MealSurfers offers hungry people authentic food from home cooks
Start-up website aims to create Uber of home-made meals
Ordering some take-out food isn't uncommon, so why not pick up some grub from someone's place?
That's what MealSurfers aims to do. The start-up website connects people who love to cook with people who love to eat. The difference is the home-cooked meals are provided and the customers must visit a house or condo to pick up their grub of choice.
The concept is similar to Uber and Airbnb, moving society closer to a more shared economy.
Ali Jiwani is the co-founder of MealSurfers. He told CBC Radio's Metro Morning he got the idea while living in downtown Toronto and trying to find something to eat.
"There's either really expensive restaurants, which take a long time to deliver ... or really cheap fast-food, which is really unhealthy for you, or you could get frozen food from a grocery story."
'Very simple' way to order
Jiwani said newcomers to Canada might also stand to benefit if they were able to sell the food they learned to make back home to provide authentic meals to hungry locals at a fair price.
He added the ordering process is "very, very simple" once you visit the website. Cuisines available range from Middle Eastern to Italian, plus plenty more.
The co-founder admitted it may take some time for the public to warm up to the idea or picking up food from someone's home, but his start-up is a modern spin on an old concept as seen in places such as India and China.
"Sharing of food has been common for a very long time," he said, adding most people don't really know how meals are being prepared at restaurants and put their faith in the green inspection signs at storefronts.
'The cook can do a great job'
Jiwani said the company has hired someone to ensure there is a food safety process, which is currently being rolled out to the market so cooks have the tools to provide safe and clean meals.
"We try to find an innovative way to prove that the cook can do a great job," he said.
Cooks who make food for MealSurfers usually make a profit of several dollars on each of their meals, which typically cost anywhere from $5 to $18 per plate, according to the website's co-founder.
Jiwani said he doesn`t want to build a multi-million dollar business, he just wants to provide new income streams for people who have recently arrived in Canada and are looking to make use of their skills.
"When I'm able to do that for them, that's what makes me really happy," he said.