Food Taxi safely delivers to Petaluma restaurants
Petaluma Food Taxi is finally filling a need that many have been looking for — a locally owned delivery service that concentrates on partnerships with Petaluma’s mom and pop restaurants.
Founder Mike Loubert has been a wealth of local knowledge in helping Petaluma Food Taxi’s relaunch under the management of new owners Nick Gordon and Kiko Rodriguez.
Nick is a Boston native who moved to Petaluma in 2002. Two years later, he helped a friend start a delivery service in Marin called Dine-In Marin, which he would eventually purchase in 2019.
No stranger to Petaluma Food Taxi, Nick had been a customer prior to purchasing the company from the Louberts in August 2019. Wanting to rebrand and restructure the company, Nick closed down for the rest of the year and reopened in 2020, just a month or two prior to the current shelter in place order. The fact that he has been able to ramp up so quickly and not just uphold, but exceed customer service expectations says a lot about his approach to the business and his understanding of our uniquely close-knit and supportive community.
“I couldn’t do it without Kiko,” Nick said about his partner Kiko Rodriguez. “He’s a local boy, from Novato, and started with me as a driver. He is finishing up at Sonoma State in finance and I didn’t want to lose the special value he brings to the table, so I offered him an ownership interest. In 20 years of this, Kiko is the best employee I’ve ever had so wanted to make sure he’d stay.”
Kiko handles a lot of the office work, freeing up Nick to develop and strengthen relationships with local restaurants.
One thing customers will notice upon visiting Petaluma Food Taxi’s website is that there are no fast food chain listings.
“We know everyone has their guilty pleasures,” Nick said. “But we’ll leave those to the other guys. We are local and so aiming to serve customers that want to take advantage of all the great local food options that Petaluma has to offer.”
Restaurant say Petaluma Food Taxi offers a more well balanced partnership than other delivery services, which helps explain how in just the past month, PFT has almost doubled its offerings. With restaurant margins being very tight to begin with, the pickup-side fees being charged behind the scenes have been a hurdle to many restaurants signing up for delivery services.
Typically, delivery services charge the restaurant between 25% to 30%, plus credit card fees, which makes the prospect a money loser for most. Petaluma Food Taxi only charges 15% to 20%, including credit card fees, which brings the total for the restaurants right in around 18%. PFT also does not have any hidden fees nor do they mark up the food, as other delivery services sometimes do.
“Pongo’s signed up with them pre-virus and had a chance to get settled in before this whole thing started,” Pongo’s co-owner Kathleen Rose Stafford said. “I can say that Nick is so responsive to updates on menus (and there has been a ton of updates), calling customers back through these times of limited menus and updating his drivers on changes in pick up. I can’t say enough about this service.”
The Shuckery’s Jazmine Lalicker complemented those sentiments.