When it comes to vacation, travel and dining, the public often looks to established, dependable brands that deliver a consistent product time and time again. However, my fellow Generation Y’s and I are no longer impressed with consistency, and find that a dependable product or service must be dynamic to be timeless. With new consumers must come a new business model; one which creates a more inclusive business landscape.
Our interests, hobbies, and idle time are valuable resources that have yet to yield monetary rewards. After all the team-building exercises, lessons on sharing and social connectivity, this new globalized workforce is ready to share our talents and transform business with a shared economy. Not only by creating new business technologies, but by promoting a state of social welfare transcendent of politics and the stock market. Eatro, the community-based takeout company that has recently received considerable media attention in the UK, is a shining example of the shared economy in full service; the application takes advantage of a gap in the food market.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that there is nothing better than a home cooked meal. Unfortunately, legendary home cooking calls for at least one devoted cook in the house. Lacking the culinary skill, time and funds necessary to successfully employ their own home kitchen, flat-mates Bar Segal, Daniel Kaplansky, and Zefeng Wei established Eatro, an ingenious food-sharing platform that matches home cooks with their hungry neighbors.
These three Londoners could not have found a better market to start their for-profit startup. According to a survey conducted by the Daily Mail New Press, Londoners spend £221.63 ($368.88) on conventional takeout every month, which is more than double the national British average. Charging a staggering 12% commission on each meal for the use of their technology, Eatro has huge earnings potential.
However, Eatro is doing more than just meeting supply with demand. It has married a classic community exchange program to the tech-savvy, cocooned masses. Eatro’s business model is one that hopes to revitalize communities and local economies by appealing to the undeniable desire that many have for healthy, home cooked meals. The same technology that by some was thought to sentence us to a 1984-esque mental imprisonment may be the very antidote to our apathy and social delusion.
Eatro facilitates mutually beneficial transactions enabling neighbors to get acquainted and to gain trust in each other. This neighborhood trust has been especially lacking in the US where, according to an online survey by Harris Interactive, 47% of American adults can identify their neighbors’ cars more than their neighbors’ first names. This is shocking, since 93% of Americans also consider it important for neighbors to look out for their safety.
Trust is a valuable asset in a chronically self-absorbed society, but perhaps more so are our personal food choices. A USA Today article on the benefits of home cooking states that people consume 50% more calories, sodium and fat when they are eating out versus cooking at home. After considering this statistic, Eatro seems as if directly sent from heaven, allowing the couch-ridden to fulfill their takeout lust while improving their diet.
Despite the massive social and economic opportunities that Eatro provides to its customers, there are naysayers who seek to write off the concept solely because these meals are not monitored by the government. Thankfully, Eatro is not the first company to garner government attention with community-based concepts, and it will not be the last. Airbnb, Uber, and every other shared economy endeavor had to find ways around conservative governmental policy.
Inevitably, Eatro will implement inventive insurance policies and quality ratings for their services, which will allow similar companies to enter the market. The momentum and productive potential of companies built upon individual responsibility and the building of a tech-based community is enormous, and regardless of what the critics say, it is irrepressible. Eatro has not yet toppled McDonald’s, Chipotle or the local pub, but they and other shared economy start-ups are shifting the landscape in a new and exciting direction.