Last autumn, Ryan Caton, William Gilmour and Justin Baker shared an idea at an Entrepreneurship for All Southcoast Pitch Contest that brought down the house. That idea was GotChew – an online food delivery service in New Bedford. They explained to the crowd that their vision was to bring meals to your door or office from city eateries that lacked delivery service of their own.
That idea is now reality. After taking first prize in the pitch contest and being part of E for All’s rigorous mentoring program, GotChew launched late this past winter. Restaurant food delivery websites and apps are popular in many other cities – and now, New Bedford has one of its own with GotChew.
We’re understandably happy and proud of the guys for turning their entrepreneurial vision into a reality. The Pitch Contest was held right here at Groundwork! And, our members, Kevin Maillet , Matt Medeiros and Tyson Moultrie were their mentors for the program. Oh yeah – we loved the idea, too!
So do many others – and as we catch up with GotChew this week – an exciting week for the team with the addition of Freestone’s and Ma Raffa’s to their line-up of restaurants – we take a big bite out of what makes GotChew a fascinating new service and technology business to watch in the city.
To begin, here’s the basic 411 for readers unfamiliar with Got Chew. It partners with city eateries to allow you to order their menus via the GotChew website or smartphone app. The restaurants fill the orders like any other dine-in or take-out order, and Got Chew crew then picks up and delivers it to your door for a fee ranging from $3 – $5.
Currently, Got Chew has partnered with dNB burgers, Table 8, the food truck Two Sisters, Greasy Luck Brewery, the Farmer’s Kitchen and they’ll pick up Subway for you. As mentioned above, this week they added Freestone’s and Ma Raffa’s to their list. And, they are currently negotiating with some other big names on the local restaurant scene – so be sure to follow them on their Facebook page for frequent updates.
As for delivery times, they are as follows: Currently, they are “open” – i.e., delivering – Monday-Wednesday 10:00am-8:30pm, Thursday 10:00 am-9:30 pm, Friday 10:00am-8:30 and Saturday-Sunday 8:00 am-8:30 pm. Their hours will continue to expand as their partnerships grow.
“We currently deliver until the latest closing time of our partners. As we add on more breakfast restaurants, we plan on extending breakfast hours as well. We work with our partners and they typically set their hours of operation on our site. For instance, we close off dNB a half hour before they close in house to insure they don’t receive orders two minutes before they are closing.”
The team credits being part of E for All as a major factor in getting them up and running so quickly. “That really allowed us to have the successful launch we have experienced,” they write to me – and it’s help spread the word thanks to some rigorous social media marketing. “We have a 4.9 star rating on Facebook with almost forty 5 star reviews and we have received an overwhelming amount of positive responses about our service from the city.”
Of course, any new business confronts challenges and experiences growing pains – and Got Chew is no exception. Whether it’s their E for All training or can-do attitude, they’re prepared to meet those challenges head-on and with a clear eye toward fulfilling their vision.
The biggest challenge is being operational while in both start-up and growth mode. That means the team has other jobs while GotChew essentially funds itself as a going concern.
“GotChew is currently entirely self-funded and that makes everything hard… it is not cheap to start any type of successful business, nevermind a technology based service,” they explain. “The tech world is very expensive and we are constantly working on new developments for our webiste and apps to make our user experience better every day. Now add in the legal, branding, marketing, and payroll aspects and you have yourself a goliath sized challenge that can only be solved with money and a lot of hard work.”
THE MAIN COURSE
However, GotChew is doing that hard work. While meetings the demands of their existing customers, they are constantly seeking new users and adding more partners to their line-up.
They approach restaurants on a weekly basis to sign them up – an often daunting task as the food industry is a demanding one. There are few times throughout the day when a restaurant isn’t busy serving or prepping for either breakfast, lunch or dinner. So, GotChew leaves a lot of literature about the enterprise behind and then follows up. And follows up. And then follows up again.
“It sounds cliche but the initial response from every owner is different, “ they say. “It ranges from ‘How soon can we start?!?!’ to ‘HaHa – no thanks’. In seriousness though, the response has been great! Most business owners love the idea and the entrepreneurial spirit we bring to the table.
“Also being three local guys definitely helps. Our product and service, even though it exists in every major city across the U.S., is something very new to the area and unheard of by a lot of local owners. Therefore, our first pitch is often educational. The few brush-offs we’ve come across have almost all been overcome once we explain and demonstrate our product and everything we offer through partnerships with us.”
The three man team is literally working night and day to refine and grow GotChew. Right now, everything from sales to marketing to delivery is handled by these hard workers. But hopefully by summer’s end, they’ll be joined by 3-5 new drivers, they confidently predict, as users grow and new restaurants sign up.
They are certainly off to a fast start, with that impressive list of eateries (with a few more in the works kept out of this post while negotiations are underway) and a dedicated customer base.
“We currently have a little over 300 active users signed up with us. Of this 300 there have been many repeat customers, and we even have built up a nice following of ‘regulars’ already, with about 25-30 users who use our service over once a week,” they report.
This past week, a GotChew Facebook post went even deeper. It was a picture of one of those ‘regulars’ – Janice, who isn’t able to transport herself to some of her favorite places to eat. It read:
“Janice, we appreciate you and your excitement for our service. This is heartwarming for us to be able to make meals accessible to those who may not have the ability to transport themselves to their favorite restaurant. We hope you enjoy your cacoila sandwich from @twosistersllc!”
Yeah – these local guys get it.
Again, you can register yourself on GotChew via their website or download their app for your phone. It’s free and easy. That way, you’re in the system when you’re ready to order. Follow them as well on Facebook for other news and of course, frequently mouth-watering photos of Syrian Nachos from Freestone’s; pizza from Ma Raffa’s; sandwiches from Two Sisters…
If you GotChew, you get the idea!
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