Jason Allen and Michael Shim, co-founders of FeedMe. (FeedMe Photo)
There are plenty of services that provide food delivery from a variety of restaurants. Choosing between them and sorting out delivery times and pricing can even leave some users hungry — or hangry — for a solution to the confusion.
Michael Shim and Jason Allen think that their new service and website, FeedMe, is the answer.
The Seattle tech veterans quit their jobs last year to work on the idea together. Shim was most recently vice president of engineering at HBO, where he worked on HBO Go, and Allen was chief technology officer at Porch. The two are running FeedMe out of Startup Hall in the University District.
“FeedMe’s goal is be the front page of restaurant delivery,” Shim said in an email interview with GeekWire. “We want to remove the drudgery and frustration of ordering restaurant food.”
That “drudgery” can come from the multitude of choices available to people who like to get food delivered in Seattle, where at least a dozen providers are battling to get people fed fast. They include Amazon Prime Now, GrubHub, Postmates, Eat24, Caviar, UberEats, BiteSquad and more. (Check out GeekWire’s 2014 story when we tested seven services and reported on how it all went down.)
“The idea for FeedMe stemmed from my wife and I getting sick of always having to look at the different delivery providers just to find who would deliver a specific restaurant,” Shim said. “There was a specific Ramen place that we liked that ended up switching from Caviar, to Postmates, to Doordash.”
Shim said he and Allen looked into it further and found that prices varied widely between delivery services. In some cases the same restaurant would range from $30 to $60 for a $30 order and the delivery time could be anywhere from 15 to 70 minutes.
FeedMe does not deliver food, nor is it affiliated with any provider. The goal is simply to serve as a hub so people can find the best restaurant/food selection, delivery time and delivery price so people can get down to the business of eating. The site’s True Pricing feature promises to save users up to 50 percent on an order by showing exact charges and exposing hidden fees.
In terms of making money, Shim said that several of the restaurant delivery services offer affiliate deals and FeedMe could receive a percentage of their revenues. Similar models exist in other industries, such as what Kayak does for travel, and Closer Mobile, a Seattle-based startup that aggregates transportation options.
In visiting the FeedMe website (which just launched this week), users enter an address and FeedMe brings up an extensive page of nearby restaurants.
Click to enlarge. (FeedMe screen grab)
For the GeekWire address in Fremont, this resulted in 538 choices. But that number dips considerably when making adjustments along the left rail of the page — users can select price options ($$ lowered our search to 320 choices); rating (3 stars lowered it to 306 choices); delivery time (40 minutes or less lowered it to 96 restaurants); delivery service providers (we left them all checked); and finally food choices (we picked sandwiches and the choices dropped to eight).
Clicking on the Essential Bakery Cafe in nearby Wallingford, for instance, brings up a “menu card” of sorts (below) that allows users to enter the estimated amount that they’ll be spending. Below that it compares services which can make the delivery and how much they’ll charge. In this case, UberEats and DoorDash times and prices are compared. Clicking on “order” takes the user to the UberEats or DoorDash website to complete the transaction.
(FeedMe screen grab)
Shim doesn’t know of any other service doing the same thing in Seattle. He says the biggest competitor would be users who just stick to one delivery service. But there is a startup out of Chicago, called Bootler, that aggregates in a similar way.
Shim said FeedMe will have mobile apps soon.
In the meantime, the two co-founders are blogging about their new service and insights gleaned from making it all happen. As of Thursday morning, there were a couple posts, including one headlined “Good enough,” in which Shim writes that the website was ready for beta testing.