Housebites hopes to reinvent takeaway food
By Grant Banks
September 19, 2011
Too busy to cook, too tired to go out and sick of eating pizza, Thai and India takeaway? Well that is where UK entrepreneur Simon Prockter wants to step in with his latest venture housebites.com, a website that links customers with cooks and chefs in their local area to provide restaurant quality food delivered to the door.
Building on from the momentum of his previous online business successes, including the European dating site SpeedDater, and with the backing of investor heavyweights such as Paul Birth (of Bebo fame), Prockter is launching believes his site will make serious inroads into the UK delivered food market - a market which is currently worth £1.6bn (US$2.5bn) and is expected to rise to £2.5bn (US$3.9bn) within three years. Already housebites has been listed in a shortlist of UK start-up businesses most likely to succeed - the Real Business Future 50.
"I'd been exploring ideas within the food sector for the last 18 months and whilst so many traditional industries are being disrupted by the internet such as hotels and car-hire, I couldn't see anything great happening in food," Simon Prockter said.
"The UK market for delivered food is huge and expanding rapidly. We have a quality yet affordable offering and are confident we can capture a significant market share."
"We believe housebites will change the way people eat, for good."
So what is it about housebites that is so revolutionary? The website links customers with cooks and chefs in their local area. Gourmet, restaurant quality, meals are delivered to the door at a price that is comparable to say a delivered pizza, or Asian takeaway dinner. This concept greatly widens the variety of choices the eat-at-home consumer has in this often very narrow market. No longer does having a convenient meal at home need to be a concession on choice or flavor.
The site has signed local chefs who have worked at some of London's top restaurants including The Ivy, Le Caprice, Barrafina, Fifteen, The Bluebird and The Sanderson Hotel.
Prockter believes the site offers equal benefit to consumers and local chefs alike.
"By working just four days a week local chefs could earn a greater wage than if they were spending the time in a restaurant's kitchen. If they're able to fill orders five days a week they'll make around £65,000 (US$100, 000) a year, which is a great work from home income.
"We're confident this flexibility and salary will attract more and more top cooks to join the service as time goes on. This will also ensure that the quality of the food on offer will continue to grow as competition for customers increases."
Feedback through social media is a key part of the business with users to rating their food, tweeting local cooks, adding comments to the Facebook page and interacting in forums.
Currently housebites.com is only offered in London.