CAMBRIDGE -- A Cambridge man is working to deliver a cost effective solution for local restaurants.

It’s called TOAD, which stands for Takeout And Delivery.

“I just found that there was a niche for someone to help out the smaller local companies, give them the tools that they need,” TOAD founder Rob Puschelberg said.

Owner of The Country Girl restaurant in Cambridge, Edward Magella, says the service helps him save money.

“The other applications, they do take a big part of our sales," he said.

Puschelberg said he has designed the program on a shoestring budget in order to keep fees low for both restaurants and customers.

TOAD’s only fee to either the restaurant or the consumer is for delivery. The delivery fee can differ per restaurant, because some owners absorb a portion of that fee to appeal to the customer. Some restaurants even absorb the entire delivery free with a minimum order.  

Puschelberg said that is the only cost and restaurants are not charged a commission for each order, which is how most of the larger delivery apps work.

At the moment, orders can be made through the TOAD website or by calling a participating restaurant and asking for a TOAD delivery. Puschelberg said he is currently working with local tech partners to develop a mobile application which will be available in the app store for both Apple and Android devices within the next few weeks.

“The third-party companies charge a commission on all of their rates for small businesses. They have been great because they have lowered their commission rates during this trying time, but obviously we still have to pay them a fair bit of commission,” bookkeeper and office manager for Malt and Barley Public House in Kitchener, Aliena Karley said.

“We've been using TOAD for about four months now. We've had a great experience thus far with their delivery drivers, delivery time, customer satisfaction has been really great as well,” Karley added.

Puschelberg says TOAD allows customers to save money too since they don’t pay services fees, just a possible delivery fee.

“A lot of times the menu prices through the big apps are inflated. Sometimes the restaurants have to do that just to break even after they pay the commissions,” Puschelberg explained.

“Every dollar makes a difference for us right now,” Megalla said.

His restaurant has been using TOAD for about one month. Roughly 90 restaurants that have already signed up.

“Pre-pandemic I owned an entertainment business with my wife that pretty much stopped because of the pandemic and I just don’t want to see other businesses to through the same thing,” Puschelberg said.

Puschelberg says TOAD does not currently have any employees.

“We are partnered with a couple local delivery companies that provide the delivery fleet for us," he said. "Our goal as we expand outside of Waterloo Region is to partner with local delivery companies and have them make use of our format.”

“At the end of the day, all of our fixed and overheard costs stay the same so every dollar that we can make from our local community goes a long way for us right now,” Karley said.

“I just want to say thank you for all the customers that are ordering from us,” Megalla said.

“It's a really hard for all the restaurants around Canada at the moment and we appreciate what [Puschelberg] did for us. And again, it’s local supporting local and that's all I care about,” he added.

Karley believes more small businesses will take advantage once word gets out.

“I think the big thing about TOAD is that it's definitely got lots of room to grow and I think the more people that know about it and they understand that it's just a flat rate that they charge you, more people will be more open to trying it out.”

Puschelberg acknowledged the technological side of the service is not at par to the other, more popular delivery apps.

“There are a few customers that wish our system was a little easier to manage, but we are operating on a shoestring budget," he said. "All the bells and whistles that come with the big apps, come with a big price tag. So if we were to add all the stuff that make all the big apps what they are, we would have to charge for it as well.”