Manivela delivers food to your door, by bike

DSCN5182At first, Matthew Reate doesn’t seem like the owner and co-founder of one of San Diego’s newest and most exciting bike businesses. Young, unassuming, and soft-spoken, Reate started Manivela Delivery in July to fill a unique niche in San Diego’s food delivery industry.  After noticing that few San Diego restaurants offered delivery, Reate decided that his service would be available to pick up food from any restaurant within a four-zone area, and deliver it to your door, all by bicycle.

Bike San Diego sat down with Reate recently to learn more about Manivela:

BikeSD: What inspired the idea of a bicycle-based food delivery service?

Reate: I was laid off from my retail job as a manager in the beginning of the year. I spent a while on unemployment and was getting frustrated with job hunting. I thought about what skills I had to offer and bicycle riding was one. I started reading blogs about bicycle-related jobs and businesses and thought “why not me?” You can deliver a lot of things on bicycles but food is where I found a gap in service. Food delivery in San Diego is fairly limited to pizza and Chinese and its all done by car. I already frequently made late night burrito runs on my bike for myself, so I thought why not other kinds of food? I also knew that with San Diego traffic a rider could get from one place to another as fast or quicker than a car.

BikeSD: What kind of response have you had so far from customers? Restaurants?

Reate: The customers who have been ordering are stoked and very appreciative. We have a couple frequent customers now who are taking full advantage. Most of the restaurants we have been delivering from are excited and think its a great idea, and they love not having to hire a delivery person. Right now, there are four restaurants that we deliver for exclusively: Pokez, The Alchemy, The Linkery and The Sea Rocket Bistro.

BikeSD: How many riders do you currently employ? Are you hiring?

Reate: There are four of us running the whole operation right now. I dispatch a lot and deliver fairly often too. We have had a ton of people interested in riding for us, usually receiving four applications a day. Once the orders start picking up more we will begin interviewing for more riders.

BikeSD: What challenges have you and your riders encountered?

Reate: Our baskets are taking quite a beating out there. The streets of San Diego are in need of some TLC. We have designed and made a custom pizza rack that sits above our handlebars to stay steady. Everyday we are learning.

BikeSD: What can customers expect when they place an order with you?

Reate: They can expect honesty. We handle your food with care while doing something we love, riding bicycles. We want to see San Diego develop into a working cycle city so we make sure our customers are satisfied. Your food will be hot and so will your rider from riding across town. Our riders put in a lot of energy to make sure this idea and company continue to grow.

At the moment, Reate says Manivela is handling about forty orders per week, most of those on weekends, and he expects that business will continue to increase as word spreads.  He adds that his riders will also pick up the odd non-food item from the store, too. “We’ll even pick up diapers for you, if that’s what you need.”

For more about Manivela, and to place an order, visit their website.

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