Cedar Valley Food Runner: Delivery in 2018

A psychology graduate from the University of Northern Iowa utilized business resources in Cedar Falls to start his own business.

The Cedar Valley Food Runner is a restaurant delivery service for the Cedar Valley—Waterloo and Cedar Falls—region. It allows customers to order meals from area restaurants and have it delivered to their home or office.

Jake Beyer was working full time managing a yogurt shop in Cedar Falls when he founded Cedar Valley Food Runner in August of 2016 with a handful of restaurants. He said taking the idea for the Cedar Valley Food Runner through the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center at the University of Northern Iowa helped build out the core business.

“We’re at that stage where we are just trying to pour gasoline on the fire, hiring as many drivers as we can and getting stocked up,” Beyer, 27, says. “We are functioning like a company, evolving out of that startup stage.”

Now Cedar Valley Food Runner has over 50 restaurants signed on for deliveries, a second location in St. Paul, Minn. and another potential location in Iowa.

His partner is Russel Karim, who handles the tech side of Cedar Valley Food Runner.

How it works

For a $3.99 delivery fee, customers go to CVfoodrunner.com and click on the logo for the restaurant they want. Enter an address, order online and track the order.

Operationally, once the order is placed it is sent to a dispatcher where they contact the restaurant. A tablet is provided to each restaurant that receives orders.

“We get a pickup time and send our driver,” Beyer said.

The food is placed in a special bag to keep it warm or cool, depending on the food.

Cedar Valley Food Runner is open seven days a week, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. then 4-9 p.m.

“911 dispatchers were so sick of pizza and Chinese,” Beyer says.

Community impact

He said during the program, each week he would need to present to mentors and other students about what they did to grow their idea. He credited the Pappajohn Center for helping him understand pricing and the core of the business, but also with a name and logo.

Beyer said they’ve also presented at 1 Million Cups.

“Running that yogurt shop, I got a mini business education,” Beyer says. “I fell in love with business and just got lucky to have this come up when it did.”

Beyer said while at the yogurt shop, he wanted to expand and add a delivery option. It wasn’t feasible but it identified a need in the community.

“About six months into this there was like something to this,” Beyer says. “I quit my job and took over this.”