MYNORTHWEST NEWS

Tony Delivers provides a local alternate to food delivery in Seattle

Feb 12, 2024, 5:32 AM | Updated: 5:32 am

tony delivers...

Uber Eats takeaway delivery cycle courier on August 15, 2023. (Photo: Mike Kemp/Getty Images)

(Photo: Mike Kemp/Getty Images)

The spirit of free enterprise is alive and well and servicing downtown Seattle.

When the city’s “PayUp” ordinance, guaranteeing a basic wage for app-based delivery drivers, went into effect in January, it prompted many food delivery services to increase the fees they charge customers.

Tony Illes began delivering for DoorDash and UberEats in Los Angeles in 2019, and he used to make good money, schlepping schwarmas and burgers to hungry tech workers and city dwellers.

“I made up to 12, 13, 14 deliveries an hour when it was raining,” Illes said.

More on WA: Chinatown-International District Sound Transit station re-opened after demonstration

But, when the 30-year-old Washington State University grad started losing customers due to the high costs of food delivery within the state, he decided to seize the moment, deploy his e-bike and start his own delivery service. This month, Tony Delivers was born.

“I’m not making any money on UberEats and DoorDash,” Illes said. “So, I decided to open up shop, cut out the middle man, help the consumer and help myself.”

The good news is he’s charging one basic fee for each delivery — “five dollars flat.” Illes doesn’t even expect a tip, expecting to make money from sheer volume instead.

“There’s probably within any hour, per hour, two to three hundred deliveries, minimum,” Illes said. “I figure I can service a lot of those customers.”

On Illes’ website, customers schedule a delivery time, then go to the restaurant’s website and order food directly from them. The customer provides a screenshot of the order to Tony Delivers, and as long as both the restaurant and customer are within the same delivery area, Tony will pick up the food and bring it to the hungry customer. He accepts Apple Pay, Google Pay and cash.

Because it’s just Tony and his bike, he’s limited the delivery area to Seattle’s SLU, Belltown, Denny Triangle, Downtown, Cascade and Lower Queen Anne neighborhoods.

Customer service is incredibly important to Illes, who believes customers aren’t making any personal connections with their app-based meal providers.

“There’s kind of a disconnect (with them),” Illes said. “I think that I could brighten your day. It’s like, ‘oh! I’m happy to see this guy.'”

Ultimately, Illes said he’s hoping to change the whole customer experience.

More from Lisa Brooks: Thousands of Raterlabs employees laid off 1 year after pay raise

“You want mostly positive experiences, and that’s what I think I could provide that as a young entrepreneur,” Illes added. “And, I hope to be able to help other people who have similar aspirations to me.”

If you do want to tip Tony on top of the $5 fee, he won’t turn you down. He wants it to be your choice though and doesn’t want it to feel forced.

“More of just, ‘hey Tony, you did a great job, you made my day, here’s (another) five bucks ’cause I was having a bad day at work,” Illes said.

You can read more of Lisa Brooks’ stories here. Follow Lisa on X, formerly known as Twitter, or email her here.

MyNorthwest News

Image: At left, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., speaks during a news conference on Tuesday, Jan. 9...

MyNorthwest Staff

Top Washington state officials react to Trump rally shootings

Washington state officials react to the shooting at a Trump rally in Pennsylvania. The comments come from X social media.

3 hours ago

Auburn shooting...

Bill Kaczaraba

Auburn late-night shooting leaves one teenage boy dead

The Auburn community was shaken by a deadly shooting late Friday night. Police received reports of gunfire in the 500 Block of A Street SE.

4 hours ago

Fitness guru Richard Simmons died Saturday at age 76. (AP)...

MARK KENNEDY, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

TV’s silly fitness guru Richard Simmons dies at 76

Richard Simmons, TV's court jester of physical fitness who built an empire by urging the overweight to exercise and eat better, has died.

6 hours ago

Photo: KIRO Newsradio is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its "newsradio" format with a special ...

MyNorthwest Staff

KIRO celebrates 50th anniversary of ‘newsradio’ format with special alumni broadcast

KIRO Newsradio is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its "newsradio" format with a special broadcast featuring several prominent alumni.

9 hours ago

Photo: Police swarm Alderwood Mall in Lynnwood after shooting on July 3....

James Lynch

Police identify 2 girls who were with alleged Alderwood Mall shooter

There are new developments in last week's deadly shooting at Alderwood Mall. Jayda Woods-Johnson, 13, was killed.

9 hours ago

Renton bus crash...

Shawn Garrett, KIRO 7 News

Eight injured after bus crashes into Renton ravine

A bus driver suffered a medical emergency, crashing the bus into a ravine in Renton, injuring eight people on board.

15 hours ago

Tony Delivers provides a local alternate to food delivery in Seattle