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UCF graduates bring spin to food delivery

Contributing Writer

Published: Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Updated: Wednesday, September 8, 2010 17:09

When the real estate market went from sizzle to fizzle in 2007, two UCF graduates in the industry soon developed a hunger to return to a fast-paced work environment.

Grub Taxi, founded by Albert Giammattei and Dominick Abitino, was created to serve meals door-to-door to the growing population of hungry students, businesses and residents of East Orlando, Winter Springs, Oviedo and Casselberry.

"We're a restaurant marketing company," said Giammattei, who said he is always on the lookout for new restaurant partners. "It is a win-win for restaurants, especially when they are struggling."

This week, the duo is in the process of applying to become a part of UCF's Business Incubation Program.

According to the its website, the program "has helped more than 140 emerging companies create over $500 million in annual revenue and more than 1,600 new jobs with an average salary of $59,000" since its founding in 1999.

With school back in session, campus groups can take advantage of Grub Taxi's drop-off catering services typically geared for 10 or more people with a delivery fee of $7.99.

Though Giammattei expected business to slow down with school out for summer, he said it remained steady throughout and that they have been able to hire people in a rough economy.

About one third of their employees are UCF students.

Of the 27 employees, there are 20 drivers and seven office staff, including two UCF marketing interns.

Emily Davidson, a senior marketing major, spent fall of last year as a marketing intern for Grub Taxi and spring of this year on staff.

She said one of the greatest benefits to students and groups on campus is that it offers convenient and affordable service and it saves time if you're busy.

Customers can currently choose from a growing list of 67 area restaurants, most of which don't deliver on their own.

Customers are presented with advanced ordering options and can choose "Feed me now" — with an expected delivery time between 45 minutes to one hour from order to delivery — or "Feed me later," and schedule a delivery up to a maximum of five days later.

Customers browse full restaurant menus, then click and choose entrees, sides and make special requests all in one convenient place: the Grub Taxi online ordering platform.

Restaurant customers can choose from various chain restaurants and smaller shops such as Pom Poms.

A $3.99 delivery fee is charged with each order, a portion of which goes to the driver.

According to Giammattei, an average night for a "mobile waiter" is anywhere between six to eight deliveries.

Lunch specials like the "1/2 off delivery" offered Monday through Friday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. save customers money, along with special Facebook posts and Twitter posts sent out to fans and followers.

With a $12 minimum order, Grub Taxi can cater "anything from events or meetings.

One person can order for hundreds of people.

They can bring everything: cups, silverware, plates, drinks," Davidson said.

The company philosophy is to "provide great customer service along with a quality restaurant-prepared meal," Giammattei said.

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