Foodstuff is a business which recently launched in Manchester. Their focus is on supporting independent eateries whilst providing greener ways of delivering and paying employees a National Living Wage.
During July, you get free delivery on orders Mon-Wed 11:30-2pm! You can also get 15% off on one of your meals by using the code FEEDME15.
Read my interview with Foodstuff’s city manager for Manchester, Nok Vickers, and discover more about this amazing business.
The interview with Foodstuff
Who are the founders of Foodstuff and how did it start up?
Founders Toby Savill and James Perry were friends at university in Newcastle. Food Stuff was a lockdown baby born in May 2020, during the first lockdown, they were both on furlough. Toby was living in a van in the bottom of James’ garden in Cambridge! They’ve always had an idea of going into business together, with a vague idea that it would be about food. When lockdown hit, they decided to go for it as a challenge to themselves.
Initially, it started with just the two of them on their bikes and weren’t making money. They were just trying to support local independents in Cambridge, and connecting them with customers who like supporting independents. They weren’t charging fees to any of the restaurants and everything was communicated through a WhatsApp group. Once it got more popular, they grabbed their mates to help them in return for payments in food and beers.
They quickly realised there was real business potential there. They got investment from some angel investors and hired a team of paid riders. It was very successful in Cambridge and from there they took the business model to Bristol 4-5 months ago and on the back of that success, they decided to come to Manchester.
What is the meaning behind the name and logo?
The logo is just fun, rebellious and different. Toby and James are just fun guys. The symbol of the hand is a bit like rebelling against the standards of the takeaway delivery industry. Foodstuff is just simple, it’s all about food and everything, the vendors, the customers and the community. We have a VIP page for VIP customers called Food and Stuff, where the community shares events surrounding cycling or independent eating. That page is on Facebook.
Why is Foodstuff better than other delivering apps or websites for businesses and delivery people?
We provide good quality food, which has been tried and tested by the team. We support only independents. No chains. The idea is that everyone is treated equally and it’s about the community. We put the vendors first. We have a start-up approach which we plan on continuing. The fact that we have a city manager for each city means that there is hands-on support for restaurants, so it’s very personable. Every time we do onboardings, I’m there helping people go live and providing support over calls and in person. We take their feedback into account.
Businesses pay no sign-up or monthly fees. Popular delivery apps charge 35-40% commission to independents, with large chains getting a much better deal at 10%. At Foodstuff, we have a subscription model where we have different tiers based on how much money the business is turning over with us, and that fee only increases as their sales grow. So it averages at 15% commission rate.
The first tier is if you make up to £1000, you pay £150 a month, up to £2000 sales is £250 a month. We also have a safety net for circumstances where they might be shut for COVID cases etc. as we do recognise it’s a very tough time for all.
We pay our riders a National Living Wage, so they have their delivery rate and we top it up. It’s all emission-free delivery, so it’s all on bicycles, although we have a fun electric tuk-tuk which is coming to Cambridge. Sometimes electric bicycles are used as in Bristol where it is very, very hilly.
When you say independent businesses, how do you classify these? Would businesses with a few outlets count?
Generally, if you have more than 5 branches or are in more than 2 cities, we wouldn’t classify you as an independent. You do have some genuine independents where the owners are still involved in it, it’s not been bought by a big chain. They still have their independent values. It’s on a case-by-case basis.
The main thing is that you’re not going to have Wagamamas, McDonald’s or Pret on there.
What’s your catchment area within Manchester?
We launched in May and we’re based just in the city centre at the moment. Our restaurants are based in the Northern Quarter, Ancoats and Deansgate We are planning on expanding in the city centre; we are working with a couple of kitchens in Ardwick.
Foodstuff works because rather than having a set delivery radius that everyone is included in, the delivery radius is 2 miles from each restaurant. The reason why it’s 2 miles is that because it’s delivered all on bicycles and we don’t want to run the risk of the food getting cold. We also found that 2 miles is not too tiring for our cyclists.
There are expanding and plan on launching in Chorlton at the end of July, and hopefully other areas in future. We are also planning on launching in the city of Bath soon.
Are there any future developments we should be looking forward to?
We do have plans for a mobile app in future. James, one of the co-founders, is currently working with the tech team to build a customer-facing app that will be released soon. We do want to be everywhere but we also want to ensure we maintain the core values of a start-up as we are growing.
Is there anything else you want to add?
We are always looking for new vendors so if you are interested in joining, please apply!
Also, anyone wanting to be a delivery cyclist can apply at the bottom of the page.
Hope you have enjoyed reading this interview with Foodstuff.
If you are interested in trying out Foodstuff, there’s no better time to do so now. During July, you get free delivery on orders Mon-Wed 11:30-2pm! You can also get 15% off on one of your meals by using the code FEEDME15.