Food ordering apps have exploded in popularity over the pandemic — with convenience and tasty treats making the perfect combination to cure the lockdown blues.
Despite the surge in demand, one couple from Stockport say local food outlets are ‘being crippled’ by sky-high commission rates — so have decided to take matters into their own hands.
The pair live together in Romiley and have launched their own Stockport Eats app, with the focus squarely being on getting a better deal for both businesses and customers with lower prices.
Now, after a strong start, Matthew and Rachael have told the Manchester Evening News they want to be as big as the major food apps in Stockport ‘in two years’.
The partners initially began their venture while on furlough last year.
Feeling a ‘bit fed up’, and spending a lot of time on social media, the couple began to notice how many people were asking for food recommendations online.
“I thought I would create a [Facebook] group for food reviews,” Rachael says, when asked how she responded to seeing those recommendations.
“Within three months we had 5,000 members. We were getting takeaways contacting us to review [them].
“We found we had a massive value.”
Sign up to the free MEN email newsletter
Get the latest updates from across Greater Manchester direct to your inbox with the free MEN newsletter
You can sign up very simply by following the instructions here
One example of this ‘value’ is a particular restaurant receiving ‘11 bookings’ just hours after Rachael posted her report of its food on the group.
As the group’s popularity began to soar, so did Matthew and Rachael’s contact with the town’s eateries.
And that provided them with an idea.
“As we got speaking to the business owners, they were telling us how they were not making any money from the apps,” Rachael added.
“They are not really making any money, but they have become so reliant on them as people do not want to ring up anymore.
“They’re being crippled.
“So we thought we’d do something locally — we looked into creating our own app.”
Having launched in mid-June, the app now boasts 40 Stockport restaurants — and the pair hope to reach triple figures by next summer.
Currently, the app only takes half of what other major food ordering apps do in terms of commission, the pair say, which is also good for customers.
“It’s a cheaper price for the restaurants,” Matthew says.
“We are saving everyone money in Stockport. That was our motivation.”
The duo are also keen to ensure the app pays back to Stockport — by adding initiatives to donate produce to a food bank with every order, and supporting other local charities.
It’s an inclusive, ambitious project they’re undertaking, and it’s only just getting started.
“We aim to be as big as JustEat, Deliveroo, and UberEats in two years’ time at a local level”, Matthew says, planting his business’ flag in the ground.
“Our feedback has been so good.”
Rachael adds: “We have worked really hard. We have got everything.
“We are constantly adding new companies.”
It might sound like a bold target, but it really does seem the Romiley couple are confident of hitting it.