With the arrival of the first lockdown in March 2020, Lauren Lee, the founder of food truck and catering business Fräulein Kimchi, and Sarah Durante, who owns street food and catering business Humble Pie, knew they had to act fast as all their food market and catering jobs evaporated. A couple of days later, their weekly delivery service was up and running.
From the start, the pair decided they would set up their own delivery service rather than using a platform like Lieferando – which takes a commission of 30%. ‘We don’t operate as a restaurant, so we don’t have the built-in customer base that would order food on demand,’ says Lauren. Another reason was quality control. ‘We serve home-style meals that can either be reheated and served immediately or frozen and served later – not warm food on demand like Lieferando would deliver,’ adds Sarah.
To kick things off, Lauren took to social media to ask who would be interested in a delivery service. Within 24 hours, she had several hundred names and email addresses. The pair created an email list, uploaded it to Mailchimp and started sending a biweekly newsletter to customers with the menus. Initially, Sarah and Lauren used the simple software tool provided by JotForm for orders, but they later switched to Shopify.
The pair already had a pool of drivers and vehicles they had used for their previous businesses, but needed to employ more staff. They also needed tech support – ‘someone who could help us customise our online ordering system’, says Lauren. ‘We’ve been doing delivery for almost a year and we’ve been updating our processes continuously. The foundation we have now is pretty solid.’
How their weekly drop service works
• Every Thursday morning, Sarah and Lauren send out a newsletter to all their subscribers that contains the details of that week’s new menu. Orders are then accepted right up until Monday evening at 8pm.
• On Tuesday, the meals are prepared, packaged, labelled and then refrigerated overnight. Lauren and Sarah manually work out the driving routes for their drivers and then send a brief follow-up email to customers giving them their specific delivery window.
• On Wednesday morning, the team packs the meals into the bags, loads up the vehicles and the drivers head out on their routes. The process begins all over again on Thursday morning.
The business in numbers
Number of orders per week:
Average order per customer:
Average profit margin per order:
Delivery fee per order:
Fräulein Kimchi has:
Humble Pie has:
Number of vehicles: 2
This article was first published in Courier issue 40, April/May 2021. To purchase the issue or become a subscriber, head to our webshop.