Building a Community with Home-Cooked Meals

Good Meal Hunting is revolutionizing the concept of home-cooked meals – not just for customers, but for cooks as well. For the first time, home cooks who don’t have any experience and lack the resources to go into business no longer need to worry about anything besides what they do best: making good food.

When CEO Gear Fajardo moved to the Philippines fifteen years ago and had trouble finding work, cooking helped her gain confidence and became a source of income. Up until she got a corporate job, she found herself selling lunchbox meals to officemates and friends, before deciding she wanted to automate the process of logistics, marketing and online payment for home cooks.

Good Meal Hunting: Building a Community with Home-Cooked Meals

Rather than starting her own restaurant or shop, Gear had always wanted to help others have sustainable businesses. Having looked up to her mother, whom she described as an excellent cook but who eventually had to stop due to a lack of resources, Gear realized that many home cooks are overlooked just because they lack the connections or the confidence to build a business. Moved by this, she wanted to use her expertise not for herself but for others.

Thus, Good Meal Hunting was born. Today Gear, alongside her co-founder Lance Pormarejo, has helped over thirty kitchen merchants achieve what they had only ever dreamed of, and allowed them to sell their food without worrying about logistics, marketing, pricing … or just about anything else.

“It basically revolves around the idea wherein we want them to concentrate on their cooking [as] this is their strongest thing,” Lance shares. “Everything else we want to do for them, even in terms of customer service, dealing with their clients and making sure their clients are happy, management of their orders and making sure their bills are paid through the [online payment] system.”

It’s much more than just a service, however. Good Meal Hunting has created a community for its merchants as well, hosting meet-ups and potlucks as well as having open online communication so the cooks can get to know each other and even assist each other with big orders. Gear states that having many merchants doesn’t mean more competition; rather, it allows Good Meal Hunting to serve a variety of foods that fit everyone’s preference and allows their merchants to help each other out.

They are also the bridge between these merchants and their customers – on Good Meal Hunting’s website, each cook can have an “online kitchen” where they showcase their portfolio, various dishes, and their story. On these profiles, customers can review dishes and give feedback. According to Gear, this is what makes Good Meal Hunting special. She shares, “What I think makes home-cooked meals different is that [customers] know the story of the cook. You know that this mom handcrafted the dish, and you know that when you purchase the dish from her, the money goes directly to her family. It’s not just the food; it’s also the story behind that.”

Good Meal Hunting’s target market is busy parents and professionals. They mostly cater to the business districts, but have merchants and customers all over Metro Manila. According to Lance, they mostly cater to people who want food that tastes as good as home, but who have limited options, little time and unhealthy alternatives. He adds, “What we’re trying to bridge really is that it’s still convenient to get a home-cooked meal even if you’re in the corporate setting.”

But just what does a founder need to get into a community-based, “middle man” type of business like Good Meal Hunting? In Gear and Lance’s case, they needed a very good logistics partner, a trustworthy online payment solution and a lot of communication – most of which, they noted, was done through their mobile- and desktop-responsive website.

But more important than any resource, what Gear points out as the key ingredient is to listen. You need to pay attention to what the merchants and customers want. In their case, they spent a lot of time with the home cooks and figured out what works for each individual merchant. They had to understand the capacities of their merchants before they could focus on the demand. Then they discovered the needs of the customers and focused on the strengths of the suppliers to answer these needs.

Lance also adds, “If you’re going to run a business, make sure you’re solving a problem – that’s very important since this ensures that you’re actually addressing a market [and offering] something valuable or of need.”

Certainly, Good Meal Hunting is in fact solving a problem for many home cooks in Metro Manila – and will continue to do so, helping many more achieve the food business they’ve always dreamt of.

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