At least 16 Tampa Bay restaurants are ditching partnerships with major delivery apps and switching to a local alternative.
LoCo, a food delivery cooperative with franchises across the country, is now local, and it’s looking to disrupt an industry dominated by companies like Uber Eats and DoorDash.
While using an app that functions similarly to big-name delivery companies, LoCo’s cooperative model allows businesses to buy into the program, and charges 17 percent commission for deliveries. Most other companies charge between 20 and 30 percent.
Mike Magee, an owner and partner in LoCo, is responsible for bringing the platform to Tampa Bay.
The entrepreneur owned and ran the Washington, D.C. branch of Cater Nation, an online-based corporate catering service, for years. But after seeing LoCo’s success in cities like Iowa City and Fort Collins, Magee saw his chance to help small businesses take ownership of their deliveries.
“Not only could we provide a better service for our customers, we could help the restaurants grow,” he said.
Magee started planning his own LoCo franchise, and decided Tampa Bay was the best region to launch it in. “I just fell in love with the place,” he said. “… it’s kind of local but it’s kind of a big city at the same time.”
The new franchise owner moved down in spring of 2020, and began developing his own wing of the growing cooperative that he claims will free businesses from delivery apps that “make money off the back of independents.”
With LoCo, restaurateurs are encouraged to buy shares of the company when they sign on. Then, they are set up through the LoCo app using provided tablets, or through their existing point-of-sale system, to begin taking orders and hiring drivers.
All operations are managed locally by staff who live in their franchise’s region.
Jon LaBudde, co-owner of The Big Catch and Buya Ramen, said in the release that he supports the LoCo model because of its low rates and local focus.
“With LoCo Tampa Bay, we can thrive with lower commissions and better customer service, and all the money stays in town,” he said.
Over the next few months, the cooperative will add a catering component to its platform, and Magee says he plans on organizing multiple events to give back to the community.
The LoCo Co-op app is currently available on the App Store and Google Play for consumers, and interested businesses can apply to join the delivery co-op here.