The pandemic has devastated the food industry and smaller, independent food-service businesses have felt the brunt of the pain. Farm, the new app, celebrates London’s local food scene and talent. Committed to supporting independent food businesses, the takeaway-only app does not charge any delivery or service fees, which ensures that vendors on the platform are able to keep all the margins. Consumers can order food from a variety of sources including the local farmers market, street vendors, artisan chefs, and more but the app does not include restaurants or chains. When it comes to empowering the local community, Farm takes a multidimensional approach and for every purchase, a portion of the sale is donated to one of its partner charities.
London TechWatch caught up with Mehmet Salih to learn more about Farm’s platform, the impact it has had on food businesses and professionals, and future plans.
Tell us about the product or service Farm offers.
Farm is the new takeaway App in London. We are working with Independent food businesses – no chains or restaurants – to support local. We are giving customers access to artisan food, world food, street food, and bringing the farmers market to their doorstep. We have a mix of food, baked goods, meal kits, and artisan products, all made in London. We also cater for all dietary needs, we wanted a platform that was inclusive of everyone, including those with allergies anyone who is vegan, vegetarian, and people who eat kosher, halal, lactose-free, and gluten-free.
And with every order on the app, a charitable donation is made to support the most vulnerable in the local community. We are not charging any delivery fee or service fee either for the customers, making sure that more money goes to the vendors and making it cheaper for the customer.
Inspired by the pandemic, we knew that there would be a lot of chefs out of work. We wanted to provide a platform that supported them to carry on their passion and give people an exciting food experience that they could not get anywhere else. This will help get them more customers and organize themselves, so they can focus on the rest of their business and the most important thing, their food!
We also wanted to give back to the community, that is why we are working with 3 charities that support the vulnerable. The Felix Project which delivered 14 million meals in London this year alone and Age UK, which supports the elderly, and Resources for Autism.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
We are in the food delivery and takeaway market, but uniquely including street food, farmers markets, meal kits, and artisan products to our platform, with a combined UK value of roughly £13B.
What is the business model?
B2B2C – The Farm app hosts some of London’s best chefs, cooks, and artisan products on the platform, allowing users to order in advance so that they are getting the best tasting and authentic food delivered to their door. It gives users access to unique food that they cannot get on the high street while supporting local and giving to charity.
How has COVID-19 impacted the business?
Covid has meant that Street Food Vendors, Caterers, and Farmers market vendors are not able to run their normal business and shifted to home deliveries, meaning we have a range of exciting vendors from across the industry. People are at home and are excited to try food other than their normal takeaways and have food that suits them during the lockdown.
Tell us what building your company in London has been like?
London has probably been the best place to start Farm, the food scene in the city is one of the best in the world, the range of cuisines, and the appetite for authentic food is growing! People here do not just want good food, they want to try new, amazing food, so it has been a great market to be involved in. The cooks and chefs have amazing talent, it’s been so rewarding to see what they can produce and exciting to get their food out there to the public through our app.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
In six months, we will expand to more areas in London, we will initially be in North London, but do not want to stop there. There are so many talented independent food businesses in the city, we can’t wait to discover them and get people to eat their lovely food.
What does being “Made in London” mean to you and your company?
My cofounder and I were born and raised in the heart of London. The city is in our bones as much as it is in our brand. London hosts food vendors of every description and from every corner of the world. Being lifelong foodies, we have enjoyed all the various flavours and delicious cuisines London has to offer. We wanted to build a platform that helped many new independent food businesses thrive so that they could be made in London. Without the worry of having to pay high commission rates.
Being lifelong foodies, we have enjoyed all the various flavours and delicious cuisines London has to offer. We wanted to build a platform that helped many new independent food businesses thrive, so that they could be made in London. Without the worry of having to pay high commission rates.
What else can be done to promote early-stage entrepreneurship in London?
Early-stage entrepreneurship is never straightforward. Starting a company from scratch in a major city means wearing many hats, and inevitably many sleepless nights! We believe it would be great to create or join a network of entrepreneurs in London to help with mentorship and guidance.
What’s your favourite restaurant in London?
As a food tech business, we are spoilt for choice with food, so it really depends what we are in the mood for in terms of cuisines and restaurants.