ClusterTruck Axes Third Party in Food Delivery Equation

All photos by Susan Post.

Columbus has a lot of food delivery services and a whole lotta food trucks, but only one that combines the concepts in a setup that goes from order to curbside pickup in an average of 21 minutes.

Indianapolis-based ClusterTruck expanded its delivery-only eatery to Downtown Columbus in early October. Founder and serial entrepreneur Chris Baggott leveraged his background in technology to develop a higher-quality, software-driven approach to shuttling eats.

Demand for a high-quality option and a mid-size market put Columbus on the list for expansion, in addition to the fact that, “Columbus is a booming foodie city; it’s starting to blow up,” says ClusterTruck Brand Ambassador RJ Wall.

Besides the basic concept of order food, have it delivered to your location, ClusterTruck turns the rest of the process on its head.

Pizza, tacos, burgers, salads, even breakfast, ClusterTruck puts many kinds of cuisine in one centralized kitchen. Over 100 dishes are available from 11 “trucks” – which makes it great for groups.

Groups of office and hospital workers have been a prime audience for ClusterTruck thus far. The platform makes group order easy. Start a group and a link is produced that can be sent to the rest of the team via whatever communicative channel necessary.

“I never knew I needed that feature in my life until I had it,” Wall says. Individuals can order and even pay separately, but all the food will arrive together.

Whether solo or massive order, eats can be pre-scheduled for delivery up to a week in advance. No need to worry about special instructions, either. Click on a dish and a new window appears with easy check mark modifications for special orders.

Once an order is placed is when the technology really steps in. As Wall explains it, instead of cobbling together the customer order interface, the kitchen’s system and an app for drivers all developed through separate sources, ClusterTruck was designed end to end to work synchronistically.

That’s why you won’t find heat lamps in ClusterTruck’s kitchen. Each item is assigned a cook time and a driver is only pinged for pickup as soon as they are as far away as the longest item takes to cook. It’s out of the fryer/oven/fridge and into a bag and into a car on the way to a diner.

ClusterTruck serves a tight Downtown delivery area covering most of Short North, Downtown, German Village and the near east side – aka anywhere that’s about a 10 minute drive from its kitchen at 342 E. Long St.

The reason for the small area is simple – ClusterTruck is focused on good, quality food.

“If my drivers are driving 15 or 20 minutes, that food is 15 or 20 minutes old,” Wall says. “[The food] should be no more than 10 minutes old by the time it gets to you.”

There’s no hidden charges and drivers aren’t traversing from one side of the city to get pho to the other to get pizza. Drivers drop an order curbside, and there’s no delivery fee for diners, but an option to tip when ordering.

Wall says ClusterTruck has been well-received in the Columbus market, and diners can expect more seasonal items on the menu as they get settled.

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