Maybe you have heard of Goldbelly, maybe you haven’t, but I’d like to think you will be hearing about it soon. Goldbelly was founded by Joe Ariel, a total foodie. Joe craved the specialties of Nashville where he attended Vanderbilt University. So he put his dreams into reality and back in 2013 he founded Goldbelly.
The mission of Goldbelly is to bring comfort through food. Not a bad mission, right?
Goldbelly operates as an online marketplace that curates foods from local establishments and facilitates shipping across the United States. Think the Etsy of Food. As of today, over 800 restaurants, bakeries, and delis are featured on the site and accompanying mobile app.
When we think online marketplace many of us immediately think Amazon or Ebay, but there are more options like Goldbelly. Personally, I think online marketplaces are here to stay. “According to the 2021 online marketplaces Report, 62.5% of all global online spending occurred via digital marketplaces in 2020, which was a 29% increase in gross merchandise sales.” People are comfortable with purchasing things online. The key to marketplaces is their convenience and accessibility.
We would be naive in our thinking, if we didn’t associate some of the growth of marketplaces to the pandemic. A recent New York Times article highlighted, “More than 400 of the 850 restaurants that sell food on Goldbelly’s platform have joined since the start of the pandemic, an influx that the company says has more than quadrupled sales over the past 12 months.” Furthermore, “The average order size has grown roughly 20 percent over the past year, and Goldbelly’s work force has swelled to more than 130 people, including a new chief operating officer and chief financial officer.”
Goldbelly was a lifeline to restaurants that were forced to shut down during the pandemic. Restaurants could dramatically increase their footprint. Furthermore, Goldbelly packages could be prepared during off-peak hours thus not taking away from any lunch or dinner business they may have had. By now you probably know, I am always trying to highlight technology used for good so I would be remiss if I didn’t highlight Goldbelly’s Local Legend Fund. “The fund’s mission is to bring 100 restaurants back to life, to resurrect beloved local shops that have had to close due to unexpected challenges, including the pandemic…” The fund allows restaurants to stay on their feet and some of the Legends are even selling their products on the platform.
Is this here to stay? Are people still going to want restaurant quality food at premium prices in their homes?
As I prepared this blog, I searched high and low for any insights on Goldbelly. What technology do they use? Perhaps, AWS cloud computing for their website? Maybe machine learning and AI is used to categorize, tag and price all of their product offerings? What about RFID for tracking packages? I came up drier than some day old bagels from Russ and Daughters. Yes, they’re available for purchase on Goldbelly.
Goldbelly provides the boxes and cold packs for shipping orders, which helps restaurants ship directly from their premises. So maybe they’re a logistics company and not a tech company after all? After our class presentation and discussion on logistics and the shipping industry, this has me slightly worried. We are talking about perishable foods, you don’t want your Jenni’s Ice Cream to be melted! Yes, another item for purchase on Goldbelly! Hopefully, robots can solve the problem and ensure that your cousin out in California gets their Legal Seafoods Clam Chowder and Mike’s cannolis. Furthermore, before we even worry about shipping food, we should probably worry about if the restaurants even have the staff on hand to prepare the food to be shipped. I digress. I also think every company is a tech company.
With that being said, if anyone has any connects; here are a few questions that I would ask Joe Ariel and the Goldbelly’s team:
How did you scale your business during the height of the pandemic?
Is this just a fad or is home restaurant dining here to stay?
What is the process of becoming a Goldbelly merchant?
Are restaurants more worried about the technology aspect or shipping their perishable products nationwide?
How will artificial intelligence and machine learning help Goldbelly grow?
What is the hardest item to ship?
Do you have any plans for international expansion?
How many repeat customers do you have?
What keeps you up at night? What gets you excited for tomorrow?
What is the number one product on Goldbelly?
What do you think? Is there any food that you can’t live without? Has anyone ever ordered anything off of Goldbelly? What was the experience like, did your food arrive fresh? How did it compare to the real deal?
Full confession, I haven’t order anything yet but I am real tempted now!