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Looking for advice - I'm developing an online booking system for local chefs to sell food.

Whats the mission statement?

The Table empowers chefs from all over the world to turn their passion for food into a business. Whether its creating a restaurant from within the home or selling food from your doorstep.

Blockers/ barriers to entry?

One of the biggest blockers and barriers to entries is the food regulations needed to sell food from within your home. Does anyone have any experience with this?

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    I am a co-founder in a business that did EXACTLY this. We did ok regionally and amassed significant investment (seven figures) but covid came along and pretty much fucked us.

    All I will say about regulations is this: uber hasn't been out of court a single day, somewhere in the world in years. Regulations are only regulations until something happens that makes them change.

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      Where about's did you start your company and what would be your biggest piece of advice?

      Regulations are obviously going to hold us back but I also think it could be one of the biggest benefits as most don't dare go into this space and change status quo of how we eat as a community.

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        We started in Scotland.

        Biggest piece of advice I’d say is… well this maybe isn’t advice more of an experiential tip. If your cooks don’t see success basically on their first night they will give up.

        I don’t think they realise the commitment involved. The problem here is the same as with any 2 sided marketplace. Getting supply and demand to be present at the same time and in the same location is so so so so hard to manage and sadly for something like this it is key.

        For advice I would say start focussed. Pick a smallish area and recruit as many home cooks as you can once you do, batter the area for customers and make sure everyone knows what’s happening at the right time. Do a build up thing like 5 days to go… 4 days to go… etc

        Make sure that on the day people are looking to order food that there are cooks waiting to sell it.

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    Hi! I worked in the Hospitality industry for 17 years. While I am not very familiar with the regulations, I believe one of the main challenges for you would be actually getting good chefs into your app. Most of them still prefer working for big names and working solo for a chef is super hard.

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      Thanks for your feedback! Much appreciated1

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    I, along with my wife, explored this space deeply a couple of years ago targeting the Greater Toronto Area. There are a lot of home chefs here and they sell largely from Craigslist and private WhatsApp/Facebook/etc chat groups.

    The largest problem here was that creating a marketplace put the onus of meeting regulations on the marketplace.

    We also explored SaaS for these Chefs, but found that the ones who were successful at doing this as a business were happy with the systems they had in place. The ones who were doing this as a hobby, didn’t really want care to do it at a larger scale. And the people who fantasized about selling great dishes they made, didn’t really want to put in the work or packaging and delivering it to strangers.

    I still think there is a there there but haven’t been able to find an angle to exploit it

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      Very interesting insight from what you tried to start in Toronto.

      I definitely think its tough convincing chefs but I feel theres opportunity to gain competitive advantage at the staff by undercutting other platforms and offering the service for free for the initial chefs joining the platform. May I ask why chefs already operating on other platforms were reluctant to join yours if there was nothing to lose?

      Thanks for your advice

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        We were hoping to build a revenue based bootstrapped business. So there would have been a monthly cost. Also the ones doing it successfully were largely happy with the systems they had already put in place. So they were wary of spending time trying out a new system. (And in our case, helping us build it by being available to answer questions and provide UX feedback). It just wasn't a pressing pain point for them.

        The biggest pressing pain point was actually around delivery.

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          Great feedback Saq7! Will take it into account when trying to bring chefs on board! Thanks again

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    Eatwith do home restaurants in a way
    Any of the food delivery apps could work with takeaway/delivery there are many well funded, well marketed ones

    Regulation is really different between places but I'm guessing most of it falls on the chef's business not the platform
    There are YouTube vids of ppl opening a fake restaurant under one of the platforms that sold food from an apartment bought the local supermarket (they gave back the money with the order plus food and explanation i.e. didn't scam customers justed showed how easy it works)

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      Its true - the big platforms are capable of deliveries/ takeaways but lack the sense of authenticity and good home cooked food.

      I think regulation is definitely going to be tricky but as you said the onus can be put on the chef. Although reputation is is something that needs to be protected.

      Thanks for your advice!

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