Founded in 2018 and launched in late 2019, Cookaborough is an online platform that provides the technology and tools required for food businesses to start, run, and grow their ready-made meal businesses.
By making it easy to run a ready-made meals business, the platform is democratising food. Currently being used by caterers expanding beyond events; local food stores and providores building a new pillar to their business, chefs starting their direct to customer businesses, artisans selling small batches, through to home cooked meal businesses serving their local communities, the platform is transforming how these businesses operate.
Using Cookaborough’s end-to-end business management platform, businesses connect with their customers, curate weekly menus, receive and manage orders and have all the administrative tasks managed seamlessly from storing recipes, scheduling weekly menus, setting delivery zones, creating compliant food labels, marketing tools through to delivery routing and financial reports.
Cookaborough is enabling food businesses to benefit from increasingly time poor and busy households who are outsourcing dinner meals and shifting their behaviour from “what’s for dinner tonight” to “what’s for dinner next week”, with an emphasis on meal planning and with a preference for not only convenient and affordable meals, but also trusted and locally made.
As evidence of the shift to meal planning, on average, each customer order through the platform contains 3-4 family size meals and a more than $100 spend.
“Cookaborough exists for two reasons,” says co-founder Nick Lewis. “First is that food businesses need to find new and better ways to operate that improve performance and profitability in a more efficient, sustainable and stress-free way, and secondly is the changing demands of busy households who are looking to solve the ‘dinner dilemma’ by planning ahead with a strong preference for locally made food”.
Cookaborough’s technology puts business owners in charge of their operation so they can create and promote weekly or one-off menus, connect with customers, plan and schedule deliveries, and access their business data and insight, all in one place under a clever batch model.
The platform’s ‘Clever Batch’ model allows food businesses to streamline their ordering process, so they receive all their orders first, prepare, cook and only deliver/allow for pick up at one point in time, thereby reducing costs and limiting waste. It is a highly efficient model that allows the cook taking 20 orders a week, through to the business taking 500 orders a week to thrive.
“The platform is all about powering a batch model, with customers ordering meals in advance, rather than on demand meals. This helps the business to know how many of each meal they need to provide in advance and allows them to operate as efficiently and cost effectively as possible,” says Lewis.
With more than 80 businesses currently active on the platform, producing more than 1m meals since launching, Cookaborough is on an ambitious trajectory to secure 500 business partners across Australia by the end of 2022.
Food retail is seeing enormous innovations. Cookaborough is supporting business owners with the tools they require to manage their day-to-day operations and to better serve their customers online.
Kasey Thompson, caterer and owner of Blakeaway in Melbourne says, “The platform was easy to use and presented a complete end-to-end solution for us. It provided us with immediate relief during a really stressful time and helped us build an amazing new ready-made meal offering that is allowing us to thrive.”
Thompson and the team at Blakes Feast started Blakeaway at the start of COVID-19 lockdowns in Melbourne in early 2020. Pivoting from their existing catering business, Blakeaway was set up on Cookaborough in just three days, connecting with customers and launching its first menu.
“It was a living nightmare,” says Thompson, “business was great and then within 24 hours we lost nearly every booking in our system. We knew that we were going to have to act fast to keep our staff and save the business, so we decided to see if we could make ready-made meals work. Our customers loved it but behind-the-scenes it was complete and utter chaos. Things became much easier with Cookaborough.”
Since partnering with Cookaborough, Blakeaway has generated significant sales and built a database of more than 4,000 customers who have made over 16,000 orders.
For smaller operators, such as home cook Amber Sanderson, Cookaborough has helped her build on her existing home-based food business.
“I loved what I had built but felt like I was at the point where I had to limit customer numbers as there were so many moving parts,” says Sanderson.
Sanderson uses Cookaborough to implement a weekly batch model, which reduces her food costs, and automates many of the business processes that previously took her away from the kitchen, such as reconciling payments and managing orders.
“Cookaborough feels like it was made just for me. All the features I needed to help me are in one place. It has freed up time for me to spend on doing what I love which is being in the kitchen and cooking,” says Sanderson.
All business partners that sign up to the Cookaborough gain full access to the platform’s suite of features and benefits. There are no set-up fees or lock-in contracts. Cookaborough charges a 7.5% commission fee on each order placed, including transaction costs. Cookaborough does not integrate with third-party delivery platforms – businesses can choose to offer pickup or set up defined delivery zones and fees for delivering goods.
For more information on Cookaborough, its features, or to join the platform, visit cookaborough.com.