El Rancho Exterior

El Rancho is one of the restaurants Cruisin Delights offers delivery service for in Rim Country.

Mario Barraza wanted to see if he could supplement his income by driving people to their destinations, like Uber and Lyft drivers.

Then a customer asked if he’d drive to Alfonso’s, pick up his food order and deliver it to his house. Barraza said a light bulb went off in his head. Besides pizza delivery, there were no other food delivery options in Payson and Rim Country.

“I knew the guy at Alfonso’s and he said, ‘If you start a delivery service, we’ll be the first restaurant you deliver for,’” Barraza said. “So I did some research and about four months later we were up and running.”

It’s now been just over two years since Barraza started Cruisin Delights. He and two other drivers deliver food to Rim Country residents from seven restaurants — Alfonso’s, El Rancho, Culture Crepe, Native Grill & Wings and Mandarin House.

“We’re always adding more,” he said. “The new chicken place in Payson Marketplace, Krispy Krunchy Chicken, expressed an interest in wanting us to deliver. They’re supposed to open this month.”

The delivery fee is $5 for Payson, $6 for Star Valley and Mesa del and $7 for Round Valley, Diamond Point and East Verde Estates.

The delivery fee is the same for all the restaurants they contract with, which is the five listed. He said they will also deliver food from Subway and Wendy’s with a small service fee added.

Food delivery services like Uber Eats, DoorDash and Postmates have exploded over the past few years. But none of them operate in Rim Country.

Barraza said rumors have circulated that at least one of them may expand to Payson, but he’s confident his company will continue to grow because he says they don’t charge restaurants as much as those companies.

“My rates are cheaper for the restaurant so I don’t believe there’d be too much competition,” he said. “When we contract with a restaurant we charge them 15% of the food cost for delivery to provide a delivery service for them. The others charge like 20% or more.

“So, I think we’re going to be here for a while. We’re always adding more restaurants and fast-food places to our list.”

He said Cruisin Delights averages 20 to 30 deliveries a day. “And that’s increasing every day as people find out there’s delivery service in Payson.”

They deliver from the time a restaurant opens until an hour before it closes.

“We start as early as 8 a.m. and stop usually at about 8 p.m. during the winter and 9 p.m. during the summer because restaurants stay open an hour later.”

Barraza has lived in Payson for about 21 years. He’s been The Arizona Republic’s assistant manager for circulation in Payson for the last 11 years.

His wife, Desiree Greenberg, works with him accepting orders and sending them on to drivers.

To order from a restaurant they serve, download the FoodBooking app for iPhone, the Cruisin Delights for Android phones or visit Cruisin Delights website, https://www.cruisindelights.com/.

One of those businesses working with Cruisin Delights is El Rancho.

El Rancho general manager Heather Watson said they’ve offered the delivery service since Cruisin Delights opened. She said during their busy season from April or May through September, they probably average three or four orders on weekdays and seven or eight on weekends.

Contact the reporter at kmorris@payson.com

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