company (and Yin) declined to disclose. Philadelphia is Caviar's eighth market (it's already in New York, as you'd expect.) Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/inq-phillydeals/Caviar-takes-on-GrubHub-for-Phillys-high-end-takeout.html#Gu6lDbf3CqtahFLV.99
Well starting today, you can. Because there’s a new delivery service in town called Caviar and it’s acting like a kind of restaurant curation and delivery service–offering door-to-door delivery service, but only for those restaurants which meet its standards. “Premium food,” they call it–meaning that the restaurants have to pass muster with the company’s “tastemakers” (no, I have no idea what that means either) and, in most cases, have at least 4 stars on Yelp.
When it comes to lazy eating, sites like Grub Hub have revolutionized the world of delivery food options. After all, there is something beautiful about ordering pizza with minimum human interaction. But as awesome as Grub Hub is, the options, in Philadelphia at least, aren't all that wide ranging: it's mostly pizza, pizza, Chinese, pizza, Thai and more pizza. On Wednesday, all of that is about to change with the introduction of Caviar into the Philadelphia market.
For their Philly launch, Caviar has lined up a solid list of 35 restaurants ("Only restaurants that meet the uncompromising standards of the Caviar tastemakers qualify for Caviar delivery. Nearly all restaurants must also earn at least a four-star Yelp rating to be considered for Caviar delivery," - via a press release). For now they're waiving the $4.99 delivery fee, so that means you can order from all sorts of exciting spots, like High Street on Market, Percy Street BBQ and Luke's Lobster, and all you have to worry about is the tip.
Today Square announced that it has acquired Caviar, a rapidly growing company that allows buyers to get delivery from top-rated, popular local restaurants that do not otherwise offer delivery. For restaurants, Caviar is an affordable, convenient alternative to an in-house delivery solution and drives additional revenue.
With the acquisition, Square deepens its commitment to providing independent sellers with services that make it easier for them to grow their business.
Caviar, which celebrated its Los Angeles launch yesterday, has ventured to Southern California after successfully servicing a plethora of other major U.S. cities as a premier food delivery service. Caviar is set to remold the concept of stereotypical, often mediocre food delivery with its high standards of quality. In order to avoid the hassle of transportation, wait times, and uncomfortable crowds, Caviar’s mission is to act as a liaison between L.A.’s leading restaurants and their customers.
Caviar’s broad coverage area encompasses the entirety of the Westside, including Brentwood, Westwood, Santa Monica, Venice, Culver City, Marina del Rey, and Beverly Hills. However, Caviar also services to most of Los Angeles — Downtown, Central L.A., and the Eastside — as well as the versatility of restaurants in these respective areas.
Caviar's service launched in Los Angeles today and they're servicing out in Central L.A., Downtown, the Eastside and the Westside. The gist of what they do is that they partner with restaurants that they've hand-picked, in which most have a four-star rating or higher on Yelp. Caviar picks up the food from the restaurants and delivers them, and they get your order to you in the one-hour window period you select. The delivery fee is normally $9.99, but during Caviar's L.A. launch, that fee is waived.
The allure of Caviar is the fact that you can eat the top-tier food you're craving when you're tired of your run-of-the-mill Chinese or Indian delivery. And we get to look at clear photos of dishes on their website instead of reading down a long menu full of just text. We'd try it again.
"Most good restaurants don't deliver," said Jason Wang, Caviar's chief executive. "With us, it's exclusive. You can't get delivery any other way." Wang said Caviar stands out from the competition by partnering with higher quality restaurants that typically don't deliver. In Los Angeles, the company has already inked deals with about 25 eateries, including Canter's Deli, Border Grill and Hamasaku.
Customers place an order by typing in their ZIP Code on the Caviar website, which then pops up a list of the available restaurants in their delivery zone, along with photos of the food they can order from each location.
