It seems like delivery services can bring you anything these days—from medication to paper towels to tacos. But King of Prussia-native Jordyn Adegun noticed there were barely any options for vegans on food delivery apps.
Motivated by his own desires to find good food as well as help out his fellow vegans, Adegun started Live Better Food Delivery, an all-vegan food finder and delivery service app based in Philadelphia. With it, users can not only instantly get delicious recommendations from around the city, but can order for takeout and expect a quick and seamless delivery to their home.
This interview has been edited for length, clarity, and style.
MB: Can you give us a bit of background on the app?
JA: The app officially started, I’d say around the middle of last year. There were two big reasons why I had founded the app. The first reason was because when you are a vegan it can be difficult to find food.
It’s very easy for anyone who’s not vegan, right? You just go into your phone, you type in “food near me.” But as a vegan, I noticed it would be difficult for me to go out to eat—especially if I was eating with someone that wasn’t vegan, because then you would obviously have to find a place that fits both.
On my phone, I would look up Google Maps. I would use the different delivery app filters. I would use Yelp. And nothing was around, so I’d be like, ‘Screw it, I’ll just go here.’ And then I would go to a restaurant, and they would have like a full vegan menu. And I’d be like, “Wow, this is weird, you don’t come up in any of the searches.”
It started happening constantly. And I was like, “Wow, there should really be a fix for this.”
So it initially started out as a vegan food finder, where it just makes it really easy for vegans anywhere to go on their phone and find all the vegan options no matter where they are. And then on top of that, instead of having to go through the hassle of figuring out what’s vegan on a restaurant’s menu, the entire app is vegan. So anything that you’re looking at, even if it’s not a vegan restaurant, is going to be a vegan food item.
The reason why we did that was because delivery is obviously a very big and competitive space but if you type in “vegan” in most delivery apps, restaurants with good vegan options won’t come up. Like Triangle Tavern in South Philly, they actually have a 50/50 menu, so 50% of their options are vegan. A restaurant like that—I’d say probably the top two or three most popular restaurants for vegan foods in the city… They don’t come up and that’s pretty crazy.
I realized that and I was, like, that’s a big issue that we’re able to solve.
I also learned about all the different practices that they did about the high commission rates and I wanted to see if I could find a way to solve that. So with the restaurants that we work with, we just focus on allowing them to leverage their own customers, and we don’t take a commission from the restaurants and they really, really, really love that. It feels amazing just to be able to support local.
MB: How would a user use the Live Better app, step by step?
JA: As soon as you open the app, you get the little onboarding screen basically just telling you how the app works. Once you go through that, it drops you right into the map. So it’s gonna be very different from the delivery apps currently, where they’re going to show you all the different restaurants—it’s going to drop you right into the vegan food finder because a big use with our app is it isn’t just for people that are ordering food because we have that food finder. A lot of people won’t even actually order from restaurants, they’ll just use the app to find different food around them.
Then you can click on the pin, and they’ll show you the restaurant, you can see their different reviews for the restaurant, you can see their menu items. And again, it’s a 100% vegan menu, so you don’t have to worry about calling, asking the staff, trying to figure out what’s vegan, what’s not. We do all that work for them. And then if you want to order from our partner restaurants, you’re able to order food from the partner restaurants and they have a special pin on the map that stands out from the others.
MB: So they are able to order directly through the app and then delivery drivers will come and grab it?
JA: Yeah, exactly. That’s one of the biggest things we noticed—that our delivery experience is actually completely different from the other experiences as well.
We can kind of maneuver a lot of different ways that a lot of the big companies couldn’t do so we kind of had a lot of different things that we tested from feedback from the restaurants. And that was probably the biggest thing that we found that customers love.
Right now, when you order food, there’s really no experience when you order food. So someone orders, and then the food gets to your door, and you get robotic notifications. And a lot of the time, unfortunately, too, the average food deliveries, is about an hour-and-a-half. So what we noticed early on was since we didn’t have all the fancy technology, we had to do a personalized experience ourselves.
All of our drivers are actually vetted, so you can’t just have a driver’s license and sign up for our service, which is very different. We actually vet the drivers to make sure that they have a positive attitude when they’re driving, that they actually feel fulfilled when they’re doing the job. That they make that customer’s day and feel like it’s an actual waiter instead of being a delivery driver. Instead of you getting the robotic notifications and everything, the driver is actually in text message communication with the customer the entire time. We focus on giving our drivers special delivery equipment as well, which it seemed very minor at first, I wasn’t really too keen on it as something that I wanted to test but it made a giant enormous difference.
They get an electronic delivery bag that’s heated. Because of that we can do further deliveries—the average delivery limit right now is around two miles around the city. We can do up to six-mile deliveries, which is really huge. Then on the other side of that, we actually have these special freezer bags that we work with that will actually keep anything in it frozen for up to eight hours. We’re able to do a lot of different specials and work with a lot of different restaurants because we can deliver things like ice cream, milkshakes and things like that. And it’ll stay frozen for the entire delivery.
The other biggest thing is our average delivery time is 45 minutes as well. We were able to build a business model where, “Hey, we won’t charge you on the restaurant side, if you can do this, and just tell your customers about it.” And that’s what they’ve been able to do. So we don’t charge the restaurant any commission, as long as they can have the food prepared within 20 to 30 minutes.
It’s worked out as a really good partnership to where they don’t just feel like a number on our platform, but they actually feel like we’re working together to kind of make change in the industry.
Download Live Better for iPhone here.