Friday, November 4, 2016

Little Rock gets in on the delivery-only restaurant trend with Dayjenay

Posted By on Fri, Nov 4, 2016 at 1:48 PM

Vietnamese Salmon Noodle Bowl - COURTESY DAYJENAY
  • Courtesy Dayjenay
  • Vietnamese Salmon Noodle Bowl

There's a new lunch option for folks who work in downtown Little Rock and North Little Rock and don't have time to venture out. It's called Dayjenay, which is the phonetic spelling of dejeuner, the French word for lunch. From 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, the service offers two lunch options in the $10 to $12 price range that you order at dayjenay.com. Delivery "in about 20 minutes" is free. Dayjenay describes its food as "healthy," "clean" and "filling." Past menu items include a blackened chicken and andouille sausage po boy, blackened mahi mahi fish tacos, hummus crusted baked salmon, pulled pork quesadillas and a Vietnamese salmon noodle bowl (pictured above).

Chef Paul Novicky, of Spaule and Nu Cuisine fame, who's lately been consulting and overseeing school lunch programs at private schools, is behind the venture along with Bourbon and Boots founder Matt Price. Delivery is currently limited to downtown Little Rock, Argenta, Riverdale and the UAMS campus, but Price said he expects to expand that to Hillcrest and the Heights and expand service to Monday through Friday soon.

Delivery-only restaurants have gotten some attention in recent months. Celebrity chef David Chang's Ando recently took $7 million in venture capital funding.

From a New York Times story on Chang's venture:

Last year, venture investors poured more than $4 billion into food delivery start-ups globally, according to the reseach firm CB Insights. Several delivery-only restaurants sprouted in American cities with the promise of saving owners money by requiring less square footage and removing the need for waiters. Mr. Chang said he could use those savings to pay his cooks more. But some start-ups have struggled. A San Francisco service called SpoonRocket went out of business last spring. Others, like Munchery in New York, San Francisco and other cities, have slowed.

“If you don’t achieve high volume and scale, all the savings of ditching the dining room go away,” said Venky Ganesan, a managing director at Menlo Ventures and an investor in Munchery. “Food is a lot tougher than it looks.”

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