Ever think to yourself "I'd really love to eat at Sotto tonight, but I really don't want to get out of my jammies"? Beginning tomorrow, that will be an option. A new delivery service called Caviar, which partners with higher-end restaurants, is launching in Los Angeles, allowing you to order food from a number of restaurants that have not previously offered delivery.
Caviar works with your zip code, showing restaurants in your delivery zone. Right now their zones are Central L.A., Downtown/Eastside, and Westside — meaning you'll have access to the service in Westwood, Brentwood, Santa Monica, Venice, Culver City, Marina del Rey, Beverly Hills, Hollywood, Central L.A., Koreatown, Downtown, Glendale, Silver Lake, and Echo Park.
Yesterday, if you were craving the short rib tortas from Fig, or a pizza from Sotto, or a ribeye from Jar... you’d have to get dressed and sit in traffic and eventually somehow get yourself to those places.
Ah, but today: Today all those things come to you, thanks to Caviar—it’s a new website that facilitates delivery from great spots, many of which never delivered before, and it has just now launched in LA. You’ll probably want to go to the website now, just to start enjoying the feeling of getting hungry, thinking of all the beautiful ways you’ll soon resolve this hunger. Poke around. You’ll see LA is divided into three sections—Eastside/Downtown, Central and Westside. Proceed accordingly.
For lunch I decided to use Caviar to order from Small’s (4009 North Albany Avenue.), a restaurant that’s far away enough that it would never normally be a lunch option for me. Half an hour later, a substantial order of Beef Brisket Bibimbap was at my door. It was warm and tucked with all the vibrantly spicy goodies like kimchi and gochujang (a fermented chili paste) that make Small’s so special.
So what makes Caviar, which is headquartered in San Francisco, different from other delivery companies on the market? Jason Wang, the co-founder and chief executive of Caviar, said the company came about when he and some friends realized that the one thing missing in San Francisco (and the existing delivery market) was that no good restaurants delivered. The focus for Caviar, therefore, is on higher-end restaurants that not only have never had their food delivered, but in some instances, don’t even do takeout.
The company also claims to have one of the widest delivery zones, which includes South Boston, and consistently short delivery times. Additionally, Caviar does a lot of catering as well.
Fortunately, a new kind of food delivery service has launched in Boston and it’s catering to your sophisticated palate. The highly selective delivery service chooses restaurants “that meet the uncompromising standards of the Caviar tastemakers,” notes a source. Apparently, all restaurants on Caviar’s website must earn at least a four-star Yelp rating to even be considered for delivery. This means you don’t have to be picky when ordering from Caviar – they’ve already determined which food is worth ordering.
The company, which already proved profitable in the first three months of business, is now projecting a 200 percent annual revenue increase in 2014 and is in the process of expanding to various U.S. cities.
The venture-backed company uses contracted delivery drivers to deliver meals for a flat fee — $9.99 per order — to customers using the Caviar app or website in an under an hour. Users can request a delivery immediately or schedule a delivery at a specified time.
For the time being, deliveries are free. Restaurants that use Caviar pay an average of 25 percent of the total cost of the order to the company. Currently, Caviar is available only in Boston and only in areas like downtown, Beacon Hill, Back Bay, South Boston, Seaport and near the BU and Northeastern campuses.
So, there’s a new Chicago food delivery service called Caviar, presumably to reflect the fact that it delivers only food from high-quality, top-rated restaurant meals. After your first free delivery, their regular fee is $9.99 per delivery for any number of menu items.
Caviar delivery distinguishing features: 1) Hi-res photos of every menu item they deliver. Doesn’t just the picture sometimes sell you on an item? 2) Real-time GPS delivery tracking (Caviar can tell you exactly where your driver is). 3) Hire and compensate their own drivers (most others count on the restaurant to do that part). Tips for drivers are automatically included in your cost.
