Drone deliveries are starting to provide more meals at more locations. Charleys Philly Steaks yesterday announced that it has partnered with Flytrex Inc. to deliver sandwiches in Durham, N.C. Customers can place orders with Charleys with the Flytrex app, and the cheesteaks will be delivered to front yards and backyards with an average flight time of three minutes, said the companies.
“The future of delivery is here, and we couldn’t be more excited,” stated Brian Hipsher, chief marketing officer of Charleys. “I can think of no better way to receive a fresh cheesesteak delivered hot off the grill to my yard. We look forward to expanding our partnership with Flytrex to create a more cost-effective and quick delivery service for all our guests.”
Founded in 1985, Charleys Philly Steaks claimed that it is the largest cheesteak franchise in the world, with more than 700 locations around the world. The restaurant franchise also said it offers gourmet fries, real fruit lemonades, and grilled-to-order food.
Charleys seeks competitive edge with technology
Charleys Phily Steaks said digital initiatives are a top priority. Its Charleys Rewards loyalty program has more than 1 million members. The company added that it has integrated “accessible, supportive technologies” to make it easier for guests to order online and give the brand a competitive edge in the quick-service restaurant (QSR) industry.
The process for ordering delivery via drone will be the same as previously established delivery stations. Eligible customers can order their favorites from Charleys, as well as food and goods from other local restaurants, cafés, and retailers.
They would place the orders with the Flytrex app, which updates customers regarding their order status until the package is lowered by wire into their yards.
“We are thrilled to spread our wings once again in North Carolina and bring delicious cheesesteaks to our new customers in Durham,” said Yariv Bash, co-founder and CEO Flytrex. “This partnership with Charleys and its accompanying expansion brings us one step closer to a future of affordable, ultrafast delivery that is both safe and green. We look forward to continuing growing our delivery service nationwide to reach the tens of millions of backyards across the country.”
Flytrex continues expansion
The expansion to Durham marks Flytrex’s fifth station in the U.S. and fourth in the “First in Flight” state. The Tel Aviv, Israel-based company has three other operational stations in North Carolina—Fayetteville, Raeford, and Holly Springs.
Flytrex recently expanded its drone delivery service to Granbury, Texas, just outside of Dallas-Fort Worth. The company claimed that it is the leading business-to-consumer service for retailers and QSRs serving customers in suburban areas. It added that it offers “unmatched delivery costs, ultrafast delivery, and greater reach than ever before” with commercial-aviation grade drones and cloud systems.
The Durham service will operate in cooperation with longtime partner Causey Aviation Unmanned under the recently granted Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) waiver allowing a delivery radius of two nautical miles across its stations in North Carolina and Texas. Flytrex said it could reach hundreds of thousands of homes.
In 2017, Flytrex launched a fully autonomous urban drone-delivery system in Reykjavik, Iceland. It raised $40 million in Series C funding in November 2021.
The company said it has been working closely with safety regulators to help get drone delivery off the ground. It has participated in the FAA’s UAS Integration Pilot Program (IPP), which concluded in October 2020. Flytrex continued in the FAA’s subsequent initiative, BEYOND.
The company has also worked with the North Carolina Department of Transportation to help tackle the remaining challenges of unmanned aerial system (UAS) integration.