Waiter on the Way: Growing a business by ‘doing the right thing’
May31

Waiter on the Way: Growing a business by ‘doing the right thing’

This story was originally published in the May 23, 2018 issue of Input Fort Wayne as Waiter on the Way: Growing a business by ‘doing the right thing’.    Have you ever wanted delivery service from a restaurant that doesn’t offer it? That’s the idea behind Waiter on the Way. The process is simple. Visit the website, and you’ll find a list of local and national restaurants you can order from with detailed menus and weekly blog stories. Simply call or place an order on the mobile-friendly interface, and the food you’re craving will be delivered to your home or office. While other delivery services have come and gone in northeast Indiana over the years, Waiter on the Way has remained a community staple. Based out of downtown Fort Wayne, it continues to grow its influence in the region. When the owner, Derek Berkes, purchased the company in 2001, he had a staff of 20 people and delivered from 20 restaurants. Today, he has more than 110 employees, delivering from more than 140 restaurants, including local favorites like Casa, Coney Island, and Shigs In Pit. “When we started, we were averaging about 65 orders a day. Now, we average 265 orders a day,” Berkes says. He may have been honored with a 2017 Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly Business Excellence Award for “Business of the Year – Revenue Less than $5 Million,” but money was not always easily accessible for him. Instead, he says his personal failures and his ability to learn from them are what gave him the work ethic he has today. From debt to success Before Berkes turned 30, he accumulated massive amounts of debt as a result of trying to build a business, create cash flow, and hire a large staff. He wanted to take Waiter on the Way to the next level and believed that accumulating debt while doing so was the only viable approach. In his attempt to grow the company, the pressure of making money for the sake of making money become overbearing. He knew he needed to change something. “I used to chase money. I made the profit more important than anything else because I had so many people relying on the success of the business.” Berkes says. “That approach simply doesn’t work. I was very driven. I still am, but I changed what I allowed to drive me.” In his early 30s, he decided to reset his approach around creating value for the Fort Wayne community. “I focus on the quality and the relationships,” Berkes says. “I want to do the right thing every time and with every interaction. Those components...

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Five Patios Not To Miss This Spring and Summer
May17

Five Patios Not To Miss This Spring and Summer

Despite its harsh winters, Fort Wayne’s restaurants are abundant in outdoor seating.  Now that the weather is finally warming up, it’s time to grab your plates and glasses and dine outside.  Here are some of our favorite local patio picks! The Deck Ask anyone in Fort Wayne where they go to eat outside, and the majority will point to The Deck first.  It’s practically a Fort Wayne icon, located just across the river from the Old Fort in the parking lot of Don Hall’s Old Gas House.  If you’re heading there most nights and weekends, you can expect a wait, but they’ve expanded the bar so it’s easy to grab a drink while you do. View this post on Instagram Who is ready for summer to be here?!? #gettothedeck 📷 @downtownfortwayne A post shared by The Deck at the Gas House (@hallsdeck) on Feb 5, 2018 at 7:50am PST  Wine Down and O’Reilley’s Okay, we know there’s two listed here, but these patios are awesome because they both offer incredible views of Parkview Field.  Go to either for drinks or dinner during a home game and watch the TinCaps in action. View this post on Instagram The patio view at our Downtown Fort Wayne location, beautiful! A post shared by O'Reilly's Irish Bar (@oreillysirishbar) on Nov 3, 2017 at 4:41pm PDT Sidecar Want to take a tropical vacation in your own community?  The Sidecar (of Wine Down) is the place to be.  While it’s not quite yet open this season, they’ve been getting us excited about their outdoor tiki bar on social media.  You won’t want to miss it! View this post on Instagram ☀️ Its 🙌 Almost 🌋 That 🌺 Time 🍍 Of 🎋 The 🍌 Year 🗿 A post shared by Sidecar (@sidecarfw) on Apr 21, 2018 at 9:07am PDT Three Rivers Distilling Company One of the newer kids on Fort Wayne’s block, Three Rivers Distilling Company, has an impressive new patio this season.  It’s one of the roomier patios in town, and the restaurant’s floor-to-ceiling windows continue the outdoor feeling even when you’re seated indoors.  Don’t miss their Summer Patio Nights with $5 frozen drinks on Thursdays from 4-9pm. View this post on Instagram We love sharing this spring weather on our outdoor patio with you! #FortWayne A post shared by Three Rivers Distilling Co. (@3riversdistillingco) on Apr 27, 2018 at 8:56pm PDT Lunch on the Square While not technically a patio, we still wanted to include Lunch on the Square in Freimann Square for its glorified outdoor dining experience.  Local food trucks and music performances vary each week, but the positive energy is always sunny and...

