Inverness Eats is a new food delivery app set to launch in the Highland Capital next month.
A Highland entrepreneur is adding a new business to his portfolio which will put the community and the needs of local restaurants at the heart of it.
Chris Mather, who lives in Inverness, has revealed plans to launch delivery business Inverness Eats in mid March, which will see hospitality firms and local shops be able to sign up to the delivery service without having to pay extortionate rates.
A direct competitor to national food delivery apps and websites operating in the local area, Chris, who runs luxury concierge and travel company Private Concierge Scotland, will give 50% of the profits of the business to local groups and charities, not to mention reinvest the other 50% into marketing the firms listed on his app and website.
The more affordable model will see firms sign up on a 7.5% commission basis which will allow them to be listed on the website and benefit from marketing which is bespoke to their firm.
Community at the heart
Inspired to do something for the local community having not been able to operate his luxury firm since last March, Chris feels it is important to give back and look after the local hospitality scene which has fallen victim to the continuous restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.
He said: “I have another business which I run, a luxury concierge and travel company, which isn’t operational just now because of Covid-19.
“I was thinking about what I could do while things weren’t moving so much with my other firm and I started thinking about food delivery services. I was looking at how some were treating their staff and how they were working with businesses. Some firms get millions from big fast food takeaways which they always feature and I knew the local businesses, who were also paying fees, wouldn’t be featured in the way these big guys would be.
“So I thought about creating a service which benefits the businesses of Inverness, the local economy, the local people and the community, then there’s a real feel-good factor there.
“Covid-19 is killing businesses across the country and I’m in a fortunate enough position that I can do something like this. I wanted to help the other businesses in Inverness thrive a bit more, so this platform allows hotels, pubs, bars and restaurants and even nightclubs the chance to reopen on a delivery or collection basis.”
Working on a smaller commission in comparison to the other national food delivery chains operating in the area, Chris is determined to give back as much as he can and has selected to support a local mental health charity and the Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI).
He added: “We have kept the commission as low as we can and are really low in comparison to the big food delivery services. Of the 7.5% commission we charge, we donate 50% back to the business owner in advertising to help them with marketing their offering via our social media and adverts. The other 50% we give to charity and this year we’re donating it to Mikeysline and the RNLI Loch Ness and North Kessock Lifeboat Stations.
“It is a feel-good factor for the customer so that they know when they are ordering they are giving to the business and donating to charity. The business doesn’t take so much of a hit as it is pennies instead of pounds, and they are getting more support. This business isn’t about making lots of money quickly, it is about giving back and helping people. It is more of a community-based business.”
With more than a dozen restaurants listed on the website, which is set to launch soon, Chris is adamant there is a wide range of cuisine which will ensure everyone’s tastes are catered for.
“We have more than 10 businesses signed up already and we’re growing every week which is great. We’re launching on March 10 and will have a whole host of businesses on the website,” said Chris.
“We wanted to make sure we had at least 15 to 20 firms on there so there’s variety. We want to keep people using the platform, so we’re just getting more and more people signed up. Some businesses have lined up already, including Little Italy, Ness Mahal, Nessie Treats, Baked by Jen, George’s Thai and Indian Restaurant, Trome, La Tortilla Asesina and The Black Isle Smoke Pitt to name a few.
This business isn’t about making lots of money quickly, it is about giving back and helping people.”
“The likes of Just Eat only delivers two or three miles outwith the city centre whereas our firm will deliver anywhere. The restaurant needs to be confident that they can deliver to these areas with their own drivers, and some have said they’ll go down as far as Dingwall and to Nairn and Elgin. We’re starting in the city centre but we’ll be working our way out so that smaller towns near Inverness can take advantage.
“Inverness Eats should eventually be huge and I want to take the concept to places like Skye. We’ll just continue to grow it.”
Restaurant delivery drivers
While those who sign up either need to provide their own dedicated delivery driver, or choose to be introduced to a third party driver by Chris, the businesses who sign up have a say in the way their food is delivered and have full control over those working for them, instead of risking working with drivers who may not have their best interests at heart.
Chris said: “The majority of the delivery pressure is on the restaurant. There’s a better quality standard if it is someone that the restaurant knows. We can help with delivery, but a driver who is employed by the restaurant is more likely to ensure the food gets there safely, rather than getting independent drivers or taxis to take the food who don’t understand how fragile it is.
“We’re happy to recruit drivers for the restaurants but we’re not really offering a delivery service ourselves. I have got people I can introduce to the restaurants. That is why big delivery firms cost to much as they need to pay the drivers. It helps keep costs low, too.
“The restaurant will get a tablet and will receive all the orders through this. It will print a receipt and the kitchen can then make it up. It is very slick and easy to use for both the companies and customers. The businesses dictate when they take the orders and it gives them complete control. They can pause it or turn it off when they are too busy.
“The way it is set up, the restaurant will also be able to take pre-orders online for the next day or whatever.”
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