What makes FoodtoEat different?
“We concentrate on representing immigrant women- and/or minority-run, -led and -operated businesses,” said Deepti Sharma, founder and CEO of FoodtoEat. “When I started the company, I was thinking about who am I and who do I want to represent. I’m a first-generation immigrant, I’m a woman of color, and that’s exactly who I wanted to represent. For us, we come in and take over their sales and marketing and help them tell their stories better to larger corporations. Our clients are like Microsoft, EBay, ad agencies and a lot of these companies are interested in diversity and inclusion. But they are really only focused on hiring, and then think ‘We’ve done our part in diversity.’ Diversity is beyond that. We are trying to get them to think about how they can use their purchasing power to invest in the community that they’re a part of.”
Some places have great food but don’t know how to get the message out, right?
A lot of times they are just concentrated on working in the business instead of on the business. They get caught up in dealing with employees or logistics of how to get the food at a cheaper cost. They forget that in order to grow, sales and marketing are a part of that. We see these vendors as partners, as opposed to a third-party service. We really want to get to know these businesses and their trials and tribulations. A lot of times they will say ‘Hey, this is the cost of our food,’ and we say ‘Well, you know you’re underselling yourself and losing money.’ A lot of times they don’t understand, for instance, pricing dynamics.”
How do use tech to help these small-business vendors?
“We’ve created a platform where they upload info and they present themselves, their costs, and all of that. The other thing we are doing — this is social media more than tech — we’re doing a campaign called I Made Your Food, where we’re highlighting the stories. So we’re photographing all the vendors holding signs saying “I made your food” and the idea is to take a step back from tech and putting it in front of people, and having these photographs printed and delivered with every single meal. We want to strike emotion. People don’t think about where their food came from. Every time a company places an order, they are receiving these photographs so they are understanding the importance of our mission. And it’s not just ‘Oh yeah they are providing great food,’ but it is also ‘Who are the people?’ And it’s providing them the platform and the place to talk about themselves and tell their stories. It’s a really simple thing. Just upload your info and have a place of access to have the world understand who you are.”