Business

GrubRuners run errands, bring lunch in Tri-Cities

Your stomach's growling but the work's piled up and there's no possibility of running out for a quick bite.

You can tough it out and let the tiger in your belly growl, hit the vending machines or call Jenny Hart at GrubRuners.

GrubRuners is the brainchild of Hart's husband, James.

"It's a service for people who get too busy with work and can't get out for a lunch or dinner break," Hart said.

For a fee, she will go to the restaurant of your choice, order the meal you want and then deliver it.

"Big cities have this type of service," she said, "but it costs more, closer to $10. We wanted to keep our fees reasonable so most runs are a flat $7 fee." That's in addition to the cost of the meal, of course.

The $7 fee applies to deliveries up to $99, and the charge for orders $100 and over is 15 percent. For each additional stop it is $2.50.

Hart opened her phone line six weeks ago and began spreading the word that she was available for grub runs.

"I've had quite a few orders, but I feel they were more testing me to see if I'm legit," she said. "A lot of times people will call because they're curious and want to know if I'll really pick up lunch or dinner anywhere they want."

Hart knows what it's like to skip meals.

Before James was transferred from Boise to the Tri-Cities, she worked as a hairdresser. There were many days when she was slammed, working from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. without a break.

"Too often my lunch was something out of the vending machine," she said.

Hart said she can deliver take-out to just one person or a group. She'll even make a couple of stops for an extra fee -- for example, if some in the group want pizza and the others Chinese.

"I try and be convenient for all as much as possible," she said.

Hart said she's working to partner with diner2door.com, a national online service that posts menus from member restaurants and helps with online ordering. She would be its delivery service in the Tri-Cities.

Her service area is limited to the Tri-Cities and West Richland. If there's greater demand she'll consider expanding and adding employees.

Food isn't all that Hart's willing to pick up and deliver. She'll fetch dry cleaning, car parts, groceries or whatever else that she can get.

But one exception: "I'm not a cab," she said. "I don't pick up and deliver people."

Hours are from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 11 a.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday. Contact her at 509-591-8313 or via the website, www.grubruners.com.

-- Loretto J. Hulse: 509-582-1513; lhulse@tricityherald.com; more food news at www.tricityherald.com/lifestyles/food.

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