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Long before companies such as Uber Eats and Door Dash began offering an easy way to get your lunch or dinner delivered in the Lincoln area, Dave Welch was perfecting the art.

Welch, a graphic artist by training, has owned Metro Dining Delivery for more than 12 years.

In that time, he's seen other delivery services come and go, and he expects the same thing will happen with Uber Eats and other national services.

Those services are "designed for a population-dense city," Welch said, which Lincoln is not.

Most orders take at least half an hour to pick up and deliver, and many can take up to an hour. That means Uber Eats drivers are only making about $4 a delivery, he said, whereas his drivers make $10 or more.

While he said it's "frustrating" when a new delivery service pops up, he said it hasn't hurt his business so far.

"We're actually doing more deliveries," Welch said. "It's hard to search a website (online) without my website showing up."

Welch has worked long and hard to get to the point where Metro Dining Delivery shows up toward the top of a Google search for Lincoln restaurant delivery.

The company has about 75 affiliate restaurants, more than a dozen regular drivers and a couple of full-time dispatchers.

Welch used to use a patchwork of email and phone orders, but about three years ago he rebranded the website and then went to online-only ordering.

"That's kind of been a game-changer for us," he said.

Welch said he has a lot of loyal customers who use the service regularly.

"There are a lot of people who have used us for years," he said.

Ryan Funke, who owns a number of restaurants in Lincoln, including the local Five Guys Burgers & Fries and the Doughnut Hole, is a relatively new affiliate of Metro Dining Delivery and said he "loves" the service.

"We have been using it for several months and have seen it only add to our sales," Funke said. "It doesn't seem to affect our walk-in business, (and it) reaches customers that would normally not come to us in that situation."

Metro will take orders and deliver from restaurants that aren't affiliates, but it costs 15 percent more.

One drawback to Metro Dining Delivery is that it does not deliver round the clock. Deliveries are available 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 10 a.m.-9 p.m. on Sunday.

The business also is closed on major holidays, which allows Welch and his employees to get an occasional day off. He also sometimes closes when weather is bad, especially when there are icy conditions.

"It's not worth me risking a driver slipping and falling trying to deliver a burrito," Welch said.

That can sometimes be a hard decision to make, because days with bad weather are often good for business.

"Cold, wet and nasty (days) — those are our winners," Welch said.

What days are slow? Surprisingly, Husker gamedays, he said.

Beyond cold days and Husker gamedays, there isn't a lot of rhyme or reason as to when business will be good and when it won't, Welch said.

"After 12 years of doing this, I can't really tell you what is the busiest day or the busiest time," he said. "There's no logic."

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Reach the writer at 402-473-2647 or molberding@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.

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Business editor/reporter

Matt Olberding is a Lincoln native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been covering business for the Journal Star since 2005.

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