When you’re in need of faster fast food, Foodida wants to be there for you. The company is creating an on-demand community that can deliver food when you order it. Or you can go to a fast-food place yourself and pick up someone else’s order to deliver to them, earning some cash that perhaps pays for your own food.
If this works, it could transform what “fast food” means in the $200 billion quick service industry. Foodida has launched its service in select communities in Los Angeles. Residents in these areas can order fast food through Foodida and then crowdsource the delivery. If a community member responds, he or she will pick up the food and deliver it to you. You pay a fee, which goes to the delivery driver and to Foodida. This gets fast food to the person who wants it and some extra money to the person delivering it, said Stefan Fraas, CEO of Pacific Palisades, Calif.-based Foodida, in an interview with VentureBeat.
“We are a community that allows everyone to either order food or make money doing a delivery with one seamless app experience,” Fraas said.
The company has launched in Santa Monica, Venice, Thousand Oaks, and the San Fernando Valley — all suburbs of Los Angeles.
But the company isn’t just an Uber for fast food. In the Uber model, there’s a master-servant relationship. One person is the customer and one is the driver. But with Foodida, everybody can serve someone else or be served.
“We’re a different take on crowdsourcing,” Fraas said. “If someone craves fast food they can either go out and get their own food, and while doing so can pick up food for someone else and make a few bucks, or they can stay home and have it delivered to them by another Foodida user. The decision is theirs: Go for the convenience or go for the cash.”
With this model, a lot of people can make occasional deliveries while getting their own food or while out on other errands, rather than having fewer people doing a lot of the deliveries, Fraas said.
“We wanted to make this so simple that people can do it during a spare moment of their day,” he said. “Why not bring someone else’s Starbucks when you are getting your own. That makes yours free. We are not looking for people who want jobs. We want people who want to monetize their errands.”
In addition, the community is likely to be more personal. That’s because people are not going to go out of their way to make deliveries. Rather, the closer the recipient is to someone’s own home or work, the more likely they are to undertake the delivery. You simply make yourself available and claim an order on the app when you want to make a delivery. Customers can also make multiple orders, stringing together a Starbucks latte with a Big Mac. This kind of efficiency keeps the price of the delivery fairly low.
Healthy or not, roughly 80 million Americans eat fast food, and Fraas said that in a five-square mile area of the San Fernando Valley, there are 32 Subways, 24 Starbucks, and 22 McDonald’s.
“They’re like everywhere, and the person doing the delivery is likely very close by,” Fraas said. “If someone near you wants food, you are in a position to make the delivery very easily.”
Fast food is craving-driven. And sometimes you might have to pay a little more to get it at a particular time of day. If you place an order at 1 a.m., you might pay more because there aren’t that many delivery people available.
There are rivals to this service, such as Door Dash, but they make deliveries of all kinds and include unique restaurants that might be farther away. That makes driving distances likely to be longer and delivery times longer as well, Fraas said.
Foodida is raising a round of funding now, and it hopes to roll the service out to larger areas soon. Foodida was founded last year, and it launched its first test market in October. It officially launched in Santa Monica, Calif. in January. The startup only has about 15 employees. The beauty of the system is that it doesn’t really take a ton of effort to add new delivery drivers or restaurants in new territories.
“We have some investors who actually ordered from us,” Fraas said. “For me, fast food used to be something I did infrequently. Now, when I’m craving something, I have it on my doorstep in a short time. That makes it a really good experience.”
And, hopefully, the next service we’ll get is on-demand exercise.