FISHERS — Soon, adorned bicycles, mopeds, golf carts, and trucks will be delivering scratch-made meals around Fishers.
"Everything's fresh; nothing's frozen. We have a great chef, Craig Baker, who's well-known in this town," Randy De John, the founder of Room Service on Wheels, told WRTV.
Room Service on Wheels opens at Fishers Pointe Boulevard and Lantern Road in July.
Situated inside the Pullman Pointe apartment complex, Room Service on Wheels keeps its delivery radius within a 15 minutes round-trip drive.
De John's entire basis for opening Room Service on Wheels was to offer quick and personable customer service. The short commute for their in-house drivers is key to succeeding in that mission, De John says.
De John's idea to open Room Service on Wheels came throughout the pandemic when he frequently ordered out through apps like DoorDash, UberEats, and GrubHub. Although they were good enough, the Florida native saw where he believed they fell short.
"Our idea was based a lot on some of their flaws," De John said. "We can start a business, do the same thing, scratch kitchen, fresh food, get it to you fast. (We have) our own drivers that come to the door in a uniform with a name tag on. We don't just leave it — unless you want it left — but yet give you that personal touch, that customer service."
As one of the people behind the opening of the very first Hooters in Clearwater, Florida, in 1983, De John says he wanted to "get back to customer service."
"I think, in the last several years, the customer service has fallen apart," De John said.
"I remember when I was a kid, I used to go to the gas station with my dad, and somebody would come out in a bow tie. And we'd roll down the window, and he'd say, 'Hi, how you doing, Mr. De John? How much gas do you need?' He'd pump the gas, and then he'd wipe the windows off with the squeegee. Where's that guy?" De John asked about the restaurant industry today. "I'm trying to bring some of that back."
By mixing some old concepts in food delivery with new advancements in the popular ghost-kitchen business, De John has found a model that works for him as a patron and one he hopes resonates with his customers.
“Great food” and “better delivery” (a Room Service on Wheels tagline) will be made possible with scratch-made American foods, quick turnaround, and what De John hopes is a heightened customer experience.
Being a stone's throw away from the Nickel Plate Trail, Room Service cyclists can pedal to customers more speedily. Utilizing its golf carts, the restaurant offers front door and pool-side delivery at Pullman Pointe and the several other neighboring apartment complexes on Lantern Road.
"Talking to drivers from DoorDash and Grubhub and all the competitors, their biggest issue is that sometimes they can only take one delivery. Because the radius is so large, it might take them 30 to 45 minutes out there," De John said. "Our driver can literally be at the farthest spot and back to the store within 15 minutes. And I think that for our drivers being able to take four to five deliveries in an hour makes a huge difference for them just as much as us."
People outside of Room Service’s 15-minute delivery cut-off can make an order for curbside pickup. The restaurant will also have a walk-up window where, in the summer months, patio furniture will be placed for folks to enjoy their meals.
De John intends to open five more Room Service locations in central Indiana over the next 5 years with the same premise: “Delivery that doesn’t suck" (the business' motto).
WRTV Digital Reporter Shakkira Harris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow her on Twitter, @shakkirasays.