Caviar: Like Uber for Eaters

How to Get Your Favorite Eateries to Deliver

Source Corbis

Why you should care

Because your dinner-delivery options just dramatically improved. 

I feel bad about ditching my Bangkok 900 delivery guy. This sweet man has trekked not-so-tasty pad Thai up my San Francisco hill in rain, wind and fog for years. Apart from the greasy pizza chain on Haight Street, he’s the only one who would. He’s mourned breakups and marveled at my engagement ring; patted my pregnant bump and high-fived my two toddlers. But I haven’t seen him in a year. It’s officially over. We’re through.

Instead, to date I have ordered (ouch) $1,685.59 worth of food, from some of my favorite restaurants, through Caviar: an Uber-esque company (with a kind of annoying name) that launched in San Francisco last September. Co-founders Jason Wang, Andy Zhang and Richard Din, all food-obessed friends from UC Berkeley, have — just like that — solved the city’s sorry delivery situation. They recently started pilot programs in Seattle and New York City, and the ultimate plan is to be in every major metropolitan area.

No neighborhood restrictions. No more wondering, ’When’s it gonna get here?’ You can GPS-track your order online, of course.

“Wait, it’s a food-delivery service called Caviar that doesn’t deliver caviar?” tweeted NYC-based food writer Francis Lam.

Correct. Not yet, anyway. In the meantime, though, they do deliver everything else: fish tacos and fresh sushi, beef pho and biftec encebollado. Chicken tikka masala and chicken parm, all the way from Tommaso’s in North Beach, no less. Plus, too many deep-dish pies from Little Star Pizza to count.

For a flat $9.99 fee, including tip (oh, just call it $10), it all arrives at your door — lightning-fast and still hot — from the city’s most beloved restaurants. 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. Caviar has your credit card info, along with your order history. 

Think a 21st-century Waiters on Wheels — with a better palate and no minimum order price. Unlike, say, Seamless and GrubHub — good efforts both, and now one company — Caviar thoughtfully curates its restaurant selection and has managed to lure the finer-dining, trendy or too-busy-to-bother type of restaurants that otherwise don’t deliver.

And discerning at-home urban diners tired of ordering off of doorknob fliers have been celebrating all over the Internet. Even in NYC, king of decent delivery options. Direct tweet from none other than Mario Batali: @Missionstfood delivers, @nyjets win. Much rejoicing!!!! Wheeeeeeeee! pic.twitter.com/utPl4hfWD7.

Back in San Francisco, 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.

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