Cape start-up creates digital catering marketplace
A Cape Town-based start-up has launched an online marketplace for catering services that makes it easy for businesses and individuals to connect with quality, certified caterers within their community.
Boozeonline lists caterers for a variety of functions and allows users to choose based on best fit and previous client reviews.
The self-funded start-up is for now operating in the Mother City, and has plans to expand to other cities in the coming months.
The marketplace was pivoted from an online liquor store business model by three friends, Paseka Segaole, Kingsley Chauke and Puso Ramoroa.
Currently free, Boozeonline will soon begin charging a nominal commission on bookings made through its platform.
“Our prototype seeks to unlock the hidden potential of community catering within the country and later the continent. We believe there's already a strong foundation when you take into consideration the amount of catering already being done within communities in events such as weddings, funerals and others unique to African communities,” explains Ramoroa, CEO of Boozeonline.
Ramoroa believes opportunities still exist for catering companies despite discouraging sector figures released recently by Statistics SA.
In its survey on the financial performance of the food and beverage industry for the second quarter of 2019, ending in June (Q2:2019), the food and beverages industry suffered losses.
According to year-on-year data, observed at constant 2015 prices by type of income, the sector saw a 0.6% decrease compared to June 2018.
“From the experimenting I have done, small catering companies are looking for a solution that would assist in making their customers repeat consumers, as well as a reduction in lead time. From most that I have interacted with, these were the key points: the marketing of your service and faster lead generation within different sectors.”
Ramoroa says businesses registered on Boozeonline have seen a significant number of increases in referrals, sign-ups and general interest.
“We are opening up the industry in two ways, which is great. On one hand, individuals will be able to open their catering within the community and beyond; they will unlock more value from that economy, while also getting certified and become a sustainable business in their respective markets.
“Secondly, we are making it possible for certified small business catering, which most often than not, capture a market.
“It will indeed give communities what they need and help them unlock potential monetary benefits from catering activities. In my opinion, this is a solution-based and collaborative platform that should more than ever be grasped with both hands.”
However, Ramoroa laments the slow pace of harnessing the power of the digital economy in the country.
“I think that South Africans within the tech community are harnessing the power of the digital economy. But the majority of potentially great and innovative entrepreneurs are yet to be discovered.”