Waffle House Teams Up With App That Recruits Travelers To Deliver Packages

The next time you go to Waffle House, you could pick up more than a stack of syrup-covered breakfast delight: The restaurant chain has teamed up with a startup company to work with college students and other road trippers willing to ferry packages around the country on their travels.

Waffle House and Roadie Inc. announced a new partnership today that will create a network of pickup points for drivers shuttling packages from here to there, to connect with both senders and receivers, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Roadie is a new company that launched last month, and is aiming to become the Uber of package delivery. It’s the first time Waffle House has worked on this kind of venture, which uses willing drivers who want to make a some extra cash on trips they’ve already planned to take.

It makes sense, as Waffle House locations are open 24 hours a day, providing a convenient spot for packages to change hands.

“We’re just bacon and eggs over here,” Chief Executive Walt Ehmer said in an interview. “I’ve been amazed with the explosion of Uber and Airbnb and other technology that kind of enables people to get together and conduct business together.”

Roadie’s app is available thus far in the Southeast, including 10 states where shipments can originate. The prices for the service run from about $12 to $200, and are calculated on a base fee and a variable amount per mile. Some things are more expensive to ship than what UPS or FedEx charges, but when it comes to shipping big and heavy items quickly, the new venture should be competitive.

Drivers take home about 80% of the price of the item, minus a $1 fee for insurance. There are concerns with the new service, including the possibility of theft or damage to the items, or people who may use it to transport illegal items like drugs.

To combat that, the founder says the sender, driver and receiver will each take photos of the item during the process to ensure it’s legal and that it arrives in the condition in which it was shipped. Roadie will also keep a copy of drivers’ licenses to check that they’re valid as well as complete a background check.

While it’s unclear whether or not the company can find enough reliable drivers who are willing to go through the process of becoming a delivery driver, there are those who figure heck, might as well kill two birds with one stone.

“I wouldn’t go out of my way,” one said. “It’s just advantageous when I’m already going that way to make a little pocket change.”

Technology Bubble? Ask Waffle House [Wall Street Journal]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.