Theirs is a community of home-based merchants who cook primarily for the passion of it. On special days, they rally their small but loyal group of food lovers to come for a taste fest – and the people come.
This is what differentiates Good Meal Hunting’s value proposition from other online marketplaces for food. That, and the fact that its merchants offer specialty meals, some of which are prepared by cooks of other nationalities.
Have a craving for international comfort food? Then take your pick ranging from kimchi pancake to Turkish ground beef kebab with eggplant yogurt puree. Do you count calories or have specific preferences? Well, they have menus of healthy options, halal dishes and recently, vegan choices, too!
An Online Community
Good Meal Hunting, the 2015 national winner of Seedstars-Philippines’ pitching competition in Manila, is primarily an online-based startup. From time to time, it joins weekend markets as its sort-of physical stall, albeit the pop-up kind.
Today, Good Meal Hunting has rented a space in the weekend food market Mercato Centrale in Taguig City to showcase the cuisines from Vietnam, Korea and Thailand. Its CEO and co-founder Gear Fajardo stood quietly in a corner, ready to attend to the needs of the merchants manning their own stall.
“As a community,” Gear says, “our home-based cooks meet, take time to know each other and share ideas and tips on how to improve their food business.”
For the Mercato gig, Good Meal Hunting took the liberty to advance the payment for the rented stall to allow the merchant-cooks to engage with their target foodies face to face.
Because the merchants work as a community, they can leverage on their number. For instance, the rent for stalls would be equally divided based on the number of participating merchants from the community and billed to them later.
From Handholding to Empowering
All Good Meal Hunting customers and merchants are asked to register as members on its website. Once in, merchants can gain access to the site’s tools and platform to ease their daily operations and improve their productivity.
“The platform can take care of the scheduling, collection of payment, delivery and even part of bookkeeping,” Gear says. “This way, our merchant-cooks can just focus on their cooking.”
The cooks, depending on their chosen plan, can further avail of assistance ranging from catering pool opportunities, to packaging services, photography services for the online store, and sourcing.
While there is initial handholding, this is not the business’s end-goal. A check on the online literature on Good Meal Hunting shows that it is driven to eventually empower its home cook-merchants. “I find that some of our first-time merchants still need help in areas such as packaging or inventory of ingredients. So we have brought in a food technologist to train them on all aspects of food marketing,” Gear added.
In the end, for cooks who have never gone into business before, Good Meal Hunting offers them an opportunity to learn—and Yes, to eventually become effective entrepreneurs.