Columbus cyclist finds niche market in food delivery that helps Central Ohio restaurants
In the increasingly complex—and valuable—world of restaurant delivery, Bound Couriers is proving the straightest and shortest route is still the best.
Jaedon Nauriyal started Bound in 2019 as a way to streamline food delivery for both restaurants and customers by keeping the process local and personal, cutting through some of the layers of complexity that result from third-party platforms like GrubHub, UberEats, and Postmates, and other impersonal, often out-of-town online vendors. Many customers don’t even notice these layers when ordering online, Nauriyal said, but the process matters on both ends of the delivery.
“People care about where they’re getting their food from and what they’re ordering, not who’s delivering it,” Nauriyal said. “But (Bound) is built off of relationships. I thought we could make delivery better for the restaurants, the riders and the customers.”
Nauriyal, 25, has seen food delivery from multiple vantage points. After working in the kitchen of a downtown eatery for five years, he did delivery through third-party vendors. Convinced he could provide a more reliable service at lower fees than those charged by most platforms, he set up Bound to be “like a cooperative,” he said, a worker-owned team of riders that has increased from two at start-up to six currently riding with Bound.
“We work almost like an in-house delivery service,” Nauriyal said.
At rates approximately half of the 30 percent often charged by many third parties, fees that come out of the restaurants’ price for each order, Bound benefits restaurant owners. And with 100 percent of the fee going to the deliverer, it’s a more equitable proposition for riders as well.
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The company delivers food throughout downtown Columbus and its adjacent neighborhoods like Short North, Olde Towne East, Franklinton, and German Village, from restaurants in essentially the same area. Bound clients include Brown Bag Deli, Cravings Cafe, Market 65, Lexi’s On Third, Law Bird, Dirty Frank’s Hot Dog Palace, Hai Poke, Poke Bros. and more.
“(Jaedon) just stopped in and introduced himself. We’d never used a third-party delivery service—I’ve been kind of anti-third-party since we opened,” Matt Tewanger of downtown’s Cravings Cafe said. “We’re a small, local company, the kind where customers who come in know you by name. Because he’s small and local, he can mirror that same kind of customer service. And, I work with Jaedon one-on-one.”
Molly Pesich of Brown Bag Deli in German Village agreed with that sentiment.
“We’re very like-minded, and that’s a big part of the relationship,” Pesich said. “Delivery is an important piece of the puzzle. Jaedon is able to make sure the order is received, assure the customer is happy, and work directly with us if there’s an issue. Customers want the food, but they also want to know they’re going to be taken care of.”
Of course, online ordering with delivery still requires the technology to make it work. But Nauriyal has worked to take as much of that hassle away from the restaurants as possible and offers links directly to their online ordering through boundcouriers.com.
And in 2020, with the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic dramatically impacting dine-in receipts, delivery has taken on a new importance.
“There are a lot of places that are not offering dine-in right now. Having not just delivery, but reliable delivery that cuts through a lot of the extra work and doesn’t gouge the restaurants is more important than ever,” Nauriyal said.
“We started with Jaedon right before (shutdowns and restrictions due to) COVID. We didn’t know all of this was going to happen,” Pesich said. “So on one hand, it’s been difficult but we’ve been able to build some things, to expand a little further, with (Nauriyal). We’re definitely getting orders we wouldn’t be getting, and that’s important in this time.”
Nauriyal said his strengths in working with Columbus businesses are his organizational skills and his commitment to working local.
“People love these restaurants,” said Nauriyal. “My number one goal has been to get their food to the people who want it.”