Knowledge Center

Dining Delivery Support Program

In response to the economic strain that Covid-19 placed on businesses in the spring of 2020, The Fort Wayne Downtown Improvement District (D.I.D.) was searching for ways to help keep downtown restaurants in business while operating within the bounds of the safety restrictions we were experiencing. Because dine in options were severely limited and later eliminated, one of the only ways that these establishments could maintain cash flow and continue to employ staff, was to emphasize pickup and delivery options. This sparked an idea to partner with a local downtown delivery company Waiter on the Way. After some initial coordination, D.I.D. agreed to put forward an initial sum of $12,500 to pilot a free delivery program whereby people who utilized Waiter on the Way to have food delivered from a downtown restaurant would receive free delivery on their order within 5 square miles of that restaurant.

The partners also established a “”Virtual Tip Jar” whereby customers could make donations to the staff of individual restaurants, that were then sent to those restaurants for their staff undiminished. The pilot program was a huge success, with restaurants reporting anywhere from a 200% – 400% increase in deliveries through the partnership. Based upon this success, the City of Fort Wayne approached D.I.D. to extend these services to every restaurant who signed on to participate within the City limits from October 1 – December 31st, 2020.

The city-wide expansion presented some challenges, mainly in upscaling the number of staff at Waiter on the Way to the levels at which they could fulfill the volume of orders they were receiving. We addressed these challenges with marketing support, driver incentivizing, and the creation of an impromptu “job fair” which allowed the company to add more drivers and administrative support staff to meet the demands of the market.

Project Details

Dining Delivery Support Program

Fort Wayne Downtown Improvement District


Economic Development
$600001 - $1000000
Fort Wayne