Penn foodies now have more options when bringing gourmet grub to the comfort of home.
DiningIn — an online restaurant ordering and delivery service — recently announced a partnership with four more restaurants owned by celebrity restaurateur Stephen Starr.
About three years ago Starr, who owns 14 restaurants in Philadelphia, joined with DiningIn to provide delivery from Jones, Pod and El Vez restaurants, according to CEO and founder of DiningIn Michael Hackel.
After Starr saw the success of the service, he signed on for Alma de Cuba, Butcher and Singer, Continental Mid-town and Buddakan, “provided that it was marketed for Starr restaurants,” said Randi Sirkin, director of creative services for Starr Restaurants.
“We are included in their big umbrella, but we are also promoted exclusively,” Sirkin said.
“Stephen Starr is fanatical about product integrity, so he tested us to ensure that we would be consistent,” Hackel said.
“They were able to convince me that they could assure quality,” Starr said.
Starr added that he decided to make this business partnership during the recession.
“I felt we needed to do as much as possible to get our revenues back up,” he said.
To order from one of the seven Starr restaurants on diningin.com, customers must order from within a local zip code and reach a $15 minimum with a delivery fee of $4.99. For non-Starr restaurants, the delivery fee is $6.99.
“That sounds like Campusfood,” said College junior Evelyn Jaworski, referring to the campus order and delivery service, campusfood.com.
On campusfood.com, customers must also pay a $15 minimum and a delivery fee of $4.99 for Starr restaurants.
DiningIn offers a special in which every week, the delivery fee for one Starr restaurant will be reduced to $2.99.
So far the special has enjoyed “unbelievable” success, Hackel said. “$2.99 to have food brought to your dorm, versus the same old same old?”
Hackel added that when comparing the cost of DiningIn to a cab fare, DiningIn is a “substantially better” option.
“Most people, when they think of college, they think of Chinese food,” Hackel said, emphasizing that quality meals from DiningIn can substitute typical college fare.
Fans of Starr restaurants can look forward to a future establishments in West Philadelphia.
Starr said he is considering opening an Italian restaurant in West Philadelphia. He also plans to open two pizza shops, one in West Philadelphia and the other in Rittenhouse Square.
The Starr pizza shop would be “a traditional take out and delivery” with “real thin” and “excellent” pizza, according to Starr.
“I think it’s going to be slightly revolutionary for Philly,” Starr said. “It’s hard to find good pizza in Philly.”
DiningIn started in Boston in 1988 and expanded to Philly in 2002, according to Hackel.
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