What’s for dinner today? creator James Tonks says he plans to move to Barrie area, focusing on local restaurants
Over the past three years, Innisfil residents have had the luxury of having takeout meals delivered right to their doorstep using the local delivery app. – What’s for dinner today?
The food delivery service app was just an idea that local resident James Tonks and his father came up with while searching for what to eat for dinner.
Since the start of the pandemic, Tonks says customers and users have grown significantly.
“We had a huge increase in activity at the start of the pandemic, and also a lot of new restaurants that joined,” he said.
The idea for the food delivery app came in 2018 from his father who runs the local beer and liquor delivery service, Mr. Delivery.
“We saw in this area that there were no other food delivery apps at the time. Skip the Dishes was only available in major cities,” Tonks said. “We launched the app together. I created the app and he listed the restaurants.”
Tonks graduated in computer science. He started working on the website the summer before graduation and integrated it into the online ordering service.
“It took a few weeks to build the app and download the restaurants as well,” he said.
Tonks and her father run the business full time and employ a handful of delivery drivers in the area.
In the first few weeks of the pandemic when everyone was stuck at home in lockdown, Tonks and her father partnered with the town of Innisfil to offer free shipping to customers.
“Our partnership with the city has really helped triple the business from where it was.… It helped get our name out there,” he said.
2020 has been a stressful year, Tonks added, just with the increase in business and the hiring of many drivers. He was a little worried when competitors Uber Eats and Skip the Dishes entered the market earlier this year, but so far he says business has remained stable.
“I think we already have an established customer base and customers are happy with our service,” he said.
There are 33 Innisfil restaurants that use the app. Tonks says he knows how difficult it has been for restaurant owners to keep afloat during the pandemic, and believes the competitive pricing of his app is helping them reach a wider customer base.
Tonks moved to Innisfil with her family in 2007 from the UK. He says he loves the city and being near the water.
“It’s a nice neighborhood to live in. It’s a good community, with good people. Being near the lake is also nice,” he said.
What’s for dinner today? intends to expand into the Barrie area in the near future, focusing on local restaurants.