Swingby is the food delivery friend to call on when hunger strikes and you just don’t want to leave the comfort of your couch. Saturday evening, when I was in the midst of a writing deadline, I didn’t want to stop to make a food run. The contents of my refrigerator were down to its condiment and water bottle basics, so it was the perfect time to try out the new San Diego startup and experience how it worked.
A mere three texts and less than an hour later, I had macaroni and cheese and kale salad arriving to my door from North Park’s Bazinga Eatery courtesy of the prompt, friendly service of Swingby. Currently serving North Park, Hillcrest, University Heights, Normal Heights, and Kensington neighborhoods, their tagline is: “If it has take-out, we’ll swing by.”
The delivery service is just over two months old and run by a brother and sister team who created a solution to the problem of so many: I want to order from <favorite restaurant>, but they don’t deliver!
I sat down with Swingby co-founder, Wes Hsu on one of the hottest days of the year at the newly-opened Panama 66 (he provides UX and design consulting for Balboa Park) to discover how this idea came to fruition and just how it’s played out so far.
Hsu and his sister, Cathleen decided to give customers a food delivery option when a restaurant has dine-in or take-out only. With his background in UX, Hsu is well-versed in testing how things work best for customers and what it takes to meet high demand. The solution also works well for restaurants who face their own concerns when wanting to offer delivery to their customers, but are limited by factors such as overhead cost, parking problems, and an overwhelming number of orders at peak times.
Crowdsourcing, according to Hsu, has become increasingly popular when it comes to B2C businesses. Just look at the popularity of Uber and Airbnb. Communities are being formed and we are calling on our neighbors (via our smartphones) to help us out in terms of transportation, travel, and yes, food delivery.
Swingby is Hsu making deliveries while his sister takes the incoming orders and plans logistics. They have now added three more drivers to the team who set their own hours and choose to accept or reject a delivery as it’s assigned.
As for my recent experience, ordering couldn’t have been simpler: I text my name, address, restaurant name, and order to Swingby. In just a few minutes, I received a confirmation and then two status texts to let me know that my delivery was being picked up and when it was on its way.
In its beginning phases, Swingby is testing optimal schedule times and spreading the word about the delivery service to restaurants who might want to offer it to their own customers. When mentioning the service to a friend of mine, she was excited at the prospect of having a breakfast burrito delivered to her after a night out. As demand rises, I can see this as a future option bringing many a smile to San Diego residents.
For now, I’m already planning my next order based on one of Swingby’s latest Instagram posts showing that they now deliver for City Tacos (grab a business card in the restaurant), which has been on my list of places to try. In the time it takes to send a tweet, I can schedule tacos to be prepared and delivered to my door. If that’s not a California dream come true, I don’t know what is.
Follow Swingby on Twitter and Instagram: @swingbyfood