Money doesn’t grow on trees, but it can appear out of thin air if you download the right apps. In early March, Larry Olsen—the owner of Boss Hawg’s Bar ‘N’ Grill, The Daily Double Sports Bar and The Magic Inn—hit the jackpot when he decided to be one of the first Gateway businessmen to collaborate with UberEATS.
“I’ve had over 300 deliveries in 14 days,” says Olsen, still stunned with his success. “That’s business I’ve never had. It’s expensive to make the food, but when you average it out, it’s free money. I made $3,000 in sales in two weeks.”
Surprisingly, Olsen claims that UberEATS sought him out, as opposed to the other way around. Having only launched in November, UberEATS is derived from a simple (if not original) formula.
A customer picks up their phone, places an order on the UberEATS app, and then a designated Uber driver picks the food up from the selected restaurant and hand-delivers it to the customer on their doorstep.
Fortunately for Olsen, not many restaurants in the Gateway area are currently partnered with the app. This has allowed him near-exclusive access to a lucrative, untapped market. The only drawback Olsen has noticed is that his cook isn’t used to whipping up such a high volume of food.
Breaking down the numbers, Olsen pays $3 a delivery and 90 cents a mile out of his own pocket. The maximum range for UberEATS drivers to reach his bars is five miles, but Olsen can adjust his own parameters. He notes that the current five-mile radius is subject to change.
Boss Hawg’s Bar ‘N’ Grill, Olsen’s principal restaurant in Gateway on Northeast 102nd Avenue, has been under his command for 10 years. He’s also owned The Daily Double, 1607 N.E. 162nd Ave., for a decade, and he recently acquired The Magic Inn, 619 S.E. 122nd Ave., but the business itself has been open since the 1970s.
UberEATS is a stroke of luck for Olsen after some disheartening happenings that occurred over the latter half of last year. One of Olsen’s four businesses, Mr. Dealer’s Double Up Café at 12306 S.E. Powell Blvd., saw shattered windows over the summer due to gang violence. Ultimately, the ongoing calamity was overwhelming business, and Mr. Dealer’s was forced to close its doors.
“The landlord questioned me heavily about why I wouldn’t sell the business,” explains Olsen, who grew up near Mt. Tabor. “But I didn’t want to sell it because I didn’t want to close it. It was just in a bad part of town with lots of shootings.”
In response, Olsen became something of a night owl. He spent a small fortune installing heavy-duty security cameras all over each of his businesses, hoping to capture roaming street crime. He is in constant communication with local police and regularly submits video material to state courtrooms.
Due to his many sleepless nights, Mr. Dealer’s patrons might be taken aback upon hearing Olsen’s latest venture. He is considering becoming the first business owner from his neighborhood to offer food for 24/7 pickup.
“I want to keep Boss Hawg’s open 24/7,” says Olsen. “Basically, everything closes between 8 and 10 p.m., and we have police who work all hours, as well as hospital staff. They’re just as important as anybody else, and they deserve more than a bagged lunch or a cold meal. Sometimes, these people don’t even get Christmas off. We would have hot food for them.”
Transitioning Boss Hawg’s into a 24-hour affair is not as complicated as one might expect. All Olsen would have to do is restructure morning employee activities and rotate some hours. Essentially, he would need somebody to watch the backdoor until sunrise.
“There will be a doorbell the driver can ring, and we’ll come out and give him the food,” says Olsen, who is less worried about late-night crime with UberEATS. “There’s no money or credit cards exchanged. It’s all computer-based.”
Olsen is hopeful that one of his staff members will willingly switch and get off at 7:30 a.m., as opposed to 2:30 a.m., to cover the proposed graveyard shift.
Olsen believes that his 24/7 gamble may even culminate in fewer instances of drunk driving. He discourages neighbors from making the mistake of going to Taco Bell, which he believes to be subpar when considering his own Taco Tuesdays. He offers fresh, hand-picked ingredients at a discounted price.
“My tacos are actually chicken or beef,” says Olsen. “Who knows what’s in Taco Bell’s meat these days?”
If Olsen has any advice for fellow business owners who have shrugged at the notion of UberEATS thus far, it’s this: “Don’t look at what it costs. It’s expensive, but when you take the average, you can’t look at one or two weeks; you need to look at the six-month average. With UberEATS, you don’t have to worry about labor or rent. That’s already taken care of. Just focus on the food costs, as your customers aren’t using your toiletries or table napkins while they’re sitting at home.”
Olsen relays solid advice, but for the sake of his own unforeseen windfall, he probably prefers that his competition not follow it.
For more information about Boss Hawg’s Bar ‘N’ Grill, call 503-252-4647 or visit www.bosshawgsbarandgrill.com or its Facebook page.