LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Working long hours in his medical residency taught urologist Dr. Tracy Gapin more than medicine. Those late nights also led him and his wife Sara, a former teacher, to learn enough about ordering-in that they started Doorstep Delivery Sarasota partnering with 20 restaurants to bring dinner home for Lakewood Ranch residents.
"It was kind of a crazy thing," Sara Gapin said. "We have been home so many nights and we don't want to go out and we don't want to order pizza."
During her husband's medical residency, they lived in Gainesville, where Doorstep Delivery originated 14 years ago. Theirs is the 14th franchise to open, but neither of them had any experience operating a delivery service or food related business.
"I thought this would be great in the area. Being a franchise, we got a lot of help doing this," she said. "In the beginning, we did most of the deliveries ourselves. We weren't sure how much staff we needed, but this weekend we had so much help that they did it. We wanted to know all the aspects ourselves. We have done it all, but luckily now we have hired people to help us."
They typically try to get the food to customers in about 55 minutes, depending on timing at the restaurants. Delivery costs $3.99 if ordered online and $5.99 if called in. Doorstep Delivery Sarasota can be reached at www.doorstepdelivery.com or by calling 941-365-EATS (365-3287).
The Sarasota franchise maintains a Facebook page
(https://www.facebook.com/doorstepdeliverysarasota?fref=ts) that can offer discount coupons including free delivery.
The soft opening was in December, and now the have orders ranging from 11 to 21 per night. Restaurants from which they deliver in the Lakewood Ranch area include the Red Elephant, 5231 University Pkwy., University Park; Chili's Lakewood Ranch, 6125 Exchange Way; Bogey's Lakewood Ranch, 5206 52nd Place; Jpan Restaurant, 8126 Lakewood Main St. #102; and El Lago Ranchero, 8126 Lakewood Main St., Suite 101, Lakewood Ranch.
"They're doing great! It makes it convenient for customers," said Andrai Voight, a manger for Bogies Lakewood Ranch. "They're on time and on target and very pleasant to work with. It has increased business as well."
She added that she would use Doorstep Delivery Sarasota herself and that she has heard no complaints from customers.
Manny Reyes, a bartender/server at Jpan Restaurant, said he sees Doorstep deliver from their restaurant at least once a night of the two days he works there. "It's a good thing. I think it's a great service and I think in the future I see a lot of success in it. If they want to expand and add more restaurants, I think it will be really helpful.
"On the way home I have a 45-minute drive. I might as well call the guys and get some food delivered and make my life easier," he added.
"We definitely would love to expand," said the co-owner, who used to teach at both Wakeland and Kinnan Elementary Schools in Bradenton. "Once we get calls that are pretty close to where we are delivering, we call them and let them know if we are delivering to their neighbors."
They plan to expand to nearby areas such as Greenbrook East, north of SR70, east of I-75 and beyond as demand increases. They also deliver to areas in Sarasota.