London loves street food. So does the rest of the UK. The industry is worth an estimated £1 billion to the economy, and its growing 20% year on year.
Research suggests 1 in 4 consumers ‘consumes’ street food 2-3 times per week and 94% plan to maintain that level, or increase it, over the next 12 months.
Britain loves a good knees-up too, so it’s easy to see why Brown’s Restaurant founder Jeremy Mogford and a host of other food industry heavyweights have invested in Feast It, a disruptive platform that “streamlines the process of booking street food vendors to cater your wedding, party or event”.
Feast It are already working with many of the London street food scene’s most famous names, such as Patty & Bun, Shoreditch favourite The Breakfast Club, Dirty Burger, Hummus Bros, and The Cheese Truck.
The idea is to give event planners, businesses and consumers the opportunity to “discover, compare and book their ideal caterer for any event in a matter of minutes”.
Street Food vendors can use the platform to find events they can sell their tasty wares at when they aren’t working their regular gigs. Buyers have the chance to browse a wider selection of vendors, all in the same place, that they cannot find elsewhere.
Feast It have raised an initial $440k seed round with involvement from the aforementioned Mogford, who also owns Mogford Hotels and Restaurants, Tim Burridge, an early investor in Hummus Bros, Tim Brennan, founder of Caper & Berry Catering, and some more tech-focused investors, most notably ARM Holdings ex-CFO Tim Score.
There are more than 200 street food vendors signed up to the platform, and Feast It say that they have already supplied caterers to “major corporates”, including Amazon, WeWork, Pernod Ricard, Samsung, and Brompton.
The firm are also proud to have supplied all of the food and drink for the recent Virgin Sport Hackney Half Marathon. Kudos to anybody who went for the “Dirty Burger” after eating up 13 and a half miles of tarmac.
Feast It has been founded by Digby Vollrath, and Hugo Campbell. Vollrath brings the events experience, having worked the scene in Washington DC, LA and London, whilst Campbell is an ex-journalist who has worked at the Evening Standard, London Live, and both The Telegraph and Independent.
The two childhood best friends say they identified a “huge gap in the market for a platform letting people book their ideal caterer.”
“We really wanted to create a platform that would take as much of the hassle out of organising events, as well as celebrate London’s incredible independent culinary scene”, says Digby.
“The process of booking catering hasn’t really changed over the last 10 years; it’s needlessly labour intensive and almost impossible to find the full range of food that’s actually available when you need it. We wanted to create a platform that helps people realise the amazingly diverse and delicious options available to them as well as book event catering from the chefs they already know and love!”
The founders say that long term, they will look to expand into the “more traditional” aspects of the catering industry, and hope to partner with local craft breweries, spirit makers, bars and chefs, to create “a central hub for the UK’s independent events industry.”
“It’s been amazing that we’ve been able to partner with so many incredible and well-known suppliers from day one”, says Campbell.
“I really believe that street food catering is a more diverse, exciting, and tastier option than traditional ‘silver service’ catering and I don’t think people realise that on average, it’s a quarter of the price per head.”
Where the founders have been clever (in our view) is by not taking on responsibility for the cooking and service, but merely acting as a go-between those searching for great food alternatives, and those providing it.
This is a model that works, as the likes of Uber and Airbnb and the whole “sharing economy / gig economy” circus has shown.
Those who have tried to do everything themselves; the cooking, the booking and the delivery – Pronto springs to mind – have invariably struggled.
With some solid results behind them already, and the backing of some foodie veterans “what know”, Feast It looks like a tasty proposition. Much will depend on the marketing, and the network.