WASHINGTON — As a co-owner of the popular D.C. bar Ivy and Coney, Adam Fry knows how hard it’s been to change course after the COVID-19 pandemic devastated the restaurant industry.
“It was a lot of late nights for very little return. So it was the kind of thing where you had to almost rebrand yourself based off of a previous identity,” Fry explained.
When restaurants had to give up on the traditional experience and rely on delivery services, he noticed real challenges. Many delivery apps were taking as much as 32% on commission.
Like most restaurants, delivery quickly became Ivy and Coney’s only revenue stream.
“That revenue was basically vanishing every time that we had to cover those fees.”
Along with his co-founders, Fry decided it was time to make a change. The team came up with D.C. To-GoGo, a delivery service that caters to D.C. residents and the local restaurants they love.
The service also provides jobs featuring “livable wages” for their delivery drivers. This is contrasted with the usual contract work that the typical service offers.
Fry couldn’t see the service as more important, particularly given the current climate.
“We know that when money is spent within the District, the taxes are kept within the District. The other bartenders and servers and you know, the oft-forgotten back of house bar backs and cooks — those people need to be supported right now more than anything.”
Fry said that’s what most sets DC To-GoGo apart.
“Not only do we care about those restaurants, but because we want to foster the community now in a remote fashion, we care about the customers too. They're going to be our regulars again someday and they are the backbone. if you treat them right, if you treat your employees right, if you actually work to support other restaurants, rather than just trying to carve out a huge profit, then eventually, people will get a better product.”
The delivery service has sent locals everything, from dinner or a drink from their favorite neighborhood spot to items like T-shirts and even a recent haul of Christmas trees.
"Supporting local is supporting local businesses, whether they be restaurants or retail or farmers markets,” Fry explained. “All of those people are the people who contribute to our community. And so any chance you get, do that.”