Delivering dinner for dough

By Matthew Lee

Jono Wachter’s ’11 cell phone rings as he drove on San Vicente Boulevard. The caller, a friend of his mother, wants one chicken sandini and a large cheese pizza from Patty’s Pizza in Santa Monica. Wachter repeats the order while his partner, Chris Blackwell writes down the order in his notebook. Within one hour, the food is delivered by Wachter and Blackwell to the caller’s home.

During the summer, Wachter picked up and delivered food for his own friends and his parents’ friends and charged a service fee for each delivery.

“As soon as I was finished with my last final exam, I knew what I wanted to do with my time over the summer,” Wachter said, “I wanted to earn my own money.”

Blackwell attended Harvard-Westlake for seventh and eighth grade, then went to England for boarding school for one year before moving to Jamaica to live with his father. Wachter and Blackwell have been contacting each other through e-mail for the past years.

“When I heard that Chris was coming to town for the summer, I knew I was going to run some sort of business with him as my partner,” Wachter said.

The two friends got the idea from the business LA Bite, which takes food orders from people and delivers the food to their homes. Wachter and Blackwell decided that they could make money by offering the same services as LA Bite does and charging a fee to make a profit.

To gain a pool of customers, Wachter and Blackwell obtained the e-mail addresses and phone numbers of their parents’ friends and notified them all of their new service. Blackwell said that within a day of sending out the notifications, people began to call to use the delivery service.

Most of their customers were friends of their parents and most deliveries were to Westwood, Brentwood, Pacific Palisades, Bel Air and Santa Monica. The average fee, based on the distance they traveled, was $10, he said.

From the beginning of July to the end of August, Blackwell and Wachter each made about $400. Wachter used his money to buy an African djembe drum, and Blackwell said that he saved the money that he earned.