Its name might suggest otherwise, but Tarheel Takeout doesn’t make much of its money from students.
Instead, the company, which delivers food from local restaurants that typically only offer dine-in or carry-out, makes its money off large group orders and its growing geographic presence in North Carolina.
About 70 percent of 33 UNC students that were surveyed by the Daily Tar Heel said they have not used Tarheel Takeout.
But during the last three years, co-owner Charles Douthitt said Tarheel Takeout’s revenues have grown 27 percent. And after delivering food for 16 years, the company is finally starting to earn a profit.
“Revenue grew tremendously from 2011 to 2012, and this year it has been looking pretty good,” said Wes Garrison, the other co-owner of Tarheel Takeout.
Despite the turnaround, the duo said its service is not cheap and can present problems to people on a budget, like students.
The service requires a minimum of $10 worth of food at checkout before tax and has a $5 delivery fee.
“We want people to understand that we are not the cheapest, but we offer food from great local places that you can’t get otherwise, which allows for more healthier choices,” Garrison said.
“We’re working on a group ordering service, which will allow students to cut some costs from their order.”
The service still maintains strong ties to the University by delivering large orders to different departments and hiring UNC students, Douthitt said.
Douthitt added that the business has considered having a receipt printer to expedite the process that often takes time to transfer receipts from the restaurant to Tarheel Takeout.
Garrison started a similar takeout service to Tarheel Takeout in Raleigh and Durham, but bought Tarheel Takeout in 2006.
His idea of delivering restaurant food to homes and businesses stemmed from similar services offered in other parts of the country.
“These takeout businesses are something we don’t really have in the Southeast, but exist mostly in the Northeast, especially in Boston,” he said.
Garrison said a lot has changed since 2006 and he has had to make several adjustments to the original concept.
“A lot of money came in, but a lot went out to restaurants and drivers so there was not much left over to support ourselves and our families,” he said.
In order to cut costs, Garrison said he has refocused his idea and shifted the business to Chapel Hill. The duo closed the company’s Raleigh office and cut its spending on advertising.
Douthitt said he has helped by creating a new system to expand the business.
“Recently, we have created Takeout Central, which allows the business to expand to new areas, such as Greensboro, and not add new business names.”
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