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By Elena Kadvany

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About this blog: I am a perpetually hungry twenty-something journalist, born and raised in Menlo Park and currently working at the Palo Alto Weekly as education and youth staff writer. I graduated from USC with a major in Spanish and a minor in jo...  (More)

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Carefully curated restaurant delivery company expands to Peninsula

Uploaded: Jul 7, 2014
Yet another San Francisco food delivery startup has expanded to the Peninsula, hoping to offer a more exclusive, carefully curated service in a very saturated market.

Caviar, which officially launched locally last week, focuses on connecting hungry consumers with the most popular, well-rated restaurants in their area.

"We have very strict criteria," said CEO Jason Wang. "People trust that we deliver only the best food."

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 will deliver from any of these restaurants to users as far north as Burlingame and as far south as Palo Alto.

View the full Peninsula restaurant list here. Wang said moving forward, they'll be adding one or two new restaurants each week.

Each menu item offered also comes with a high-resolution photo.

"We're really food-focused," Wang touted.

Caviar charges a flat $9.99 delivery fee, which Wang points out could be made more affordable if you split the fee with a group of friends or coworkers. A shared card feature makes it easy to do so. Caviar also does deliveries for entire companies.

There is no minimum-order requirement and first delivery is on the company. And like any other delivery startup that wants to make it in an increasingly competitive sub-industry in the Valley, Caviar offers real-time GPS tracking so you can conveniently watch as your food approaches its destination. Users can also order meals and schedule deliveries up tot six days in advance – handy perhaps for a work meeting or event.

Caviar was born in 2012 in an office in San Francisco's Financial District. Wang and three coworkers, hungry for food from their favorite restaurants that didn't offer delivery, were willing to pay someone $10 to pick up said food and drop it off. The company has since expanded to 70 employees and operates in cities across the country, including Boston, Chicago, New York City, Seattle and Washington D.C.

Comments

 +  Like this comment
Posted by E., a resident of another community,
on Jul 7, 2014 at 12:06 pm

Sixto's Cantina and Alana's Cafe coming soon!


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Martin Engel, a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest,
on Jul 7, 2014 at 8:16 pm

"The company also has a team that taste tests every single food item offered for delivery."

How, exactly, does that work? Are we involuntarily sharing our delivered dinner with the taste testers? Are the taste testers required to taste foods that they would otherwise completely reject, like octopus or Brussel sprouts?

Are there job openings for taste testers? I have an impressive resume. I work for meals.

Do my smarty-pants comments now make me ineligible for this Caviar service?

Oh, and by the way, does Caviar deliver caviar?


 +  Like this comment
Posted by thanks, a resident of Evergreen Park,
on Jul 8, 2014 at 5:38 pm

@Martin Engel - thanks for the laugh!!


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto,
on Jul 9, 2014 at 11:50 am

Hmmm is a registered user.

The Willows Market in Menlo Park now carries caviar. How about ordering home delivery from one of the food trucks there on a Monday night?


 +  Like this comment
Posted by carla , a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis,
on Jul 11, 2014 at 6:50 am

I hope that these food delivery companies are working to minimize the waste that has plagued the take-out industry. Compostable plates, etc. We stopped using GOBBLE for this exact reason: too much waste and icky plastic things that aren't even recyclable.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by eric, a resident of Mountain View,
on Jul 11, 2014 at 10:13 am

This may work in an urban environment, but $10 will not cover cost of delivery unless they're doing a TON of orders daisy chained together. So you can reheat your expensive dinner in the microwave and eat soggy food.

Pass


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Another dumb startup idea, a resident of Evergreen Park,
on Jul 11, 2014 at 4:56 pm

The chic, exclusive nature of this delivery company is yet another burden on restaurants. Who needs "exclusive" delivery companies that "taste test" the food for their precious clients. If you know the restaurant have anyone competent deliver the food. If you DON'T know the restaurant, how do you trust the taster?

This concept just goes to show how disconnected from the SOUL of food the Bay Area has become.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by I like Roses, a resident of Downtown North,
on Jul 30, 2014 at 12:30 am

Hmmm... for $10? That's a little over 2 gallons of gas. More than enough to pick up the food and go home yourself. With those $10 the courier is offering him/herself to you. They will drive through the bad traffic, they will deal with finding parking that may be difficult to find around a restaurant, they will raise their car mileage all for the customer. I think its a great service! The price is too much for me to use everyday, but I have my lazy days. I would definitely use it then.



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