‘Choice overload’ is a cognitive process in which people have a difficult time making a decision when faced with many options. The term was first introduced by Alvin Toffler in his 1970 book, Future Shock.
Food delivery services are nothing new, we all know that. We see branded delivery cars, scooters and bicycles weaving through our city streets at all hours of the day and well into the night. And with too many food delivery apps, comes too many restaurants, too many menus, too many choices and too many decisions to be made.
Life is already full of too many decisions and we didn’t want to add to that. So we started ZipLunch with the sole aim of simplifying the food ordering process for busy people, and we did just that.
The main aspect of ZipLunch is naturally, the food. The way we differ from other food ordering/delivery apps is in the way we curate our menus, our prices and in the way we deliver our food. According to the City of Toronto website, food waste costs the average Canadian household over $1,100 per year. We often waste perfectly good food because we buy too much, cook too much or don’t store it correctly, and that goes for restaurant kitchens too.
Menu and Ordering
So the way it works is every week, our “menu curator extraordinaire” sets the daily lunch and dinner choices for that week.
And true to our motto of keeping things simple, we try to limit up to 8 item choices per restaurant. Each day features two to three restaurants for lunch and the same goes for dinner. Every Saturday, the full menu for the week is sent out. Customers can either order for the entire week in advance, or on a day by day basis. It’s that simple.
The great thing about this model is that restaurants know ahead of time what the listed items will be, allowing them to effectively plan their meal preps for the day. No modifications to the orders allows for maximum time efficiency and less food wastage.
Delivery and Environment
The next step was to simplify the food delivery process. As it stands now, the food order/delivery system is a cycle that is ineffective for the customer, as well as the restaurant and by default, the environment.
When we initially started ZipLunch, it was back in 2018. Covid-19 wasn’t a thing, and office workers worked in offices all through downtown Toronto. The original ZipLunch model was a lunch delivery service specifically catered to those office workers. When 2020 rolled around and our way of life changed, we were able to take our initial office building model and apply it to residential buildings. It turns out, CityPlace area was a great template for us to adapt our model to.
When we started imagining what ZipLunch could be and the impact we wanted it to have on the things that were important to us, we narrowed it down to two main concerns. Naturally these concerns were interconnected, and they included finding a way to limit the food industry wastage, as well as serving the largest number of customers, but leaving the smallest Carbon footprint.
The Carbon footprint we leave behind became a fundamental component in how we would come to operate ZipLunch. After many delivery models and logistic trial runs, our final model was reached. We would be dividing our deliveries into zones (or office buildings), utilizing one vehicle per delivery zone, serving in the region of 100 customers per day, allowing us to reduce our CO2 emissions by up to 90%. One delivery car would cater to each office building as one entity, delivering lunch to all employees using our service in one drop off. That model still applies to the condo buildings of Cityplace.
Food delivery apps currently in operation throughout the city are notorious for marking up prices, charge delivery and additional fees. The markup prices mainly come from the restaurants being forced to increase their menu item prices, the result of high commission rates they are being charged by the delivery app companies.
The result of our business model allowed us to eliminate marked up prices and delivery fees that many other services practice. And the way we managed to achieve that is reduce the delivery cost by our model of bulk orders with our one driver model. We only charge a reasonable commission amount to our restaurant partners allowing the restaurants not to have to increase their prices. Bulk orders allow restaurants to increase their efficiency by not allowing menu modifications and knowing ahead of time what meals will be featured on our menu, drastically decreasing food wastage.
We hope that in our small way, we are providing a useful service to you all, by providing a simple, curated menu with less options. And at the same time doing our bit to try and contribute to the greater environmental well being of our city.
And hopefully, this is a win-win for restaurant and customer alike.