About Us

About Us

Serving Since 1996

Our History

The RMDA is an association of privately owned small businesses in the food delivery industry. Founded in 1996 to bring Restaurant Delivery Services (RDSs) together to network and learn from each other, the Restaurant Delivery Service Association (RDSA) was the precursor to the RMDA. Annual conventions and mid-year conferences have been the cornerstone of the member experience in the Association.

 

Many early members of the Association built lasting delivery services through expert marketing, innovative operations standards, and developing roots in their local restaurant community. Rapid growth through the 1990s led to the first effort to stitch this sprawling but fractured network of services together. EZtoGET.com connected dozens of companies across the map to create the first true national food delivery service entity. 1999 was the height of the .com boom but EZtoGET was unable to position itself to last as a national brand.

 

RDS’s had existed since the mid 1980’s. Eat Out In of Texas, Cafe Courier in Ohio, Waiters on Wheels in San Francisco were among the first successful services of their kind. Kevin Abt, a Virginia based entrepreneur established Take Out Taxi in the late 1980s, the first effort to sell franchises in the industry. While the parent company eventually dissolved, there are still Take Out Taxis in business today. (Hat’s off, Tommy Wheelock).

 

Throughout all these years, the RMDA has been an organization that has helped hundreds of businesses find resources, networking and information that has made business better. We have defined what restaurant delivery is.

 

2015 was a particularly active time in our industry and among the members of the RMDA. While an effort to roll up many companies into one, much like the EZtoGET initiative, was going on, the eleven year old deeply funded Grub Hub spent around $150 million to buy four of our member companies who had built outstanding, successful RDS’s. That included Dining In of Boston, Delivered Dish of Portland, Restaurants on the Run of Orange County, Ca, and LA Bite of Los Angeles. Just after that, over 20 of our member companies joined an exit strategy with Bite Squad, later acquired by a Louisiana based, funded food delivery venture.

 

This made 2016 and 2017 rebuilding years for the RMDA after losing many of our highly active members, including some of our very early Board officers. Since then the Association has disproved the prognosticators who thought the RMDA and potentially the industry of independent restaurant delivery services had a bleak future. With Uber figuring out how to leverage its rideshare captive audience into food delivery customers and the birth and mind boggling billions invested in DoorDash, the consumer market and competition landscape changed drastically.

 

As our members continue to create strategies in this dynamic and much more tech fueled delivery economy, new opportunities including food courier systems have emerged. Our members, even new ones that have come into the industry during the last ten years, continue to innovate and establish new standards of excellence in food delivery.

 

The RMDA is intent on staying an anchoring place for both members and our supporting vendors to connect and learn. Association service contracts that can benefit our members in a shared and equal way are already upon us. Our industry is still evolving if not in revolution since the pandemic. 

 

Our Association has always been led by a fully volunteer Board of Directors. In recent years we have been able to add contracted staff to help lead us. Our future will be written by our ability to maintain strong and dedicated volunteers to steer us in whatever direction the industry requires us to go in.

Our

Board

Our dedicated board members bring a wealth of experience and a shared commitment to advancing the food and retail delivery industry. Their leadership and vision drive the RMDA’s mission to foster innovation, collaboration, and growth.

Paul Birrell

Join the RMDA Community