By only working with a select few and catering specifically to the fine-dining industry, Caviar provides a new revenue source for restaurants that have traditionally overlooked delivery as an option. The site offers these restaurants a comprehensive delivery infrastructure, including order management, quality control, logistics and on-call drivers. On the other hand, Caviar allows diners to enjoy fine dining in the comfort of their own home when reservations are hard to come by.
Some other innovative features offered by the new delivery service includes real-time GPS delivery tracking, hi-res photos of every item, customized orders with a one-hour delivery window, and the ability to order meals and schedule deliveries up to six days in advance.
Caviar, which officially launched locally last week, focuses on connecting hungry consumers with the most popular, well-rated restaurants in their area. This means Caviar restaurants must have four stars on Yelp and at least 1,000 reviews (but if it's new and critically acclaimed, it could make the cut).
The company also has a team that taste tests every single food item offered for delivery. And though the name connotes high-end, some Peninsula restaurants that have made the cut range from Pampas and Café Pro Bono to Caffe Riace, Tacolicious and Asian Box in Palo Alto; Jeffrey's Hamburgers and Sultana in Menlo Park; Donato Enoteca, Martin's West Gastropub and Aly's on Main in Redwood City.
Caviar, despite the name that which may lead one to believe it just brings customers the salt-cured fish-egg delicacy, delivers from restaurants that have four or more stars on the review site Yelp. The delivery service, which formally launched in Chicago, announced July 2 that it would be delivering from Peninsula restaurants such as The Plant Cafe Burlingame and Curry Up Now in San Mateo.
With a new website just launched, there are other developments on the horizon for the company. It’s working on native apps along with adding more restaurants to the Peninsula. The company is looking at adding one or two eateries along the Peninsula each week. There’s also no minimum ordering requirements and the company promises food to arrive within an hour.
San Francisco-based Caviar fancies itself a more discerning online ordering platform, tapping only restaurants with top Yelp ratings and providing professional photographs along with each menu item. In Chicago, where the service just launched, that means delivery from Publican Quality Meats, La Sirena Clandestina and Carriage House.
Customers select a one-hour delivery window, up to six days in advance, then a restaurant. The fee on top of the menu prices is $9.99 plus an 18 percent tip. (Deliveries are free through mid-July.) A “shared cart” feature lets other people — friends, family, co-workers — use a link to add items to the order too.
San Francisco-based Caviar claims it's different from competitors in that it focuses on a few "quality" restaurants instead of focusing on quantity. Unlike GrubHub and Seamless, which are essentially clearinghouses, deliveries from member restaurants are provided by Caviar and its delivery vans, allowing for restaurants that normally do not offer delivery to expand their revenue stream beyond their neighborhood. "All they have to do is make the food".
On July 1, Caviar will formally debut its premier delivery service in Chicago with some of the best-tasting food from top-rated restaurants in the city. Caviar provides restaurants with a comprehensive delivery infrastructure, including order management, quality control, logistics, and its own drivers always on-call.
Caviar conducts extensive taste testing and market research to ensure that the favorite foods from the best local restaurants that meet the uncompromising standards of Caviar "taste-makers" are available for delivery. Nearly ever restaurant on the Caviar site has a minimum of four stars on Yelp. Caviar is the only such service to feature:
Last month, San Fransciso-based Caviar, announced that it had raised a massive $13 million Series A round led by Tiger Global's venture fund, with participation from Paul Buchheit, Andreessen Horowitz and Mixt Greens, one of its restaurant partners. The startup, which is seeing 20 percent revenue growth month over month, does things a bit differently than its competitors. It only partners with high quality restaurants that don't normally deliver – like Momofuku Milk Bar, DBGB Kitchen and Mission Cantina - to offer speedy delivery of their menu items (18 minutes on average).
