Reinventing the Takeaway


How often do you order food in?  Most of the UK population does on a regular basis.  I love ordering in. Sometimes, I don’t have any food in the fridge and sometimes I just can’t be bothered to cook. I’ve even had my breakfast delivered!

Little has changed in the food delivery market over the last 20 years. Yes, you can now order over the Internet and yes you can now use aggregator websites to find a local take-away.  But it’s still very much an offline process that is a convenience rather than a choice.

You don’t know who’s cooking your food, how clean their kitchen is and when it arrives it’s often handed over by a nameless person in a motorcycle helmet who wasn’t part of the culinary process.  Sometimes late and cold.  But on the plus side you do often get a £1 off voucher, valid only after you have collected 6 vouchers and remembered to quote the discount at the time of order.

As a big fan of the Internet, I’ve noticed a lot of disruption of traditional industries …marketplace businesses in particular.  You can now book someone’s spare bedroom instead of a hotel through sites like ‘Airbnb’; you can hire your neighbour’s car at a fraction of the cost of conventional car hire services through whipcar;  you can clear out your home or get secondhand items through freecycle; you can even loan or borrow money from real people through Zopa.

The UK is one of the largest take-away markets in the world yet the sector hasn’t been fully disrupted. Until now!

I wanted to create a marketplace that enables people to order in superior food, from the best local chefs at the same price as a pizza. A marketplace in which the customer can deal directly with the chef and even meet them. Then to top it all a marketplace that has unprecedented levels of customer service.

housebites was born.

housebites became a concept in early 2011.  It will become real (hopefully) in summer 2011.  Customers will be able to come to the website and enter their postcode and see what’s cooking near them.  They’ll be able to see what chefs are local to them, their profiles and what previous customers think about their food.  They can choose a meal, order it online and the chef will whiz it round. They’ll even be able to see which of their friends have used the service and what they ordered!

Likewise, chefs upload their profiles and meal choices and have their own back-end order-fulfillment system to track, process and deliver orders. Simple.

Our chefs are regulated in the same way as any other food business except that we have an additional level of regulation – you, the customer.  Our choice will be more varied than any other service – the menu is made up of the meals being cooked by the chefs on a particular night. So it’s an ever-changing menu that you could never fully eat your way through.

housebites is a really exciting and ambitious concept. It could change the way we order in forever.

I hope you’ll enjoy using the service from home or the officeand look forward to hearing your views and feedback.

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