5,000 meals per day delivered in France. This is what the start-up Taster, which brings together five street food brands on a single platform, claims today – which places it in third position on Deliveroo in Paris, behind the giants McDonald’s and Burger King. Since 2017, this site, complete with an app, has been connecting customers and 61 restaurants, identified as “partner kitchens”, in nine cities, including London and Madrid. Taster is a sort of “meta dark kitchen”.
By the end of 2021, it wants to quadruple its activity and thus be present in 40 cities – “wherever there is a delivery service and a demandaspires Anton Soulier, the founder of Taster. We started three weeks ago in Strasbourg, since then we receive 150 requests a day. » Thanks to the crisis, activity jumped 110% in 2020 compared to the previous year. Last month, 35,000 customers reportedly ordered through Taster. This growth allowed the team to raise 37 million dollars at the end of April, from American private investors.
From May 19, the start-up is betting on its “community of fans and customers”, in the words of its founder, by opening up its capital to them. In total, he hopes to collect between 500,000 and 1 million euros. The rather innovative concept of this fundraising campaign operated via the crowdcube platform is at the crossroads between Ulule-type crowdfunding and conventional fundraising by private investment funds since it opens its capital but to individuals for an amount accessible: from 10 euros. This is called equity crowdfunding. Here, “the goal is less money than brand image”emphasizes Anton Soulier, who wants his food brands to become “iconic”.
A “tiny kitchen”
The start-up operates as a “label” bringing together five own brands: Out Fry, A Burgers, Stacksando, Mission Saigon and Bian Diang. To have the right to manufacture menus for such and such a brand, the thirty or so French restaurateurs buy a license from Taster which includes the price of delivery, marketing and the digital connection service. Very discreet about the percentages, the start-up also takes a commission on each order. At the same time, Taster opened ” About ten “ dark kitchens considered as “small labs” to invent future dishes that will be labeled Taster.
The adventure began three years ago in a place like this, a “tiny kitchen” from the 11th arrondissement of Paris with a Bobun prepared by chef Mak, “a tattooed Franco-Vietnamese, with a gold chain around his neck”, describes the site. In three years, they have since served 9.2 million sweet potato fries and above all raised nearly $50 million in total.
On the customer side, to order, everything happens in a dematerialized way. On the Taster app, or on those of Deliveroo, Uber Eats and others, you enter the name of one of the five Taster brands you are looking for, then it offers you a range of choices. Then, you get delivered by a delivery man. Classic.
“The McDonalds of Tomorrow”
How did the idea come about? “Before launching Taster, I asked myself: ‘How would McDonald’s or Burger King launch today?’ Today, 60% of their orders come from the Internet, so the answer is simple: they would have created a digital platform! », says Anton Soulier, who was one of the first Deliveroo employees in 2014, in London before importing it to France the following year. The entrepreneur therefore imagined a site bringing together several brands “completely virtual” of street food, each specifically “designed for delivery”. His three years spent at Deliveroo had however “severely tested [sa] faith in food.
This is why Taster tries to differentiate itself by “quality” in the takeaway market. ” What do customers want today?asks the entrepreneur. Fast delivery of course, but above all good food. » Bet won? “Six out of ten customers order Taster at least once a month”, responds the start-up. And by extension, this offer is alsoi “a godsend”in the words of Anton Soulier, for delivery platforms.