New food delivery service arrives at VCU but who will deliver?

Daniel Parker
Contributing Writer

Anthony Battison, a Crunchbutton delivery worker, begins his first night on the job delivering Chipotle. Photo by Ali Jones

For five years, Quickness RVA has been delivering food on bike across campus. Now Crunchbutton, a food delivery phone app, has come to VCU armed with cars.

Although both companies are in the same line of business, the two have separate tactics for maintaining their delivery service. Both are competing for students to order from their service.

Crunchbutton has launched on 30 college campuses across the U.S. and on Jan. 18, Crunchbutton launched in Richmond. Judd Rosenblatt, a former Yale student, is the CEO and co-founder of Crunchbutton.

“To get your favorite food in just one click is a pretty revolutionary idea,” Rosenblatt said.

The restaurants the app delivers from are chosen by students through suggestions made on the website or phone app. Currently, Crunchbutton at VCU offers deliveries from Chipotle, McDonalds, Taco Bell, Buffalo Wild Wings, Panera Bread, Chik-fil-A and Chili’s To Go. Rosenblatt put emphasis on how receptive his company is to students making requests for new restaurants.

When launching at campuses, Crunchbutton markets its app as “cool” through a team of marketers. Next, Crunchbutton works to hire drivers through websites like Craigslist to deliver food to students. Generally, Crunchbutton delivers from a three mile radius across campuses.

Quickness RVA was first started by Frank Bucalo, a former food delivery worker from the Bronx. In the beginning, the service only delivered from Strange Matter with one person making deliveries. Now, Quickness RVA delivers from 22 local restaurants, including Unleashed Hot Dogs, Ipanema Cafe and Lamplighter. Quickness currently has 19 bikers. Fees for delivery vary based on the restaurant.

“It’s trendy to be on a bicycle,” Bucalo said. “And I’ve never heard of Crunchbutton before so I’m not really too worried about it.”

Quickness is currently looking into creating an app, but Bucalo notes that an Android or iOS app isn’t likely at the moment due to costs.

Quickness RVA’s use of bikes does have some advantages, according to Bucalo. Bikers are able to zip through traffic easier and don’t have to use costly fuel. The drawback is that bikes can hinder delivery in some ways. Quickness RVA’s delivery goes up to a two mile radius around the restaurant they are delivering from.

“We’d like to say it’s approximately a two mile radius,” said Bucalo. “But there are other factors like rivers and hills that come into play as well.”

Despite Crunchbutton networking with students, Bucalo says that the fact that students see his service delivering daily around campus means he won’t have to market to VCU students.

“We hope to stay ahead of the curve while also maintaining our local status,” said Bucalo. “We’re not just some tech company coming to take money out of the local economy.”

Although some students say they order from large chains like Pizza Hut, most students who were asked said they usually pick up food directly from restaurants.

Paul Barry, an art major at VCU, rarely uses delivery for food orders.

“It’s so quick to just pick food up,” Barry said. “I can count on my hand how many times I’ve gotten food delivered.”

Other students found that the fees kept them from ordering delivery or that delivery just seemed lazy. None of the students spoken to knew about Crunchbutton or Quickness RVA.

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