Foodee is Bringing Exciting Local Culinary Gems to the Workplace
Point Roberts, WA and Vancouver, BC - April 8, 2019 (Investorideas.com Newswire) Investorideas.com (www.investorideas.com), a global investor news source covering the food and beverage sector issues an exclusive interview with Vancouver-based Foodee CEO, Ryan Spong, discussing how he connects the top local owner-operated restaurants with innovative companies looking for a competitive edge.
"It use to be fine to bring in cafeteria food but we are seeing now that having the best of local chefs and restaurants that a city has to offer tends to be a competitive advantage for Companies."
From restaurateur to CEO of the fastest growing corporate catering concierge, Foodee, Ryan Spong and his team are establishing that lunch time in the office doesn't have to be drab or anxiety inducing.
The Vancouver dining scene is bustling and right in the center of all the excitement is the city's most vibrant West Coast/Mexican inspired restaurant, Tacofino. Once a popular food truck option, Tacofino has enjoyed success as a charming fixture in the Vancouver restaurant scene. Spong explains how his experience in the restaurant business coupled with a 12 year tenure in investment banking made it ripe for the moment for him to launch Foodee as a corporate meal providing service."...when I moved backed to Vancouver I actually left investment banking to become more operational and as luck would have it I owned some restaurants in Vancouver. One of the restaurant's people know me for here is called Tacofino. We started as food trucks and then moved into restaurants. There is about 7-8 of them now. I had spent about half my life in restaurants and half in corporate offices so that is a convenient background to have as the CEO of this company. That bridges the two worlds."
Organizing lunch in an office is no easy feat. When you take into consideration personal preferences and dietary restriction for sometimes upwards of 500 people the task can seem near impossible.
"What people don't really understand about the office admin is that ordering lunch is kind of a thankless and irritating task that they weren't necessarily trained or hired to do. It also can be quite an anxious moment. You might have 50 or 100 people in your office who have low blood sugar and are waiting for the food to show up, and if it's late, or inaccurate, if it's not good, it can be a stressful situation for that EA."
When Spong joined Foodee in 2013 it had been sitting a few different models, all of which had the same problem-How do you address the issue of the office meal influx during the lunch hour, all the while empowering local companies and restaurants?
"Foodee had rightly landed on addressing the corporate market when it came to addressing food and catering with its technology platform, but hadn't quite landed on how. So when I came along and met the founder I had a bunch of ideas on how we could improve our business and really add value to restaurants...so we got together and white-boarded things out and re-launched in September 2013 as a corporate catering concierge"
Setting out to create a platform which addresses the individual preferences of each employee all in a timely manner is not an easy problem to solve. The ability to customize each order in real time is essential for a successful lunch hour.
"The software essentially starts out with a dashboard where the admin can manage all these things on a per employee basis. They can manage notifications, preferences, budgets, on a individual team and user level. We also get feedback and preferences based on their ordering history."
Powering local economies is yet another goal at the forefront of Foodees mission. Rather than partnering with large food chains Foodee can provide an edge that no other company can, while sending the money back into the hands of locally owned companies.
"For the local economy for each city we go into we are leaving the lion's share of the money in the hands of the local economy...from that side the restaurateurs get a lot of benefit partnering with us. For the corporate clients that we service, feeding your staff has become kind of table stakes. We see a lot of war for talent these days and a lot of innovative companies are feeding their staff to attract and retain top chair talent."
Having expanded into twelve different markets, ten of which are in the US, Foodee has its finger on the pulse of what is driving the corporate catering market and intends to lead the way.
"...the big players in the industry will start to see some consolidation around these ideas and for Foodees part we want to be the software solution that powers the corporate aspect of that
Interview by Noel Campbell for Investorideas.com
About Ryan Spong, CEO of Foodee
Ryan Spong is a reformed investment banker, successful partner and restaurateur of the popular Tacofino and Superbaba brands in Vancouver and now CEO and co-founder of the Vancouver-based food-tech startup, Foodee. He is a founding board member of the Knives & Forks Investment Co-op where he advocates for local businesses and economies.
Ryan was recruited from his MBA at the University of Toronto in 2003 to a formal career in investment banking. Three years later, he founded Mainstreet Advisors, a boutique financing company. There, he and his team raised tens of millions of dollars for public companies, some of which he served as CEO and CFO. Over the years, he started, grew and sold several innovative businesses, including Raincity Rock and Preform Construction. In 2010, he invested in Tacofino Cantina and helped lead its growth to eight stores. In 2013, he joined Foodee as CEO and put in place growth strategies that led to the 2017 and 2018 Deloitte Fast50 Awards.
Vancouver-based Foodee has since grown by 1125% and serves 12 major North American cities with more than 700 restaurant partners. Foodee is among the first companies to receive investment from the $100 million-dollar BC Tech Fund in 2017. This is due to the company's considerable growth and ability to create jobs and strengthen local economies. Foodee most recently partnered with DoorDash to support further expansion.
Foodee's growing list of clients includes top names in tech, finance and consulting, such as Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, Visa, Comcast, and The Weather Channel. Its innovative approach is the secret to success. Foodee evolved its unique business model, finding its niche as a software platform with innovative partnerships that allow for greater transparency and personalized customer preferences. The company aims to become the largest local food provider to offices without owning any kitchens, cooking any food or delivering any meals.
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