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March 02, 2016

Montco food delivery business unveils track-by-text technology

Menu123 focuses on staying hyperlocal

Are you always impatient to know exactly when your pizza will arrive? Food delivery business Menu123, based in Montgomery County, has introduced a feature that lets you track the status of your delivery through text.

Customers who order on will now receive one text when the order has been picked up for delivery and another when the driver approaches their home. They can also use their phone to contact the delivery driver or track the order along the way, rate the service and leave a tip.

"A lot of people don't even realize that they can order their food online. Sometimes they're hesitant even if they know it. What's interesting is once they do it, they realize how convenient it is," said CEO Lina Shenk.

The company started out in Brooklyn, New York, in 2012 with the simple plan to provide a host of menus from local restaurants on one website. Soon, it realized that delivering hot dinners is a very hot business. The company is now based in Blue Bell and displays menus from more than 1,300 Philly and Montco restaurants on its website.

Related story: Montco company launches food delivery service 

Of course, right now, the food delivery industry offers a smorgasbord of options for hungry customers, meaning that the Blue Bell company has to stand out from competitors like GrubHub, Seamless and Caviar. Its business strategy has been to focus on what it can provide to restaurants, in addition to customers.

"We're also very hyperlocal-focused," said Shenk. "We try to get to know the communities we're in and develop relationships with the restaurants and promote them as much as we can, even through other marketing channels."

The company is offering free marketing for its restaurants, including digital ads, direct mail and search engine optimization. In addition, restaurants can sign up whether they have their own delivery system in place already or want to rely on Menu123's couriers. And no restaurant can pay to increase its position on the page when customers search on, ensuring that local eateries don't lose customers to richer competitors.

"We give everyone an equal footing," said Shenk.