Do Yourself a Favor, Texans: Favor Delivery Service Now Available in Houston
Austin, TX — January 19th, 2014 — Favor, the mobile app that allows you to have anything you crave delivered, is extending its Texas stronghold to include Houston. The app, which was developed by entrepreneurs and former pizza delivery guys, Zac Maurais and Ben Doherty, makes ordering your favorite food as simple as tapping a button.
Favor has gained a significant consumer base in Austin, where it first launched in June 2013 and now employees over 700 tuxedo-t-shirt wearing runners across Austin, Dallas & Boston — and now Houston. The app connects customers to drivers, who will pick up anything, from queso to video games, in under an hour.
At a time when most start-ups are choosing to automate — taking the human error factor out of the mix, at Favor, people are vital to the process. The algorithm is built to support the runners, not the other way around.
“The Favor Runners (drivers and bikers) are the face of the company,” says Zac Maurais. “We’ve engineered the tools to optimize the delivery process. Runners receive directions, details about the orders, and can communicate directly with customers.”
Runners converse with consumers via text message to let them know approximate wait times or if an item is not available, providing instant customer service and — as their 95 percent approval rating indicates — satisfaction.
“I think it’s important to stay human, to empower our drivers and make the service personable,” says Ben Doherty. “There’s something special about having these one-on-one conversations happen. Our Favor Runners work as your personal assistant. They each have their own ways of building a relationship in a short amount of time.”
Maurais and Doherty grew up together in New Hampshire. The pair developed Favor’s pilot app in Doherty’s alma mater, California Polytechnic State University, before relocating to Austin after a cross country trip. Like many Texas transplants, they were won over by the barbeque, music and the warmth of the local people.
“Most consumer start-ups feel like they need to be based in San Francisco to succeed,” says Maurais. “We’re a testimony to the fact that it’s possible to build a high growth company in Texas. The people here have been so welcoming and helpful. When we got started in Austin last summer, The University of Texas opened its doors and offered us office space at ATI.”
“Since we launched in Dallas in November we’ve seen the effect of our local network,” says Doherty “Everyone has a friend in Dallas and Houston. Word of mouth is a huge driving force for Favor.”
While Texas has a wealth of fantastic food options, until now there hasn’t been a strong food delivery culture. Since launching in 2013, Favor brought local businesses $4.5M in additional sales revenue. The app has proved most popular with young professionals, foodies and college students eager to have their favorite foods delivered right to their door.
Initially, the app will service the Downtown, Rice Village, Midtown and Medical Center areas of Houston (Favordelivery.com/map/houston/) from 11.am. — 9 p.m. every day.
To celebrate their launch in Houston, Favor will be giving all first-time customers a free delivery. Use promo code “CLUTCH” on checkout to waive your $6 delivery fee. Customers in Dallas can share their invite codes with friends to both give and earn free deliveries.
The app, which is also available in Boston, plans to expand aggressively across the country in 2015. Favor is backed by Tim Draper and Austin venture capitalists at Silverton Partners.
“It’s amazing to see the system we’ve built from scratch being used by so many people,” says Maurais. “In Austin, nearly anywhere you go for dinner or lunch, you’ll see a Favor Runner picking up food in their blue tuxedo shirt. We’ve already came a long way, but we feel we’re just getting started. Eventually, we want everyone to think of Favor before picking up their keys.”