Takeout Central: Our February Small Business of the Month

February 16, 2023

This February, Takeout Central is our Small Business of the Month!

We were glad to recognize Takeout Central at our Business After Hours earlier this month at the Galaxy Room. 

Check out our Q&A with Director of Delivery Operations Jamie Cecil below…

Tell us a little about the history of the company. 

We started out with Raleigh Takeout in Raleigh, NC in 2004, the same year Valet Gourmet was founded.  As we built our business, we made friends with other local delivery service operators in North Carolina, looking out for each other, sharing strategies, etc.  As these folks were ready to move on to other ventures, they reached out to us because they knew we would keep the business and employees local, building our communities.  This is how we ended up in Winston-Salem and Greensboro (Takeout Triad), Asheville (Valet Gourmet), Wilmington (Surfside Express), and Cary and Apex (919Dine).  We promised to be good stewards of these companies, and I think we’ve succeeded.

Little known fact or trivia about your company. 

Charles and Wes became business partners back in 2009; but shortly thereafter became brothers-in-law, after marrying two sisters. Charles grew up in Sylva and Wes in Lexington, so now we have a real small-town North Carolina family business!

What are you most proud of about the company?

I’m most proud that we’ve been able to survive and thrive while fighting against juggernauts like DoorDash these past few years, while they’re losing billions of dollars per year to put small companies like us out of business. The biggest reason is the great people that we work with. We haven’t had anyone leave our customer service team in 3 years, even during the worst of COVID. Our lead dispatchers and our VP of Operations both used to be drivers in Asheville.  Our Chief Marketing Officer first worked on our customer service team. Our head of mobile development used to drive in Asheville, and most of our developers have turned down higher-paying jobs to work here. I’m proud that my colleagues care so much about our business and our customers. When times get tough, the CEO salary is the first to be cut.  We work hard to get great people to work with us, so we want to do everything we can to keep them.

Best advice you’ve gotten for operating a small business?

Make sure to surround yourself with smart, passionate folks who aren’t afraid to tell you when you’re wrong…and listen when they do!

Tips for other small businesses?  

Your business is only as good as the people who are part of it. If you respect them and treat them well, it carries over to every part of your business, from customer service to financial success.  

What’s next on the horizon?

We’re working to establish a co-op to keep restaurant delivery dollars local in Asheville. We want to be the only place you go to get great family-owned restaurants in Asheville delivered, and in turn, offer restaurants a seat at the table to participate in how their food gets delivered.

Our tagline is “Together, We are More.” How does that apply to your business or what does it mean to you? 

To me, this reinforces the importance of community and keeping things local.  We have the best locally-owned restaurants in Asheville because people here care about our city, and small businesses supporting each other make our city stronger.  By working together, we are all more likely to succeed than any of us would be apart.