It has never been easier to found a tech start-up. It's so easy, in fact, that just about everyone you run into around Old Street is either working on their own start-up, working on someone else's, or talking about one. The barriers to entry have dropped dramatically over the past ten years alongside the widespread adoption of cloud computing, the rise of object-oriented plain text programming languages and the proliferation of the mini supercomputers we all carry around in a mobile phone costume.
As it turns out, it has also never been easier to get a food into the food scene. Just as lean principles can be applied to traditional tech start-ups, the same can be done with food. You’ve got street markets instead of landing pages, pop-ups instead of MVPs and – thanks to the increase of branded restaurants in the UK – rapid scalability.
Once you have found a new food concept that fits the market, there is a whole host of new tools and services available to help you distribute and promote your product. Promotional tools such as Passbook on iOS, and cross-platform tools such as Locappy, are making it even easier to advertise your restaurant or food truck without the traditional overheads, allowing low-margin businesses to test out brand marketing concepts and home in on their key demographics. Meanwhile, running low-cost Facebook ads as a method to zero in on your target market is a great way to test copy and images through brand association.
Anything that can help a food company get large volume with minimal overheads is a leg-up
Food science has always had its toys. From Thermomix to sous-vide, there has never been a lack of technology in the kitchen, but the past few years have brought about an increase in the softer side of tech. Online ordering platforms had traditionally been poorly designed, badly managed and difficult to cash out of, but companies such as Delishery are taking the pain out of that process –meaning that, rather than spend ages trying to get a system up and running, you can have it done in minutes and without a merchant bank account.
Early on in any food company, big orders are a lifesaver, so anything that can help get large volume with minimal overheads is a leg-up. A new company, City Pantry, is providing just that by streamlining and delivering large office orders for street-food traders. And when it comes to bricks and mortar, the last thing anyone wants to see is empty seats at a table – so a new app, Ruffl, makes it easy to find empty tables at restaurants near you and book directly through them.
As new apps and platforms have been developed to remedy the back-of-house pain points and lower the cost of getting started, there has been a growth in the number of quality food outlets popping up. The tech is doing a great job of letting us focus on making things, and making them work.
Brittney Bean is the co-founder of Songdrop and MotherClucker
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