Chef Shuttle Grows With New Ownership, LaFrance Investment

by Lee Hogan  on Monday, Apr. 28, 2014 3:39 pm  

Wes Kirtley (left), Ryan Herget (middle) and Kyle Crossland (right) became the owners of Chef Shuttle in January. Since the trio, all in their 20s, took over, the local restaurant food delivery company has grown into four markets with more than 50 restaurants. (Photo by Lee Hogan)

The business was beginning to gain traction, and that particular night, orders were picking up. Much like he does now, Herget said he was preparing to deliver a few orders and came across the name of Jason LaFrance of Dale Capital Partners in Little Rock.

"All of a sudden I saw Jason LaFrance pop up, " he said. "I put the dots together, and said 'that's the order I'm taking.'"

LaFrance says he was one of the few people using Chef Shuttle before Herget and his pals took over.

That February night he was impressed with the young entreprenuer that came to his home. LaFrance said he took the food out of the bags to make sure everything was okay before leaving. The meeting left an impression on LaFrance and his brother, Stephen.

"Our real attraction to the business was Ryan is an impressive guy," he said. "Kyle and Wes are as well, but I know Ryan better than anyone. When you meet the owner of the company because he's delivering at 8 o'clock at night to your house, that's a good sign."

After asking for LaFrance's business card, Herget followed up with an email a few days later, which led to a meeting in the days that followed. Ultimately, Herget reached an agreement to partner with the LaFrance brothers and Dan Andrews. The papers are expected to be signed this week, but LaFrance says they are already operating as partners now.

"Stephen and I just liked the story, obviously, we like the prospects from a business standpoint, but I loved that Ryan is a local guy, he's young, he's hungry, he hustles," LaFrance said. "He's working from 7 a.m. to 11 or 12 o'clock at night. He's just the kind of guy you want to be in business with."

In addition, to that, LaFrance is a real fan of the company.

"Selfishly, I just love the business, too," he said. "I love the fact we have a delivery option like this in Little Rock that we've never had."

With the partnership, Herget, Crossland and Kirtley are still in charge of the business, but the LaFrance brothers and Andrews provide help with business experience and financial backing.

Herget says without the partnership, Chef Shuttle would not have been able to expand into four markets in its first three months.

"Just having their support, having them there to help us grow, bounce ideas off of, we couldn't be more excited about the future," he said.



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