The twist is that Caviar, which already operates in San Francisco, DC, Chicago, Manhattan and Seattle, is contracting with restaurants that don’t ordinarily do delivery. So far, the service has signed up 16 East Bay spots – including Plum Bar, La Mediterranée, Binh Minh Quan, Hawker Faire, A16 Rockridge, Hopscotch, Phil’s Sliders, Ajanta, and Desco — and many more will be coming online soon, at a rate of one a week, such as Homeroom and Ike’s Lair.
And, for the East Bay at least, if not for New York, Caviar is a step ahead. Until now, having dinner or a catered lunch delivered from many of the restaurants on its roster was near-on impossible.
Founded by four Cal entrepreneurs, Caviar expands its restaurant delivery service to the East Bay.
Q. What’s the backstory on so many UC Berkeley alumni that are founders of Caviar? How did this group come together?
"We look for the best restaurants in the city that have great food," partner John Keh told Business Insider. "Our restaurant partners do not have to be the fanciest in town, but if they make some of the best dishes in their category, we partner with them."
Delivery is guaranteed within the hour, and GPS technology allows you to track the exact location of your food — kept warm in a heat thermal bag — while it’s in transit.
Other notable features: Caviar’s website (a smartphone app version is currently in development) features a photograph of every single dish; there is no minimum (or maximum) order; and the delivery zone, which covers most of Oakland, Berkeley, and Emeryville, is notably large.
Jason Wang, founder and CEO of Caviar, discusses the company's food-delivery service with Pimm Fox on Bloomberg Television's "Taking Stock."
A fleet of Caviar delivery cars, trackable by GPS, proceed to pick up the food and deliver it to the home or office that ordered it at a flat $9.99 rate for every order.
Caviar offers a way to get a group order together with a shared link, helpful for bigger feeds.
Several hour waits be gone: Toki Underground now delivers.
The H Street NE ramen joint's menu is now available through delivery service Caviar. Delivery hours are specific to the day and can only be placed for certain windows, but both lunch and dinner are available. Orders can be placed one day in advance.
Here's the catch: There's a $9.99 delivery fee. Worth it to have those delicious noodles delivered to your door? On a day like this — yes.
Toki Underground serves some of the city's best ramen, but the prohibitive wait times to get into the teeny H Street NE restaurant often exceed two hours, keeping many would-be noodle-slurpers away. No longer! Thanks to delivery service Caviar, you can enjoy your red miso ramen from the comfort of your own home, without interrupting your Netflix binge.
...Our ramen arrived promptly, and still piping hot -- exactly the thing we needed on a soggy day like today. We could even track our order via GPS on a map e-mailed to us with our receipt. Gratuity and delivery fees are charged automatically: Our $32 order came with a not-unreasonable $9.50 in add-ons, including tax. Best of all, it was the first time we've ever had Toki without an interminable wait.
The service charges users a fee of $9.99 for a delivery, no matter how large the order. Caviar's chief executive Jason Wang tells the WSJ, that the service once "delivered $5,000 worth of food items for the flat fee of $9.99 to one location in the past." Wang also notes that they will soon offer a bill-splitting option to "make large orders easier for business customers and groups."
Today, Caviar announced a Series A funding round of $15 million, most of it from investment firm Tiger Global Management (whose chief executive, Chase Coleman, appeared on Fortune's 40 Under 40 list in 2012). Out of that $15 million, $13 million is from Tiger. But in a unique twist, the Series A investors also include one of Caviar's restaurant partners -- the Mixt Greens restaurant group, which has nine salad-and-sandwich shops in California -- one of its individual customers, and one of its drivers.
Caviar also enables customers to share a link with their friends or coworkers to facilitate group ordering. For that reason, the service is perfect for office lunch orders or feeding employees around larger events. The service has a high average order size, at around $80 per order. It also has a good retention rate, with 80 percent of orders being placed by repeat customers.
Its $13 million Series A round of funding was led by Tiger Global, which is increasingly making investments in early-stage startups, while the $2 million seed round was led by Winklevoss Capital. Other investors include Andreessen Horowitz, Paul Buchheit, and the Mixt Greens restaurant group.
