Like many bachelors, when Randy De John was single, he used to have food delivered to him all the time.
De John has worked in the restaurant business for 35 years and although there are a lot of good delivery services, he also found some flaws in their systems. Sometimes food didn’t travel well and would arrive soggy or it would take an hour or more to get there. Most third party delivery companies are independent drivers that lack the much-needed customer service touch. The trend also has delivery drivers ring customer door bells, leave the food on the porch and walk away without ever greeting the customer.
One day De John and his good friend, Mike Nash, got to talking and decided to partner up and try the “ghost kitchen” market, which is food delivery or curbside pick-up only. When the pandemic hit in 2020 and people were wary to venture out, the delivery business soared. In 2021, De John and Nash conceived Room Service on Wheels, which officially opens this month. Located across the parking lot to the Pullman Pointe Apartments on Lantern Road, the business is unique to the market for a number of reasons. For starters, rather than using independent drivers, they hire and train their staff to understand that providing stellar customer service is paramount.
“We call it the ‘Plus One’ as in, “What can we do that’s one step above for the customer?’” De John says.
At Room Service on Wheels, a customer opens the door and is personally greeted by someone wearing a nice uniform with a nametag who says, “Hello, Mr. Smith. Thank you for your order. By the way, I’ve got your extra cheese.”
“That personal touch has been lost over the years, especially in the delivery business,” says De John, who made sure to create foods that travel well. Their fresh from-scratch menu consists of pizza, wings, smash burgers, fresh salads, cold and hot sandwiches, soups and pasta.
“Our food is excellent,” De John says. “We’ve hired Craig Baker, a well-known chef and now business partner who has owned several restaurants here in town.”
De John and Nash sought to make fresh food and deliver it in a timely fashion — within 15 to 30 minutes of ordering. In order to do that, they had to make their total radius smaller than their competitors. They do, however, offer catering with a much larger delivery radius. Because they serve such a dense area for traditional food deliveries, they’re able to use mopeds and bicycles for many deliveries.
“We can hop on the Nickel Plate Trail, which is 50 feet from the store, and be to neighboring residences in four to five minutes,” De John says.
Due to their close proximity to Pullman Pointe apartments, these residents can utilize the room service option (requesting things like bottled water, chips or candy bars). In addition, their pool area will have a plaque with a QR code so residents can order directly from the menu which can be delivered directly to their pool area. This is yet another unique added touch that sets Room Service on Wheels apart from their competitors.
De John suspects that one thing the general public is frustrated with is paying exorbitant fees for food delivery, which is another reason why curbside pick up is offered. It’s very common to order a burger, fries and soda from a chain restaurant for delivery and pay up to approximately $12 in extra fees.
“We charge only a 20% gratuity that goes straight to the driver with a name tag and smiley face,” De John says. “The store makes no money on fees.”
Customers can place their orders online, by phone or in person at the walk-up window that’s connected to the Pullman Pointe Apartment building.
“We have outdoor seating so you can come up to the window and order, then take to one of our patio tables and enjoy the outdoors,” De John says.
In addition, on Saturdays and Sundays, if you’re on the trail, you can walk up to the window to receive a freshly baked complimentary cookie and/or a dog treat for your pet. We would love for patrons to walk up to the window and say hello.”
De John is thrilled to be located in the Fishers community because the area has so much to offer. For instance, when the free summer outdoor concerts begin this month on Tuesday and Friday evenings, Room Service on Wheels will offer a unique service providing charcuterie boards in addition to their menu which includes kid-friendly options. Patrons can either call ahead and place an order to be delivered and/or order directly via their counter/golf cart located at the Nickel Plate District Amphitheater. Concert goers who order at the Amphitheater will be given a numbered flag and food will be delivered directly to their chair.
“You don’t have to leave your chair,” De John says. “That’s a pretty nice perk considering the concert series attracts between 3,000 to 4,000 people.”
De John recalls as a kid his family pulling into the gas station and being greeted by a man in a collared shirt and bow tie, offering to gas up their car.
“That personal touch of customer service has been gone for quite some time,” he says. “I’m trying to bring that back. Our brand is all about friendly customer service and we look forward to serving the community.”
Room Service on Wheels is located at 11110 Lantern Rd. in Fishers. For more information, call 317-578-FAST or visit roomserviceonwheels.com.