Taking 'take out' online

With Mealeo.com, Shenendehowa grad Blake Hanan is making take out easier than ever. He has eliminated the busy signal, sidestepped being put on hold and given people a way to order out without ever having to pick up a phone, much less leave the house.

We have so many options: pizza, Chinese, sushi, Indian. When parents get home from work, sometimes they're not in the mood to talk to people anymore, so they place order for whatever they're in the mood for without having to talk to anyone, said Hanan.

Hanan founded the Clifton Park based Mealeo, Inc. last year. At first, the idea crept up as a way to make his former job, simpler.

"I was in pharmaceutical sales and I found myself doing a lot of catering; ordering meals for 20 or 30 people in doctors offices and having the food set up and delivered, just to allow me time to sell my products," said Hanan. "I found I had a lot of restaurant menus sitting in my car and on my passenger seat, hanging out of glove box I thought how great it would be to do my job in the day and not have to call all these places to coordinate. I could just order online from anywhere, a one stop shop."

Mealeo.com has taken off, featuring 200 local restaurants from around the greater Capital District, and serving more than 20,000 people. Hanan said the site originally targeted catering but has since expanded to process even more meal orders from individuals, families and college students. The restaurants are pleased with the additional take out option, too.

"Some restaurants are absolutely thrilled because no only are we giving them more business, on average, orders are going up in size because when people order online they can order at their own pace. They can look at the whole menu and we ask if they want to complete the meal with a dessert or add a beverage," said Hanan. "Restaurants are happy because they spend less time on the phone fielding calls, writing things down, answering questions and it allows them to focus on what's going on in the restaurant and making food."

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