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Thanksgiving Dinner Alternatives in Fort Wayne
Nov15

Thanksgiving Dinner Alternatives in Fort Wayne

Ahhh, Thanksgiving.  That time of year where you haven’t completely transitioned into full-holiday-panic mode but you’re slowly beginning to realize that there is not enough time, money, or coffee to make it through to the end of the year.  Well, you’re in luck!  Instead of chopping, roasting, and baking this year, why not let someone else do the work and you can sit back, relax, and actually enjoy your Thanks- or Friends-giving? Listed below are some places around Fort Wayne that will make your day stress-free and delicious. So, if you want to avoid the hassle of cleaning the house, finding the good silverware, kenneling the dogs (because Aunt Nancy is allergic), and wrestling the board games out from the attic so the kids will stay out of your hair long enough to finish those pies, then there are several local restaurants that will be taking reservations for Thanksgiving Day.  But don’t wait – they are filling up fast! Or, if you think your family or friends won’t go for a restaurant for their holiday celebration, then you could stay home and let someone else do the cooking by looking for the restaurants that have a take-out option.  (Several have deadlines to order your holiday fare, so call ahead!) With all the extra free-time this Thanksgiving, you can focus on the important things like which wines to have on hand for your family and friends and where you hid the Cards Against Humanity that will be played much, much later in the evening.   Bob Evans Phone: Coliseum Blvd. – 260.484.8848, Dupont Rd. – 260.490.6096, Meijer Dr. – 260.492.2035, Coventry Ln. – 260.436.2566 Hours: 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Locations: 520 E. Coliseum Blvd., 46805; 2935 E. Dupont Rd., 46825;  5135 Meijer Dr., 46835; 5785 Coventry Ln., 46804 Serving: Full menu Price: Menu priced Take-out option: Yes   Cracker Barrel Phone: Washington Center Rd. – 260.489.1855, Maysville Rd. – 260.492.7500 Hours: 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Locations: 1609 W. Washington Center Rd., 46818; 10427 E. Maysville Rd., 46835 Serving: Full menu plus a special of roasted turkey and dressing and a choice of one of their country vegetable sides Price: Menu priced Take-out option: Yes, traditional Thanksgiving fare available 11/19-11/27 with 24 hours’ notice recommended   Don Hall’s Guesthouse Grill Phone: 260.489.2524 Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Location: 1313 W. Washington Ctr. Rd., 46825 Serving: Buffet with ham, turkey, prime rib and other traditional fare Price: $22.99 for adults, $7.95 for children aged 3-10, and free for children under 3   Don Hall’s Triangle Park Phone: 260.482.4342 Hours: 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Location: 3010 Trier Rd., 46815...

