Move over Just Eat and Deliveroo, there’s a new kid on the block. Swansea Eats is a local food delivery app founded in 2021 by husband and wife team Sophie Heneberry and Rory Edwards after realizing high food app fees were “crippling” small independent businesses.
The app has only been up for a year but already has 12,000 regular users who buy groceries from nearly 100 independent restaurants around the city. The app is similar to the popular RCT Eats app in Rhonda Cynon Taf, which also aims to empower small independent businesses. You can read more about it here.
Continue reading:The couple runs a business-only food delivery app in RCT
Company manager Sophie, 30, from Birchgrove, owns Busy Bees Nursery in Penllergaer and when she is not working at the nursery she is the ‘boots on site’ for Swansea Eats. She said: “We started Swansea Eats with two other friends in April last year after realizing how many businesses were struggling with the pandemic. We have many family members in the hospitality industry – some own takeaways, one of them owns a restaurant.
“They’ve been using Deliveroo for years, but the cost is crippling. It’s very expensive, but they have to rely on these services because that’s the way things work these days, everything is online. You don’t find many people going to takeaways or restaurants and placing their orders.”
Sophie said a big problem takeaways and restaurants are facing is the 20% cut being made by food giants like Just Eat and Deliveroo. She said: “It depends on the app you use, but on average apps like Just Eat or Deliveroo take about a 20% cut. 14% is the minimum but that is excluding VAT. It’s difficult because these companies want to keep their prices low to remain competitive, especially when the cost of everything is increasing. For a local company, a 20% cut is a huge sum.”
Swansea Eats, on the other hand, makes a 7.5% cut. ” Our commission is 7.5%. We hope it helps local independent businesses. We only list local companies, the big giants can do just fine without us. We want to enrich local communities and keep money in Swansea rather than hauling it to Just Eat via the M4.”
Since launching in April 2021, things have been going extremely well for Sophie and the rest of the team at Swansea Eats. She said: “It’s just meandered since it started at Easter last year. It’s going really, really well. We currently have 96 restaurants and takeaways and 12,000 users on the app. Of course, the first few months were in flux, but we are stable now.
“When we started it was scary because there was no guarantee people would even use the app. Developing an app isn’t easy either – it can cost hundreds of thousands in total. We knew there was definitely a place in the market for the app, but it takes time to build that trust with customers as they need to be confident that their payments are secure.”
Swansea Eats only lists local independent businesses and some of them are now exclusive to the app, such as. B.Mad Buns. You can read more about Mad Buns, Swansea’s most popular burger joint, here. “Some businesses cannot afford to use Just Eat and make enough revenue from Swansea Eats alone. Another benefit for us is that we can take care of any issues right away, whereas with apps like Just Eat it takes days to process a complaint and the company can end up losing money as a result.”
Both Sophie and Rory still work full-time jobs and all money made from Swansea Eats goes straight back into the business. “Rory is an electrical engineer specializing in renewable energy. When he’s not working on wind turbines in the middle of the sea, he’s working behind the scenes at Swansea Eats. Luckily we both like to be busy. When I’m not at the nursery, I’m the boots on site, speaking directly to restaurants, that’s the part I’ve enjoyed the most — getting out and meeting people in the community, people I never would have met otherwise .
She added: “Once a restaurant is set up we don’t have to do much, it pretty much runs itself unless there’s an issue that needs fixing or a menu needs updating. We are not an intermediary, the restaurant has full control over how they want to handle the situation with the customers. It’s a big change from kindergarten and teaching, but it’s become my little baby in a way. I loved every aspect of it. For the latest Swansea news, subscribe to our daily Swansea newsletter here.