British Columbia

'We were probably 15 years too early': Victoria food delivery company closes as app competitors corner market

Dine In Victoria has closed after delivering food in the city for 20 years. Its owner says it could no longer compete with app-based delivery services like Skip the Dishes.

Dine In Victoria found it could no longer compete with services like Skip the Dishes

A Dine In Victoria delivery vehicle passes by the British Columbia Parliament Buildings in downtown Victoria. (Facebook/Dine In Victoria)

If you got food delivered to your door last Friday evening by the Dine In Victoria delivery service, well, you savoured a bit of history.

The company has shut its doors for good after 20 years in business. A pioneer of the food delivery service in Victoria, owner Maggie Rideout says competition from big delivery chains like Skip the Dishes forced her to close.

"You just can't go up against that kind of money," said Rideout, referencing the Canadian delivery behemoth, which is headquartered in Winnipeg and partnered with approximately 19,000 restaurants across the country.

Rideout said she really noticed her business suffer when Google ads for the bigger companies appeared above hers online. 

"So, a lot of people were confused," said Rideout, who thinks people searching for her company were sometimes unaware they were placing an order with another delivery service.

Dine In Victoria began delivering across the city in 1999 and was, at the time, a novelty.

"People were used to pizza and Chinese," said Rideout, who employed about 50 drivers at the company's peak in 2016. "We were probably 15 years too early."

Loyal customers flooded the company with business during its final days.

"It was really busy, an outpouring from customers and previous employees," said Rideout, who now plans to go into business making and delivering her own meals.

"In some senses it's a relief because its been really difficult the past couple of years," she said. 

But closing the doors for the final time Friday was still tough for the entrepreneur .

"It was like my baby," said Rideout.

A farewell message on the company's website reads: "It is time to step aside and leave delivery for the heavy hitters that have come to town."

To hear Maggie Rideout interviewed by On The Island host Gregor Craigie click on the audio link below:

Guest host David Lennam spoke with Maggie Rideout, founder of Dine-In Victoria, a pioneering food delivery service, about shutting down her business in the face of growing competition from national food delivery businesses. 4:54

With files from On The Island

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