The latest restaurant in Minneapolis is right at home in a parking garage.
ClusterTruck, an Indianapolis-based delivery-only restaurant, started delivering food to local customers in early May. Staff say the restaurant is different from delivery services like Postmates or Bite Squad because ClusterTruck takes out the middleman and manages the entire process, from developing its software to designing its own menu that caters to any occasion.
“We control the process from start to finish,” said Anton Winter, the general manager.
Because ClusterTruck’s kitchen isn’t consumer facing, the company chose to open inside a parking garage near 9th & 4th in downtown Minneapolis. ClusterTruck says it takes an average of 21 minutes to deliver an order, which staff say is because of the technology behind the service.
“We don’t start cooking the food until we have a driver within range and available. Theoretically your food should be no more than six or seven minutes old,” said Stacia Lowery, ClusterTruck’s director of user experience. “It’s designed to be as quick as possible for the customer and as efficient as possible for the driver.”
ClusterTruck’s menu consists of everything from ramen and salads to sandwiches and breakfast food. While ClusterTruck’s Minneapolis menu may look similar to the other locations in Indiana, Ohio, Colorado and Missouri, the company is going back and localizing menus as soon as restaurants take root. This means that the local team will use bread from Baker’s Field Flour & Bread, meats from Red Table Meat Co. and produce from Twin Organics in Northfield, among other Minnesota purveyors.
“Now we get to do the cool part and regionalize everything … and (invest) in those really sustainable relationships,” said Abby Braughton, director of operations. “We have such a hands-on approach to the stuff that’s coming in. We’re not just buying random stuff, like just filler.”
The street food-inspired menu, with more than 50 items averaging about $10, features omelets, Asian cuisine, chicken wings, Mexican dishes, desserts and beverages. Braughton said more than 60 percent of the menu can be made vegetarian or vegan and they’re looking to add more items, including locally made cold brew coffee and other locally inspired dishes.
ClusterTruck offers free delivery and groups can pay as individuals via the app or its website.
“You don’t have to split a check and go through the headache of figuring out how to pay. That’s something that customers say is a lot easier than what they’re used to doing,” Lowery said.
Braughton said the company wanted to open in Minneapolis because of its underrated dining scene.
“There’s a lot going on here and these places are so under credited for what they do, especially a city like Minneapolis,” she said. “It’s a cool food city.”