In June, Carrollwood resident Jeff Donnel launched Dine In 2Nite, an innovative take on catering, offering the luxury of a private chef lifestyle, but without the sizeable expense.
Having worked for years in the corporate world, Donnel was looking for a business that he could own and operate when he discovered Dine In 2Nite.
Bulk meal and frozen meal delivery have been around for over a decade, but the San Diego-based Dine In 2Nite franchise premise of preparing an individual fresh meal each day and delivering that evening was a new concept.
“I just fell in love with the idea,” Donnel said. “I became its first franchisee. It’s a great service and a great business model. I think once we get established, it’s going to be very successful.”
Donnel does his own shopping at least three times per week and chooses only local ingredients that go directly from the shopping cart to his professional chef waiting in their commercial kitchen.
“Nothing is ever frozen, including the meals once they are prepared,” said Donnel. “Nothing is prepared in advance. The chef cooks the meal in late afternoon and we deliver it hot, right at dinner time.”
The subscription-based dinner service provides a unique entrée and side dish, 3 or 5 times per week for only $10 per meal, delivery and tip included.
Clients register online, select their meal choices from a monthly menu calendar, and the dish is delivered to their door in Carrollwood and surrounding neighborhoods.
“If you are cooking, you are probably not getting this type of variety, so you end up eating the same types of things over and over again. It really works for a broad-range of people,” said Donnel.
Customer Nancy Enriques chose the Dine In 2Nite service for her mother. With just under 100 menu offerings, she knew her mother would never bore of the variety of dinner choices.
Not only does Donnel accommodate for major food allergens, though there is no specifically vegetarian menu, any meal can be created to please a vegetarian palette.
“Though we have a couple that are vegetarian already, we will fashion a vegetarian version of whatever meal that we are making that day,” said Donnel.
Donnel is proud to showcase Dine In 2Nite as a more economical and healthier alternative to take-out. In the age of super-size excess, Dine In 2Nite helps with a healthy diet, as each meal is portioned so that there is no waste.
“No more wasted food in the refrigerator because fresh products are sold in larger portions than you need and you may not get to use before they spoil,” said Donnel. “It would be difficult to re-create our meal experience on your own for $10. By the time you purchase a package of meat, the fresh vegetables or grains, and sauces, you would be well over that amount. The great thing about our service is the flexibility and the fact that the food is just like home-made gourmet.”
With menu items like Argentinian Style Beef with Chimichurri Sauce, Sicilian Sausage and Polenta, and Maple Glazed Baby Back Ribs, Donnel’s clients never have to sacrifice top restaurant quality to enjoy a gourmet meal from the comfort of their homes.
Carrollwood Copy Center owners Jeff and Brenda Ryder were introduced to Dine In 2Nite through the CABA networking group. They enjoy the convenience of having their meals delivered directly to their business.
A regular customer for three months, Brenda chose the 3-day delivery option. “We just love it. It is so convenient,” she said. “We don’t have to worry what we are doing (for dinner) Tuesday through Thursday. He drops it off before we close our store and regardless if we are going to be here longer or not, our dinner is waiting for us. It’s great for anybody on a tight schedule, who doesn’t want to worry what their menu is going to be during the week.”
Jeff was quick to praise Donnel for his professionalism and service affordability.
“It’s affordable and the food is good. We brag about his service in CABA," he said.
Donnel’s overall goal, beyond preparing a healthy, delicious and affordable meal, is to give time spent in the kitchen with preparation and clean up back to his customers for other pursuits.
“What a great gift to be able to get that hour, hour and a half back in your life that could spend with your family instead of cooking and cleanup," he said.
For more information about Dine In 2Nite and to see if your address is eligible for delivery, visit www.tampa.dinein2nite.com.