Caviar helps high-end restaurants sell and deliver anything on their menu to customers who can’t come in for a meal. This means restaurateurs and chefs don’t have to become Web marketers or managers of small logistics teams, Mr. Wang said.
Restaurants selling via Caviar set their own prices. Some of the well-known chefs and venues that have worked with Caviar include Daniel Boulud’s DBGB Kitchen, David Chang’s Momofuku Milk Bar and Danny Bowien’s Mission Cantina.
Ordering food through Caviar is a comparatively straightforward and uncluttered experience. The relative sparseness of Caviar's offerings has the paradoxical effect of making you feel as if you actually have more choice because you aren't looking at 24 places all selling pizza.
And when it comes to choosing a restaurant, one is presented with a clear matrix of choices featuring well photographed shots of the food.
"I wasn't convinced that I needed the service," says [Chef Danny Bowien of Mission Chinese], "but once I tried it from home and I was able to order Frankies Sputino 570's eggplant parmesan from my couch, I changed my mind."
Caviar works like any other food delivery site, except this place has the really, really good restaurants on board. We're talking Cha Cha Cha and Uva Enoteca in San Francisco, Wild Ginger and Japonessa in Seattle + Corner Bistro and Katz's in NYC. Best of the best, right?
I think it's safe to say Caviar has reinvented the food delivery world–I mean, what's better than ordering from Pommes Frites in your PJs and never having to step foot outside?
Our crack team of gallant investigators holed up near Columbus Circle and visited the site to scope out options. Among others, they've got Katz's Deli, Corner Bistro, Han Dynasty and (once it reopens) Mission Chinese. So... good start.
After each investigator added their choices separately via the "Share your cart" option, the order was placed. They were then given a page through which they could see when their order went out and track it in real time. During which time productivity plummeted.
The Verdict ... ... Sorry, our intrepid investigators' mouths were full of hot, spicy dan dan noodles. It works. Every part. And took just about an hour. Magic is real.
Craving piping hot Dan Dan noodles from Han Dynasty? How about an overstuffed Katz's pastrami on rye? Or perhaps Mission Chinese Food's famously explosive chicken wings? What if we told you that all of these dishes could be delivered directly to your home or office today in just a few clicks?
And get this - users can track their meal couriers via a real-time tracking system. From personal experience, this little tool is great fun for the hungry and impatient. Refresh. Refresh. Refresh. Refresh.
It remains to be seen if a service such as Caviar can make it in the big city. If their expanding selection of NYC grub is any indication (in addition to the aforementioned places, Caviar features Baohaus, Caracas Arepa Bar and Corner Bistro, among many others), the answer is a resounding YES.
To date I have ordered (ouch) $1,685.59 worth of food, from some of my favorite restaurants, through Caviar.
No neighborhood restrictions. No more wondering, When's it gonna get here? You can GPS-track your order online, of course. No scrambling for cash or figuring out a few-bucks'-tip on the fly.
I admit, this Caviar addiction could be getting out of hand. The other night, my husband and I spent $33 for two carnitas burritos. A little ridiculous, I realize. But the luxury of eating Nick's Crispy Tacos while watching Homeland - without having to leave our living room? Priceless.
By working with restaurants directly, Caviar can provide a higher-quality experience than you might get if you used some other, non-partnered service to order takeout and bring it to you.
It also allows group ordering, so that you can send a link around to your coworkers or roommates and have them pick from menu items, without having to go through the trouble of writing down everyone's selection yourself.*
The company added a new feature where you can schedule orders up to six days in advance. Having an office party later in the week and want to make sure everyone gets what they want from an awesome restaurant? Caviar's got you covered.
Caviar's ethos is quality over quantity. Caviar carefully selects the restaurants and takes beautiful, drool-worthy photographs of every dish. This is particularly useful for people like me, who find it difficult to make ordering decisions without a visual.
