With no concerts, sporting events or parties to attend, life has become pretty narrowly focused on food, technology … and more food. Earlier this week, we told you about the app that helps connect hospitality workers with jobs — and there’s more where that came from.
There are several more Charlotte companies that have used the pandemic down time to develop and launch websites and apps that connect food lovers with food makers. We’re here to give you all of the tasty insights:
On March 1, Kravin Kitchen will make its public debut as a marketplace that connects “Kravers” with personal chefs. Whether a foodie is looking for some pre-made, chef-prepared meals or wants to connect with a chef for a private dinner or event, Kravin Kitchen brings them together.
“Many chefs want to own a restaurant, but capital restrictions mean not everyone can,” said André Collins, co-founder and CEO. “We wanted to create a shared marketplace — like an Amazon.com for chefs — where we could connect foodpreneurs with people who want a delicious meal.”
On the Kravin Kitchen site, users can view prepared meal options, get a detailed ingredient list and read about each chef’s culinary background. The chefs are hand-selected by the Kravin Kitchen team and must meet food safety certification guidelines. Each chef is responsible for setting their own minimum order amount, minimum fee for private events and coordinating pick up and delivery options.
As part of its commitment to the Charlotte community, Kravin Kitchen will donate a percentage of its profits to a local nonprofit organization. “I immigrated to Charlotte from Jamaica as an NCAA track and field runner. To me and to our team, giving back to the community that took me in is an important part of running a local business,” Collins told CharlotteFive.
At checkout, Kravers can select from a drop-down menu of more than 200 area nonprofits or enter their own.
You may have spotted the InTown Food Delivery bicycle team toting food from the more than 60 restaurants the app partners with in Charlotte’s urban core. The brainchild of Dianna Ward, who also owns Charlotte NC Tours and founded Charlotte Joy Rides, InTown started as a direct result of COVID-19.
“In February, I refunded 30K in future segue tours for the segue businesses I own in several cities and started saying to other local business owners that I know: ’Put on your seat belts — this is going to be rough,’” Ward told CharlotteFive. “As the pandemic went on, I started hearing from my friends in the restaurant business just how much the DoorDashes and GrubHubs of the world were taking. I thought, ‘There has to be a way to create a food delivery service that actually helps local restaurants stay in business instead of taking all of their profit.’” So she did.
Ward repurposed four of the e-bikes she uses for Charlotte NC Tours and dedicated them to delivery. With the help of the Small Business Innovation Grant from Charlotte Center City Partners and Honeywell, as well as the BeyGOOD Impact Fund from Beyonce’s foundation, she purchased a technology platform, signed up 20 locally-owned restaurants, uploaded menus and launched the InTown Food Delivery app in October.
“It’s a perfect fit for our no-harm motto — we charge $0 commission to the businesses, we’re kind to the environment and our drivers making a living wage,” Ward said. “I’m even out there making deliveries as part of our free-spirited cycle family.”
“The profit margins in the restaurant industry are so thin, so having a service like InTown that doesn’t charge any commission is tremendous — it really makes all the difference in the world. Plus, we’re supporting another local business which is always great,” said, Scott Harris, owner and founder of Viva Raw. “Getting delivery orders from the PostMates and GrubHubs of the world is really bittersweet because they are taking 30% right off the top. At this point we’re writing those orders off as more advertising and marketing than anything else.”
InTown now has more than 60 restaurants and six delivery bikes operating to deliver food within Charlotte’s urban core. Users pay $2.99 for the first mile, 70 cents each additional mile and a transaction fee that is a percentage of the total purchase to cover costs. Services are available seven days a week from 11 a.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Google and Yelp reviews are great, but is there really any substitute for the recommendations of people you actually know and trust? Findabite doesn’t think so. Three Charlotte natives — Dimitri Gonzales, Logan Benson and Brett Hushon — got together to create an app that provides relevant restaurant and meal recommendations from people in your network.
“With all of us either living in Charlotte or being a part of Charlotte, we wanted to bring something to the city that has never been done before, and that can actually really help people in their daily lives,” Gonzales said. “One of our main goals and vision is to bring the food community together, and we figured we might as well give it a try in our home city.”
The trio is planning to launch the app in early summer 2021.
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