Necessity is the mother of invention: before the pandemic, Ottawa tech company GetIt Local was a food delivery service at sports stadiums, ferrying beers and hot-dogs so spectators wouldn’t miss any action by leaving their seats.
The business was growing steadily, with clients lined up in the AHL and NHL. “Obviously, when COVID hit, that crushed our stadium software pretty much overnight,” says co-founder Ben Lacroix.
By the fall of 2020, Lacroix and co-founder Ryan Hardy had pivoted their model, and GetIt Local became a delivery service for businesses across Ottawa. The app focuses on minimizing the cost of delivery for both consumers and business owners — something that is particularly attractive to restaurant owners, who can lose up to 30 percent of revenue through third-party apps.
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As a consumer, using GetIt Local feels very similar to scrolling through Uber and Skip The Dishes — but unlike those major players, GetIt Local is a monthly subscription service for businesses, offering a sliding price scale from $49 to $499 per month, with no contractual obligations.
On top of this, GetIt Local charges a flat fee for delivery “instead of the whole smoke and mirrors game that the industry plays,” Hardy says, ensuring their drivers receive a fair wage.
To demonstrate how GetIt Local works, Hardy uses an example of a $100 pizza order. When purchased from “the main global competitor,” he says, $30 would be charged as a back-end fee to the business, with another $10 to $15 charged to the consumer — meaning the third party app makes around $40-$45 off the $100 order.
With GetIt Local — depending on the size of the business — that same transaction could come to $10-$15 in total fees paid by the consumer and the business combined. “It’s a totally new approach that we bring to the table that these current companies do not do — and they’re not willing to do it, because they’re only playing the profit game,” Hardy says.
The app is used by almost 100 restaurants, including the Clocktower Brew Pub, The Grand Pizzeria, Dreamland Café. Lacroix and Hardy expect to be serving around 150 businesses within the next two months – not counting the 30-odd restaurants being added through their recent partnership with Love Local Delivery, another local food delivery service.
At the start of the pandemic, GetIt Local’s only staff members were Lacroix and Hardy, working out of a 200 square-foot office. One year later, they have a staff of 24, and work with 20 contract drivers through Ottawa company Responsible Choice.
“We went through some really rough times in the first few months, just making sure the app works,” Hardy says. “Ben and I definitely have had a couple of sleepless nights as entrepreneurs and business owners, but our team keeps us going — our clients keep us going.”
As well as expanding across the city, GetIt Local is starting to service non-mainstreet businesses, helping to deliver items for catering companies, bakeries, alcohol stores and more. With a beta version of its app being tested in Calgary, and a new app redesign coming in November, “there’s going to be a big future for us in the coming months,” Hardy says.
The Bright Side of Business is an editorial feature focused on sharing positive stories of business success.
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