Photo by Candice Ge, Staff Photographer
One of the few things you can get away with only in college is getting food delivered from a restaurant two blocks away from your home, and not feeling too guilty about it. University of California, Santa Barbara Alumnus and IV Menus owner Patrick Galoustian was the first to start such a miraculous delivery service in Isla Vista.
In the midst of his interview with the Bottom Line, Galoustian got a phone call to make a delivery. He invited my photographer and I to join him on the delivery run. “Come on, let’s go,” he said. “We can continue in the van. I’m a small businessman trying to make it, you know?”
Within seven minutes of receiving the initial call, the three of us and his two dogs managed to squeeze inside the car, pick up the food from the restaurant and deliver it to the customer. It was all very exciting to see firsthand the hard work he puts into his business.
All of this started when his martial arts studio in Isla Vista failed. “I was in a very difficult situation,” he said. “The economy had crashed and a martial arts studio was a luxury item. I had no intention of ever doing the delivery business. I was hungry. I lost my business, I lost my everything. I was living out of a van and I said, ‘What can I do?’”
He started doing deliveries in 2008, after driving for one restaurant in Isla Vista. Soon after, he started a basic website with menus of restaurants and allowed people to call in orders. He put things on hold, but came back two years later and launched IV Menus.
Starting IV Menus wasn’t everything he expected. “It was a hundred, a million times worse,” Galoustian said. “If I knew it was going to be this hard, I would have tried a lot harder at being successful in my martial arts business. I don’t think I had an option in my martial arts business. Not everything is built is to last forever.”
Even today, Galoustian faces challenges with his small business. “The biggest challenge is that you have to have to have a good supply chain, and my supply chain is technology,” he said. “The company I partnered up with took three months to put up one page. I was partnered up with someone who didn’t see the bigger picture. I had a bigger vision. My business is still running on paper and everything is running on app. My new system is going to be app based. Technology, technology, technology. I have conceptual points down, but I don’t have the technical skills.”
Nonetheless, Galoustian still manages to remain positive and is quite the jokester. It’s easy to see the determination and drive Galoustian has to succeed.
“What sets us apart is that these businesses know that I’ve been dealing with them for 20 years — and they trust me,” he said. “I’ve known [Freebirds] for 15 years and I’ve known [The Habit] for ten years. I’ve always been very square about my business and they know me. They know I’m a local. There’s a level of trust and friendship that [competitors] can’t develop. The other aspect is that I want to provide a better service for students at a more cost-effective price.”
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Galoustian has a big vision for IV Menus in the upcoming future. “We’re going to launch this new platform we’ve been working on for two and a half years,” he said. In the long run, Galoustian hopes to create a national brand delivery service. He let me know that he would love to work with college students who want experience in marketing, sales or even web design. Anybody who’s interested can definitely talk to him.
The UCSB alumnus who graduated in studio arts with an emphasis in interface technologies and evolution of cyborg-ism offers some sound advice to his fellow gauchos.
“If your professor gives you a B in a class, it might be that he’s a B quality teacher,” he said. “Now that I’m an adult, I would really stress for students to realize that if they’re doing good in all of their classes, and if they have a B quality teacher, they’re going to get a B in the class. Don’t put these professors on a pedestal by all means. You might be A quality material and they’re the B quality material.”
He also added, “Don’t forget that 99% of it is the experience, so don’t forget to enjoy the ride … Create memories so that one day when they ask you to share some of your fondest memories, you really have to filter out a lot before you can find one that’s acceptable to share. Also in your innocence, don’t do anything foolish. Don’t do compromising things that’ll affect you in the future. You’ll be surprised that in your college years your innocence, your naive-ness and your open-heartedness will be used against you.”
If you ever find yourself passing by the IV Menus office, be sure to stop by and say hi. It was hard determining who was more friendly: Galoustian himself or his two dogs Geenee and Snuggles.