ClusterTruck offers a visionary approach to food delivery, despite its somewhat misleading name. Located at the intersection of virtual restaurants, just-in-time ordering, home delivery and fleet management, the Indianapolis-based company recently has added Kansas City to its growing roster of markets served.
With ClusterTruck, it’s all about synchronization. Food, from an extensive menu, is prepared in a commissary-like kitchen in each of its now six locations. Orders, via a dedicated app or via the company website, are only offered within zones in each city where meals can be delivered to a customer’s curb within a reasonable time frame to ensure freshness. The twist, compared to other food delivery options, is that an individual order is not started until a driver can be located. For those who live outside a designated zone, a customer can place their food request and meet a driver within the delivery area.
“Having come from a deep technology background, we approached the growing problem of unsatisfied food delivery customers from a software perspective,” ClusterTruck Inc. CEO Chris Baggott, who co-founded digital marketing software company ExactTarget, said in a release. “We believe hungry people should never have to choose between the convenience of fast delivery, the food quality they’d get at a sit-down restaurant and the personality of street food, so we created a service that offers all of the above.”
Essential to ClusterTruck’s success is the specially designed kitchens where the food is prepared. Large digital displays cue chefs when to begin meal preparation, based on not only finding a driver but calculating the time it will take the vehicle to reach the meal prep location. According to company information, Baggott hand-coded the software to ensure accuracy for this crucial step.
Baggott also has his hands in the process far beyond prep and delivery. The ClusterTruck CEO owns a farm where animals used for much of the company’s menu are sourced, in a pasture-raised and antibiotic-free environment. With increasing demand, Baggott is contracting with other farms who are willing to raise their cows and pigs to ClusterTruck’s specifications.
ClusterTruck’s delivery fleet is made up of drivers who also may work for other services such as Uber, Lyft or Postmates. One of the company’s big selling points to recruit new drivers is that ClusterTruck provides only curbside delivery, all of which eliminates the hassle of parking, apartment building codes or elevators. Also, the company says it pays its drivers daily, rather than weekly or monthly, as is common with other food delivery services.