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Delivery service may expand dining options

This Spring, food delivery options could double for students willing to buy food from restaurants that are not a part of the Merchants on Points program.

Durham Take-Out owner Wes Garrison plans to expand the company’s delivery services to the Duke area by the end of March. The business, which opened in southwest Durham last month, has not yet expanded to an area near Duke, Garrison said.

“We want to build up our numbers in [the Duke area].... We would like to get up to 25 [restaurants] quickly to get a lot of variety,” Garrison said.

The 16 restaurants working with Durham Take-Out in southwest Durham include Sitar Indian Cuisine, Cold Stone Creamery and Mellow Mushroom. Garrison said the company delivers ethnic cuisines as well as traditional southern favorites.

Although Garrison said the business has been trying for the past three months to get into MOP, Director of Dining Services Jim Wulforst said the program is for restaurants, not take-out companies.

Wulforst said MOP typically adds restaurants in the Fall, reducing the likelihood that Garrison’s business will be added this semester.

The selection process begins when students submit a proposal to the Duke University Student Dining Advisory Committee for a restaurant to be added to MOP. If there is a space available and the committee approves the restaurant, it recommends the vendor to Wulforst, who makes the final decision.

In other words, the 25 restaurants Garrison hopes to add to Durham Take-Out would have to be added to MOP on a case-by-case basis.

MOP vendors have a one-year contract, at the end of which the restaurant decides whether to stay on the plan.

Wulforst said the success of businesses on campus should also be considered.

“If the on-campus vendors took a nosedive in sales because we continue to add vendors to our delivery program, it would compromise vendors on campus,” he said.

In Chapel Hill, where Garrison uses the name Tarheel Takeout, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill constitutes 40 percent of the company’s business. But Garrison is determined to expand Durham Take-Out even if food points are not on the table.

“The biggest advantage we offer is variety and our online ordering,” Garrison said.

Some students said, however, that the benefits of this delivery program do not outweigh the cost. Durham Take-Out requires a $10 minimum order and a $5.99 delivery fee. Junior Megan Sherrell, who orders from MOP about twice a month, said she probably would not order from Durham Take-Out, even if it were a part of the program.  

“That sounds a little expensive, especially if I’m ordering by myself,” Sherrell said.

Others, like sophomore Kevin Rutter, said they value taste and variety over food points and money.

“I don’t care [about price] as long as the food’s good,” Rutter said.


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