"We are finally giving local businesses, namely restaurants in our case, the ability to distribute their product to an entire city simply by plugging into our platform," [cofounder and CEO] Wang said. "On the other side, we are empowering millions of people to order food from places they would normally have to spend 30 minutes getting to and then waiting 60-plus minutes in line."
Young companies like Munchery, Zesty, and Sprig focus on delivering healthier food. Caviar's focus isn't on nutrition, but rather on elevating the quality of the online ordering experience.
No cash changes hands; all the money is dealt with online, and there's a $9.99 flat fee for orders, which includes tip.
"Our sole focus is on restaurants, all of our delivery drivers are trained to handle food," Wang said. There are photographs of every restaurant dish on the site, and it's possible to customize orders down to, say, ordering a "wet" and spicy Gorditos burrito.
Orders can either be placed on-demand or can be set up to six days in advance. There's GPS tracking to see how far away your food is. A particularly nice feature to my eye, and to anyone who has lived to regret asking officemates "I'm running out for lunch, want anything?" is a "group" option where friends or co-workers can share an online cart.
Caviar's different, offering a selection - and often a wide one - from the menus of some of Seattle's very favorite restaurants. Choose dishes from Japonessa, Skillet Counter, Wayward Vegan Café. Without leaving your home you can enjoy Café Lago's justly fabled lasagne. The chilaquiles from Senor Moose Café. Hanoi tuna and Sichuan green beans from Wild Ginger.
Since Caviar personally curates restaurants, it only offers food from the absolute best ones. That is, the ones with at least four stars.
Choose from 26 different restaurants including the delicious likes of Ike's Place, Little Star Pizza, and Rosamunde Sausage Grill.
You can share your check-out cart and order together, making their flat-rate delivery fee ($9.99) negligible.
Caviar co-founder Jason Wang told me that on average, it takes 17 minutes for delivery from the restaurant to a user's home.
Along with that, Caviar has a feature to enable group ordering, simplifying the process of multiple users deciding what they want when all ordering together.
The Caviar team set out to create a web-based service that would take all of the pain out of that experience, and the result is flat-rate delivery fee of $9.99 from any of its partner restaurants with an average delivery time of 17 minutes anywhere in San Francisco and Treasure Island.
Working exclusively with highly rated restaurants, Caviar drops food from favorites like Little Star Pizza and Nick's Crispy Tacos at your doorstep in 17 minutes, on average.
Caviar delivers meals from eateries which are highly rated on customer review site Yelp.
Caviar claims that its service gives diners access to those restaurants where long queues and waits for food are common due to their popularity. Each restaurant partnering with the site must have a rating of four stars or more on Yelp.
Only restaurants that have been given at least four stars out of five on Yelp will be included on the site. To add to the convenience, users can also track the order in real-time.
Caviar has a flat-rate delivery fee of $9.99, which is worth while if you're ordering a lot, or with a bunch of people. It might be a great online system for catering, or colleagues looking to have lunch together but without the fuss of leaving the office.
The Interwebz have once again come to the rescue with Caviar, an invitation-only service delivering food from 11 of SF's best casual restaurants. None of which offer their own delivery service.
You pre-pay, schedule your delivery for after your noon conference call, and voilà! Carne asada tacos Nick's Way arrive at your office in SoMa at the appointed hour.
Point. Click. Dinner is served.
Deep-dish from Little Star. Pho from Turtle Tower. Martinis made with unicorn tears. That's what you're getting delivered from these guys. (Okay, maybe not that last one.)
They're curating a selection of well known Yelp four-star restaurants that don't typically deliver.
In addition to cherry-picking vendors, Caviar also offers picture menus, real-time delivery tracking and no minimum order limits in order to be competitive with startups like Seamless or GrubHub. It also offers scheduling options in addition to “Deliver Now,” with a $9.99 flat rate anywhere in SF and Treasure Island.