When eating out, cooking in or even leaving your living room is too tall an order, two Lexington companies will bring a variety of restaurant food to your door.
The Web- and phone-based services LexEatIn and Takeout Taxi allow you to order from the menus they provide from local restaurants, and then they bring the food to you. Orders may be placed by phone or online with just a few clicks or with free apps for iPhone and iPad users
Both charge $3.99 to deliver orders placed online and $4.99 for orders placed by telephone. A $10 minimum order is required.
LexEatIn was started in October by Kentucky natives Joseph Mitchell and Robert Hamilton, and it offers delivery services for more than 30 restaurant brands. LexEatIn is the first independent venture for both owners. Hamilton said they experienced "normal" challenges at the beginning.
"The rate at which we've grown has kept us all busy," he said. "Business is going well; we're growing and partnering with more and more restaurants all the time."
Takeout Taxi is in a similar growing stage, Kentucky franchisee Tommy Wheelock said.
Takeout Taxi is a national chain. Its Lexington operation opened in November and offers services to more than 20 restaurant brands.
"It's always a slow start," Wheelock said. "We have to build the customer base, and we're doing that each and every day."
After managing the Louisville branch for 14 years, Wheelock said bringing Takeout Taxi to Lexington was the logical next step.
"There was definitely a need for a restaurant delivery service in Lexington," he said.
Hamilton agreed, saying he and Mitchell were inspired by their days at Transylvania University.
"We both saw the idea in other places and thought it would work here with the college campuses and everything," Hamilton said.
He said their goal is to provide convenience among people's frenzied schedules.
"People are busy and don't always have time to cook or go out for food," Hamilton said.
Wheelock plans to target college students this fall by partnering with UK so students' Plus Accounts can be used to pay for the food.
Both LexEatIn and Takeout Taxi offer diverse options. Restaurants including Applebee's, Smashburger and El Chico's broaden the standard delivery choices of pizza and Chinese food.
Besides busy families and students, Takeout Taxi and LexEatIn deliver to corporate sales meetings, office lunches and other events large and small. Both services take orders weeks and months in advance.
After less than a year in business, Hamilton said LexEatIn has received plenty of positive feedback from customers.
"People find it really easy to use and enjoy the variety of cuisine options," he said. Wheelock said customers are intrigued by the idea of dinner simply showing up at their doors.
"They love that they don't have to do a thing," he said.