Jayson Koss leans forward to pet his dog, Uzi, in the middle of a conference room that looks more like a break room with canned sodas, a Ping-Pong table and two large flat-screen televisions mounted on the wall with attached gaming system. Koss’ partner, Mike Silverman, leans back casually in a chair with a mural behind him that reads, “The road is my office. I am a dude.” This casual atmosphere doesn’t give the impression of a fast-growing business that is making money hand over fist. But if you want food fast, these are the guys you want. These are the Delivery Dudes.
The two are a seemingly unlikely pair. Koss is a lean young man of 30 years wearing shorts and flip flops, with his faithful furry companion close at hand. Silverman is a silver-haired man in his 60s; when he’s not sporting his Delivery Dudes tee, his attire of choice is a polo shirt and slacks. Despite the age difference – and difference in style – they seem to have a shared ambition to constantly improve their business. They are both full of life and ready to enjoy whatever the world throws at them.
“I’ve known Jayson since before he was born,” Silverman jokes. “I’m friends with his father and owned a wholesale apparel business with him years ago.”
For a brief time, Koss joined the family business to help sell suits and other apparel. After taking a break to travel, he settled in the Delray area, working during the day and spending nights indulging in the abundant food options found along Atlantic Avenue (or, “The Ave,” as locals call it). Needing to make a little extra money, he set up a delivery service for many of the restaurants that didn’t deliver. The concept was simple: Provide a phone number for Delray residents to call, take orders for a dozen restaurants in the area, then personally order, pick up and deliver the food as fast and as courteous as possible. Little did he know how well this would catch on.
“It started out in 2010 as just me using my cellphone,” Koss says. “My office was my living room, and my girlfriend would take calls and navigate while I drove and delivered. We had just 10 deliveries a night and some weekends.”
It was interesting watching the drivers and dispatchers come in during our interview. They exchange fist bumps and high-fives and trade jokes with one another as well as with Koss and Silverman.
“I’ve been off for three days and I couldn’t wait to get back in,” shares one of their newest drivers, Camden.
“Turn around and show him the shirt,” Koss says.
On the back of his red Delivery Dudes shirt is the following:
I’m a dude in training
I will say please
I will say thank you
I will not look like a caveman
I will high-five you upon request
I will make you smile
I will not wear mesh shorts
I will deliver your food hot
unless it is
Cold food in which case
I won’t deliver it hot
I will be on time
I will not wear gaudy jewelry
I will hold open doors
I will be there when the
rain starts to fall
I will not wear shower sandals
I will leave my wizard costume
at home, maybe
I WILL BE A DUDE
“All the new drivers become a red shirt. After they complete 100 deliveries, they have to recite what is on the back of the shirt,” Koss says.
What makes this whole venture successful is the way Koss and Silverman handle business. They don’t simply sell a franchisee license for cash on the barrelhead. They have a unique from-the-bottom-up process before they allow other branches of Delivery Dudes to open.
“We get calls all the time to purchase a new branch. But that’s what makes this work because we do everything in-house. We train in-house. We develop our own software in-house. Even the new branches are owned and managed by drivers we trained and promoted from within,” Koss says. “They know what it’s like to be out on the road and how to keep things moving. It makes the process very organic and a lot more friendly.”
Delivery Dudes currently has 85 drivers who work with 65 restaurants at the original Delray location alone, and now has branches in 26 territories, including Coral Springs, Boca Raton, Coconut Grove, Midtown Miami, Nashville and more.
“The real question is the why,” Silverman ponders. “The why should be what drives you. It is what pushes you to do better.”
“I constantly find myself needing to step back and re-evaluate, refactor and reorganize,” Koss chimes in. “I’m trying to figure out the future, but right now, all I am focused on is today and how to make things better.”
The real trick for both Koss and Silverman is wrapping their heads around the entire pursuit. Since they first got serious about making it into a full-time business, Delivery Dudes has shown 10 to 30 percent growth each month. It boggles them both that they had to hire an assistant to manage their schedules and help with organization.
“We’ve created a culture for both the drivers and the customers,” Silverman says. “Our job is to maintain that culture,” Koss adds.
And with the famous line from the “The Big Lebowski,” Koss closes the sentiment… “The dude abides.”