The need for food delivery has intensified with Indiana residents being advised to stay home during the coronavirus pandemic.
To accommodate, Carmel-based Market Wagon has hired 53 additional drivers as of March 24 and added an extra delivery day. Many of those 53 are restaurant workers who were laid off due to restaurants either being closed or able only to sell takeout during the pandemic.
Orders began to accelerate by March 11.
“In seven days’ time, our order volume nearly quadrupled,” Market Wagon CEO Nick Carter said. “We had to more than double our team and we probably could have added even more (the first week). Our capacity to interview and hire was the limiting factor there.”
Initially, 33 drivers were hired and 21 more were added the week of March 22, said Ryan Thomas, Market Wagon’s director of business development.
Prior to the pandemic, Market Wagon delivered on Thursday with orders due by Tuesday at midnight. Tuesday is now an additional delivery day with orders needed by midnight Sunday.
“We delivered all throughout central Indiana, from Lafayette to Bloomington to Muncie to Avon,” Carter said.
Carter said all items available in a farmers market such as fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy and baked goods, are transported.
“It’s a pretty robust offering,” Carter said. “It’s a grocery replacement for a lot of households, which is why this is so vital to a lot of people right now.”
Market Wagon has had to add shelving and additional freezers for ice packs. The new employees also are helping with preparation work on other days of the week.
“The other people that are hurting are the owners of restaurants and farms that provide food, farmers market vendors,” Carter said. “We’re an outlet for ordering, so we’re bringing orders for those small business owners who otherwise wouldn’t be able to service their customers.
“We’ve seen a huge influx of new vendors, restaurants and caterers that are adding takeout-type food that we can deliver.”
For more, visit marketwagon.com.