By Alex Robinson
Two years ago James Chen was struck by the fact there were few Flushing restaurants that offered online ordering services.
Determined to fill this void, Chen started FlushingFood.com, a website that allows customers to order from Flushing’s plethora of restaurants from the comfort of their own couch.
“It doesn’t cost anything to generate new business,” Chen said. “The best part of it is that it’s free advertising. People will find out there are new restaurants.”
It costs nothing for restaurants to sign up for the service and the website handles all credit card fees. The only cost the service poses for restaurants is a 15 percent fee for each delivery.
Chen maintains the difference between his website and other online restaurant services, like grubhub.com, is that his provides restaurants with delivery drivers. Some restaurants that are signed up with FlushingFood.com and more established websites have told Chen his website has generated more business for them.
“It’s a different format and it’s a niche market here,” Chen said.
FlushingFood.com has seven drivers who deliver throughout Flushing, College Point and some parts of Whitestone.
The website has a $10 minimum order on deliveries and currently has 45 restaurants listed.
FlushingFood.com also provides restaurants, many of which do not have their own websites, an online platform to advertise on.
Chen said the website has also generated business for restaurants by helping them tap into younger generations.
“Roughly 80 percent of our customers are 35 and younger,” Chen said. “It’s hard to reach out to them in traditional ways, so we reach out to them online.”
The website has applications for both iPhone and Android smartphones.
A large majority of the restaurants listed on the website are Asian, but there also a few American chains such as Subway and Five Guys Burgers and Fries that have signed up.
Chen, who has lived in Flushing for 20 years and is originally from Taiwan, operates the website out of his printing business, GW Printing, in downtown Flushing.
The website launched in September and has seen an increase in business every month, Chen said.
He said he hopes to have 100 to 150 restaurants signed up for the service by the website’s first anniversary.
“The restaurants that started with us are very happy with the business generated through our website,” Chen said. “It’s helping their business significantly.”
Reach reporter Alex Robinson by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4566.