Reinventing the $260 Billion Catering Industry
Phoodeez Ensures You Never Over-Order For Events
While in business school at MIT, Christine Marcus and Sal Lupoli kept witnessing a horrifying trend of wasted catered food at meetings and events.
“MIT is ordering thousands up thousands of dollars of food every single week for the entire school,” says Lupoli. Catering is a $260 billion industry, he says, but the current system presents a glaring problem in both sustainability and cost effectiveness.
As Sloan students, Marcus and Lupoli decided to team up and create a better catering system, dubbed Phoodeez.
The two come from very different backgrounds, which lent well to the overall mission of Phoodeez. Lupoli is the co-founder of Sal's Pizza and Salvatore's Italian Restaurants and describes himself as “very much of an entrepreneur.” Marcus is a former U.S. Department of Energy official and “has a great mind when it comes to analytics,” says Lupoli.
The goal of Phoodeez is to help simplify the food ordering process for people who don’t know how to order food, and to help restaurants better cater to these people. The web platform allows users to log on, and search for platters based on party size, eliminating the guesswork that goes into, for example, calculating how many pizzas can feed a group of 200. Customers can search by budget and location, and all order information is saved on the Phoodeez platform, so reordering is a breeze.
When an order is placed, Phoodeez contacts the restaurant to ensure they can fill the order and deliver it at the designated time. The entire transaction is completed without the customer or the restaurant ever having to pick up the phone.
“It’s just a very clean, organized way to manage all your catering,” says Marcus.
Given Marcus’s energy sector background, Phoodeez also places a strong emphasis on sustainability. The company works with all restaurants on their platform to ensure catering containers are recyclable and compostable – no Styrofoam allowed.
Because of this rigorous sustainability check, Marucs explains that Phoodeez is “being very selective, because the sustainability piece is really, really critical to us.” Currently, along with Sal’s restaurants, Phoodeez has four other restaurants on board, and today announces the addition of Clover Food Lab, Fuji at Kendall Square, MexiCali Burrito Co., and Great Harvest Breads to the platform.
For the remainder of the year, the duo hopes to grow the company “in a smart way,” focusing on quality control and getting a variety of restaurants-- from Thai to BBQ -- on the platform.
So, next time you have the urge to order 100 pepperoni pizzas for your 200-person event, hop on Phoodeez to help save you time, money and the belly ache of eating leftover slices for weeks.
By Lisa DeCanio · September 19, 2012 · BostInno · Original Article