An ambitious East Kilbride entrepreneur has launched a dynamic new app that rivals online food ordering giants and promises to boost the local economy.
App ‘East Kilbride Eats’ is the brainchild of Tony Clark, who hit upon the concept while on furlough from his job in the hospitality industry.
It introduces to East Kilbride a local service similar to that of independently-owned ‘Hamilton Eats’, which is poised to expand into the Motherwell area at the end of this month.
Unlike national players Deliveroo and Uber Eats – who can charge food outlets more than 30 per cent of the customer’s food bill to accept and deliver orders – East Kilbride Eats and Hamilton Eats do not employ drivers.
That allows them to charge takeaway owners only 7.5 per cent in fees – around half of the charge imposed by national operator Just Eat, which also manages through its app customers’ food orders, which are then delivered by drivers who are paid directly by the restaurants.
East Kilbride Eats’ marketeer Dawn Hunter says what separates the brands from its big name rivals is its exclusivity to the town, serving only food outlets and customers in the G74 and G75 areas.
With no headquarters, support staff or associated overheads, East Kilbride Eats’ order handling charge is around half of that imposed by its nearest comparable competitor, Just Eat, to whom around 50 takeaway outlets in the town current pay a fee of 14 per cent plus VAT.
Within three weeks of operation, East Kilbride Eats had persuaded 19 food outlets to register with the new app.
Keiran Gillespie and Jayne Gildea launched Hamilton Eats in December 2020, and now have 32 takeaways on their books in the ML3, ML 9, G71 and G72 areas, which include Hamilton, Larkhall, Stonehouse, Blantyre and Cambuslang.
By the end of this month, customers in the ML1, ML4 and ML9 areas will be able to order their takeaways on the app after the pair detected an appetite for the service in Motherwell, Wishaw, Bellshill, Carfin and Holytown.
Keiran says takeaway owners who are registered with Hamilton Eats benefit from additional exposure on Facebook.
He told Lanarkshire Live: “Quite a few of the Hamilton takeaways deliver in the Motherwell area and it seemed a natural progression to put them both together.
“We’re really excited about moving into Motherwell and are really looking forward to it. It’s very important, though, that it stays local. We are not going to be expanding again.”
Although its owners accept they do not have the financial clout of the large national players and Scottish brand, Scoffable, to entice customers with regular cut-price offers, East Kilbride Eats is currently shouldering 10 per cent of diners’ bills in an introductory incentive to order through their app.
By offering East Kilbride food outlets an outsourced, online ordering system that does not eat into their profits, Dawn says takeaways can channel the savings into the local economy by paying their shop staff and drivers more, or even hire additional delivery drivers.
“The thing that differentiates us is the fact that we are local to East Kilbride,” said Dawn, who is charged with responding to the new app’s customers’ demand for more choice from more varied takeaway outlets.
“Savings mean that businesses can pay their drivers and shop staff more, or hire more drivers – and that means the money stays in the community. Going forward, the plan is that we will invest in the community, too.
“We have been in touch with a kids’ football team and local food banks. How much we are able to give back depends on how well the app does, and the feedback we’ve had from people in only three weeks is that they love the app and think it’s great.”
Dawn and 37-year-old founder, Tony, launched East Kilbride Eats last month in a blaze of glory after the pair added to a local chip shop’s menu a dessert option that got sweet-toothed customers’ tongues wagging.
Social media went wild when East Kilbride Eats announced that Emanuel’s Chippy in St Leonards Road was serving up deep fried Colin the Caterpillar cake.
The stunt added a new twist in the Colin the Caterpillar controversy, as Aldi prepares for a court battle with M&S over the budget supermarket’s allegedly similar ‘Cuthbert the Caterpillar’ cake.
Heather Crowe, of Whitehills, was one of six diners who won a slice of Colin the Batterpillar by being among the first to place a food order through the new app.
“It is a running joke in my family that ever since I was a kid, the only thing I wanted for my birthday was a Colin the Caterpillar cake.
“And recently, everyone has been tagging me on anything Colin-related,” said Heather, who – at the age of 32 – still insists on blowing out the candles on her favourite novelty cake with every birthday.
“I thought: ‘I need to know what this tastes like.’ I was a bit dubious. I was worried it might taste like a combination of chips and cake. But it was actually lovely – and I even got free ice cream with it.”
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