Special Delivery ...
One entrepreneur’s service hits the spot with local diners.
Photography: Jill Orschel
As a teen living in Michoacán, Mexico, José Cruz thought he heard the call of the priesthood. But today, as the owner of Park City’s popular Speedy Fernandez Restaurant Delivery Service, it’s a steady stream of customer calls he’s hearing.
Cruz stumbled onto his unique delivery service model during the winter of 2006. He had just quit a job delivering pizzas to become the manager of La Casita Mexican Restaurant. “I wasn’t there for 30 minutes, behind those walls, and working for someone else didn’t feel good,” Cruz remembers. He and the La Casita owner devised a plan that would allow Cruz to work for himself, while also helping the restaurateur: Cruz would start a delivery service named Speedy Fernandez.
“The owner of La Casita came up with the name,” Cruz explains. “He originally suggested Speedy Gonzales (after the Warner Brothers cartoon character and the popular ’60s tune), but when I went to the city for a business license, they said I might run into copyright problems with that one.” So he substituted Fernandez instead. He had 300 menus printed, excluding La Casita’s telephone number but including his two cellular numbers, and distributed them to Main Street offices and Old Town residences.
“I remember a day later, I got a phone call from Sushi Maru asking me if this was José who used to work at the pizza place,” Cruz says. “He asked if I would be interested in delivering for him also.” Three more restaurants jumped on board, and the delivery business was off and running.
During the winter of 2006, Cruz employed five drivers. By the next year, he’d increased his payroll to eight. Now he has 15 drivers and five operators hustling cuisine from 19 Park City restaurants to hungry folks in offices and residences throughout the Park City area for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late-night offerings. Cruz estimates his business has grown between 20 and 30 percent a year since 2006. “We actually got busier when the economy dropped,” he says. “People get more hungry when the problems kick in.”
So what happened to his dreams of becoming a priest? Aside from Cruz crediting his success in America to the fact that he studied English in seminary, he says that after being granted a year to decide whether the priestly life was what he really wanted, he traveled to the US, where he found work in California’s lettuce fields. Three months later, at the encouragement of a friend, he moved to Park City, where he got the job with the pizza shop.
Here, he met his wife, Rocio, with whom he has four children, with another on the way. “Basically, I fell in love, and we decided to live together,” Cruz recounts. “Then a son came along, and that was the end of the priest idea.” And the beginning of a popular Park City business that really delivers.
Speedy Fernandez, 435.631.0040 or 435.631.0032, parkcitydelivery.com