CODE COVID: What the pandemic has taught us about long-term care
SaltWire Selects: Stories you don't want to miss
What you need to know about COVID-19 today
Continuing coverage: Mass shooting in Nova Scotia
Business Tool Kit 2021
Have you heard about the SaltWire News app?
Daily forecasts and weather facts from Cindy Day
The Heroes of 2020
A new food delivery company in Halifax is bringing another option to the table for customers looking to order food online and have it delivered to their doorsteps.
Brian MacDonald and his business partner Bill Pratt launched HaliHUB in fall 2020, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic that’s brought on a slew of challenges for the restaurant industry.
Similar to food delivery giants UberEats and Skip The Dishes, the delivery service, which can be accessed at halihub.ca, the Google Play Store and soon the App Store, gives customers a list of restaurants to order food from.
HaliHUB then co-ordinates the transaction with its restaurant partner and picks up and delivers the order to the customer.
But, unlike the bigger delivery service companies, HaliHUB takes a smaller cut from restaurants — nine per cent commission per transaction — compared to rates as high as 20 to 30 per cent from its competitors.
MacDonald, who’s been in the food service industry for 20-plus years, said it was important for him and his partner to create a platform that focuses on the sustainability of restaurants, seeing how many actually lose money using the larger online delivery platforms.
“We said there’s three things that are very important to us: number 1 is obviously offer a lower rate so it’s more economical for restaurants to survive, number 2, we wanted to keep our money local, and number 3, give power back to the restaurants,” he said.
“Because at 30 per cent, most of the time, that restaurateur is selling their product at a loss.”
The Wooden Monkey got on board with HaliHUB about two weeks ago.
While the restaurant hasn’t received “too many orders yet” through the platform, Matthew Gass, co-owner and general manager of The Wooden Monkey in Dartmouth, said the new food delivery company is “very much welcome.”
“We’re really excited to partner with a local company. We hope they do well because it’ll be better for us, too,” he said.
“We don’t have those same links for (UberEats) or Skip The Dishes just because first and foremost, we’d like people to order from that service first, because the dollars would stay more local and the rates are a little bit better,” he added.
One of the benefits of using HaliHUB, Gass said, is that restaurateurs can directly call or text MacDonald if there’s an issue with an order and have it addressed quickly, whereas larger delivery companies are “sometimes kind of reluctant if it’s only one dish.”
“So there’s that small business kind of feel to customer service,” he added.
Since launching HaliHUB, MacDonald said one pet food company and about 35 restaurants have joined the platform, while another 30 restaurants are currently planning to jump on board.
In the future, he said the plan is to expand HaliHUB to offer products from a variety of local businesses including grocery stores and pharmacies and to open locations in other cities in Canada.
For now, MacDonald said HaliHUB wants to continue to help out the restaurant industry that’s “in trouble,” create local jobs, but also emphasize the importance of supporting local businesses.
“If we can educate the general public as much as we can to help local restaurants, then HaliHUB has done (its) job. We’re proud to be local, we’re proud to represent the great restaurants in HRM and hopefully the independent restaurants right across Atlantic Canada and potentially Canada some day.”
- International student entrepreneurs offer alternative delivery apps to Halifax restaurants
- Demand for online food delivery service increases in Cape Breton amid COVID-19 pandemic
- ‘Barely treading water’: Delivery apps’ high fees have restaurants seeing red
- Online meal delivery firms knocked off course by coronavirus crisis
- Food delivery is essential during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here's how to order it ethically