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Thanksgiving Dinner Alternatives in Fort Wayne (I)
Nov24

Thanksgiving Dinner Alternatives in Fort Wayne (I)

If your Thanksgiving is anything like mine, preparing to prepare Thanksgiving starts about two weeks before the actual Holiday. Decide the menu, divvy up dishes and responsibilities, make a shopping list, double check the shopping list, dedicate half of Sunday to fulfilling the shopping list, clean the entire house spotless… you get where I’m going with this. Thanksgiving dinner is a large ordeal that requires a lot of sweat (hopefully none of which makes it into your actual dinner) and hard work. If you’re looking to rip up your grocery list, put away your pots and pans, avoid the entire cleaning process, and enjoy Thanksgiving with your family without the hustle and bustle of preparing it yourself, Fort Wayne has a variety of options for you to choose from! The following restaurants will be open to prepare and serve your dinner for you on Thanksgiving day. With 5 locations in Fort Wayne, you’re likely to be able to locate a Bob Evans near you. They will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thanksgiving day, serving their full menu in addition to a special Thanksgiving menu. They also cater! Visit their website for a list of locations or to order online. Cracker Barrel will be open and serving their full menu from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. including Thanksgiving dinner, which begins at 11 a.m. Adult Thanksgiving dinner is $10.99, and a child dinner is $5.99. You can also order Thanksgiving carryout here. Visit their website for a full list of locations and how to contact them. Don Hall’s Guesthouse will be having a Thanksgiving buffet from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Reservations are almost full, but they’re saving room to accommodate walk-ins. The buffet will be $22.99 per adult, $7.95 per child ages 4-10, and children younger than 4 eat free. The Guesthouse Grill will also be serving a Thanksgiving buffet, but adults will pay $17.99, children ages 4-10 will also be $7.95, and anyone younger than 4 will be free as well. Call 260-489-2524 to check for reservations or visit their website for more information. Granite City will be serving a three course family style dinner for guests on Thanksgiving Day from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Reservations are full, but they will be accepting walk-ins all day. This dinner runs $22.99 per person. Call 260-471-3030 or visit their website with any further questions. The Red River Steakhouse located within Hotel Fort Wayne will also be serving a Thanksgiving buffet from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The buffet is $29.95 for adults, $24.95 for seniors ages 65+, $10.95 for kids 4 to 12, and kids 3 and under eat free....

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Dining in the Dark
Aug19

Dining in the Dark

I love food plain and simple. I’ve been in the serving industry for 15 years. One of my favorite pastimes is enjoying a phenomenal meal with friends and family, savoring a variety of dishes talented chefs create throughout the world. I am very proud to announce Fort Wayne is introducing a new and exotic culinary experience offered through a local Meetup website dubbed: The Over 21 & OFF (Out for Fun.)Founder Laura Thoma-Dickinson and I tossed around ideas for fun, fresh events that could be added to the groups calendar. After a spirited conversation over sushi, we enthusiastically decided to coordinate Dining in the Dark. Bigger cities have restaurants specifically dedicated to this unique concept; heightening all of the diners senses with the obvious exception: sight. Hosted by Don Hall’s Factory on Coldwater Rd. The chef creates a four course menu that pay close attention to texture, flavor and smell. Be forewarned, Dining in the Dark is only for the adventurous eater as you are not told what will be served during each course until the conclusion of dinner. Patrons gather in a common area to be blind folded, then are guided one by one into a dimly lit room by their server… then the real thrill begins! Guests may feel anxious and a bit self conscious before the first course arrives; but as dinner ensues, comfort levels ease and waves of laughter are heard as guests discuss the effort exerted to get food into their mouths or figure out what is being served. We’re not ogres, if at any point a diner becomes uncomfortable with being blindfolded, they will be escorted into a lit room to finish enjoying the remainder of their dinner. Here’s the skinny on the next upcoming event: Thursday, August 28th at 6:15 sharp. Don Halls Factory on Coldwater Rd. in Fort Wayne. The cost is $30.00 and includes a four course dinner, a nonalcoholic beverage, tax, gratuity and a blindfold. If you prefer, bring your own sleeping mask or blindfold to the venue. To register go to: http://www.meetup.com, search The 21 and OFF group, and send an RSVP. Guests will then be directed to a PayPal link to pre-pay for the diner. Buen Provecho! Angela...

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