Boston Delivery Services: A Comparison Between Two Major Companies

Dining In and Night Owl Deliveries are two of the major food delivery services in the Boston area. Dining In has been around for several years and Night Owl is just now making its entrance into the market, as it made its debut delivery only a little less than a year and a half ago. While I have ordered from Dining In several times throughout my six years living in Boston, I have only recently begun using Night Owl Deliveries. However, I feel that I have had enough experience with both services to form an opinion on each of them and as well, compare the two. On that note, Night Owl Deliveries takes the cake, hands down.

Dining In became popular because it was able to deliver food from places like Pizzeria Uno or Vinny Testas, two popular restaurants in the Boston area, that do not deliver on their own. There was always a hefty delivery fee of over $5 at least, but my friends and I were all willing to pay if it meant we could eat from more quality establishments than the local pizza joints and without having to leave the house. This worked out great except for a couple problems. One, Dining In closed (and still closes) around 8pm or 9pm and as a college student then and a twenty-something young professional now, I rarely even think about dinner until around 10:30pm or so. I kept finding that anytime I went to order from Dining In they were already closed. Another problem, which in my opinion is a significant one, was that the customer service was not so good. The operators kept me on hold for long periods of time nearly every time I called and they were curt and seemingly always in a hurry to get to the next customers order. With Dining In I felt like a number.

Quite honestly, I was okay with these problems Dining In had, because as annoying as they were, I still, that is if I made up my mind early enough in the evening, was able to order more gourmet style food.

But then I heard about Night Owl Deliveries and decided to look into them a little further. I admit I was a bit skeptical of the company at first, for it was new and it seemed that its claims were virtually impossible. They advertised (and pretty much promised in interviews I read in the Boston Globe and on a news segment I saw on Fox) that not only would they beat Dining In’s prices no matter what the case may be, but they would also pick up and deliver anything from anywhere. I didn’t think they meant this literally until I saw on the Fox special about them that they get a lot of orders from college students for condoms and adult videos. A couple of my friends have even ordered some of this stuff now and apparently it was delivered right to their door, discreetly handled in a brown paper bag. Not that I would ever be daring enough to order condoms to my door, but Night Owl will deliver any personal items such as ink cartridges, laptop batteries, cell phone chargers, etc for more geeky people like me. Even better, they will deliver until 2am in the morning.

Then, adding to their claim to accommodate just about anyone, they will deliver food from any restaurant in Boston, and will even make multiple stops if necessary for a $1 fee per each extra stop. When I used Dining In, they have a booklet of restaurants that you have to order from and although I will say that their restaurant list has great quality selections, the fact that Night Owl Deliveries has no limitation regarding restaurants is much more appealing. I ordered an ice cream from the Cold Stone Creamery last week and asked them to stop at Starbucks and get me a Frappaccino. When they got to my door 40 minutes later the order was perfect and the ice cream and frozen beverage both were still at a desirable temperature. Even better, they didn’t (and haven’t ever) charge me for utensils, napkins and paper plates, which is something that Dining In does charge for (and I must say, probably makes a ton of money on).

Finally, Night Owl Deliveries beats Dining In in that they are way more up to date with modern technology and communication methods. They must have designed their company, I would presume, specifically for college students because you can actually place your order over AOL Instant Messenger. I’ve never done that but apparently it is a possibility. And the fact that they even thought about that convenient option for their target customers makes me realize that they must really care about providing good customer service and must really want to make the company an innovative one. And the best part about that is that I can only imagine them adding new convenient features to accommodate their customer base as it grows with them.

And so, while Dining In stands alone as a good service, when compared to other ones and to be able to see the possibilities that a delivery company actually can offer and offer successfully, it sort of gets lost in the dust. I, personally now think of it as a service for older people and maybe even I could go as far as to say boring people. Night Owl just has so much more to offer. Although, I will give my disclaimer before I go and give too much praise to Night Owl Deliveries that I recognize that it is indeed a fairly new company and this could very well be one of those situations like (an old service almost identical to Night Owl Deliveries, minus the restaurant orders) where it takes off in the beginning, with the owners so enthusiastic that they forget to budget their bank account appropriately and end up crashing. In other words, Kosmo got too big for its britches. It is likely that Night Owl Deliveries could follow in its footsteps. However, the way things are going now are just perfect for my needs and for the needs of all my acquaintances so I am going to stick with them as long as they are around.

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