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Beyond Pizza: Exotic Ethnic Foods Delivered

December 21, 1986|RAMIN ZAHED | Zahed, a graduate of Amherst, is a Calendar intern.

Osho: (213) 271-2888.

Angeli: (213) 936-9867.

Pink Panda: (213) 460-6868.

Chin Chin: (213) 652-1818.

Canard de Bombay: (213 ) 852-0095.

India's Oven: (213) 936-1000 .

There was a time when the only food you could have delivered to your door was pizza, sweet-and-sour chicken or a huge pastrami sandwich. Things have changed. These days quality comes to you. Now you can come home from a hard day's work and order all manner of exotic dishes delivered almost to your table.

We have independent companies like Food Movers and Food on the Move to thank for that. Mitch Cohen, founder and owner of Food on the Move, was working as a delivery boy for Jacopo's pizzeria in Beverly Hills when he first got the idea for his service.

"People had little choice when they wanted food delivered to their homes," says Cohen, who started the business with only $1,000 as capital. "One day it dawned on me that I was delivering to the same people over and over, sometimes three or four times a week. When I asked them if they would like other kinds of food to be delivered, they said yes."

With that encouragement, Cohen approached the managers of Osho, a Beverly Hills Japanese eatery. When they said yes to his scheme, Cohen talked to the owners of Canard de Bombay, India's Oven, Angeli and the Pink Panda. One by one they signed up for his delivery services.

"Delivery is simpler and more efficient with an independent moving company," says Dean Gold, manager of Angeli, for whom Food on the Move has been delivering since April of 1985. It is also less expensive for the restaurants, which need not invest in a fleet of trucks nor pay deliverymen or parking tickets. With Food on the Move there is only a fee paid by the restaurant based on a percentage of sales.

But Food on the Move does not have the market to itself. Food Movers is following close behind. Founded by Howard Cole, who at one time worked with Cohen delivering pizzas for Jacopo's and then went to work for Cohen, Food Movers has branched out to cover the Santa Monica and Brentwood area. Currently, Food Movers delivers for the Pink Panda and Chin Chin at San Vicente Plaza in Brentwood. The new company also distributes flyers or take-out menus and solicits business for the restaurants.

With these new services, a hungry home consumer can order Tandoori chicken a la Canard de Bombay, Osho's sashimi, fried won-ton from Pink Panda or Angeli's lasagna for the same prices on the restaurants' menus. A customary 10 to 20% tip--which would have gone to the waiter, had one chosen to eat at the restaurant--is usually given to the deliverers.

Cole notes that although the idea of exotic food delivery is quite new, there are already similar operations in Boston and Chicago. Yet the irony is that despite all the new ethnic edibles available for delivery, Cole says pizza is still the best-selling item.

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