Fine Dine-In, the multi-restaurant delivery service, is open again after a Hurricane Ivan-caused hiatus.
The company, which had been operating in Cayman since 1999, could not open immediately after the hurricane in spite of a high demand.
‘There just weren’t any restaurants open,’ said Ken Moore, one of the owners of the company.
By the end of November there were five or six restaurants wanting to participate, so the company reopened for business, he said.
‘We opened up initially for about two weeks, but we were having too much trouble finding drivers,’ said Mr. Moore.
After the holidays, Fine Dine-in was able to find the number of drivers it needed and it reopened 2 January, offering the food of 14 different restaurants within two miles of its offices at the Islander Complex.
Prior to the Hurricane, Fine Dine-in boasted 29 establishments in its restaurant menu book that widely circulated on the island. In the new book, which arrived last week, there are only 22, largely due to the effects of Hurricane Ivan on restaurants.
Still, Fine Dine-In is welcoming three new restaurants to its service; the Lone Star Bar & Grill, Coconut Joes and H.R. Morgan’s, the recently opened restaurant on Mary Street.
Mr. Moore said Fine Dine-in is not affected by the lower numbers of hotel visitors coming to Grand Cayman after the hurricane because most of his business comes from residents.
However Mr. Moore does expect his business to be down about one-third at the start, largely because there are fewer condominium visitors now, and fewer residents.
Mitigating the lower number of residents is the fact that many homeowners still have hurricane repair issues with their kitchens, and a Fine Dine-in delivery gives them an alternative to going out. ‘It’s a time saver for people, and they get great food for about the same cost of cooking in,’ said Mr. Moore.
Fine Dine-In’s menus charge the same price as listed on the respective restaurant’s menu.
The company earns its profit from a $5 delivery charge and from a percentage discount from the restaurant. Drivers earn their money through tips, which is suggested to be between 10 per cent and 15 per cent of the bill.
Besides food, Fine Dine-in customers can order a bottle of wine, cigarettes and even a DVD rental to accompany their meal. ‘We offer dinner and a movie,’ Mr. Moore said, ‘and we only charge $5 for a two-day rental.’
DVDs can either be returned with a future order, or at a drop-off box at the company’s location.
The average wait for an order is 45 minutes, but the time can range between 25 minutes and an hour and five minutes, Mr. Moore said. He admits that most people ‘think with their stomachs’ and do not often call to place orders in advance, something he recommends for faster service.
Fine Dine-in makes deliveries from West Bay to Spotts, and is open from 5.30pm to 10pm, Mr. Moore said. They accept cash, credit and debit cards and even cheques for payment.
‘We don’t get many issues with bad cheques because we know where the people live,’ he said with a laugh.