My husband and I are two of the partners of Malka – a beautiful restaurant in Portland. It took all five of us two and a half years to build the restaurant and we finally opened in January 2020. All of a sudden, COVID caused us to close indoor seating and rely on take-out to sustain the business. Luckily, we had tons of community support, many of our customers bought gift cards and ordered takeout via phone. Thanks to them, we are surviving. Same as other eateries, we started getting requests for delivery, so we researched our options. All the delivery companies were charging roughly the same – 30% to 60% – on each order. This is devastating for a restaurant business. The delivery companies either don’t know that or don’t care. The margins on each order alone are much less than their commission. We would definitely make losses if we relied only on delivery. We still have our phone line and it’s still our main source of business. We did end up joining Caviar so customers at least have a delivery option.
It then occurred to us that we could solve this problem ourselves and make sure that a restaurant’s needs are addressed. We are both software engineers with a Ph.D. in Computer Science. We could do this! My husband was already developing a food finding app with an amazing team in India. We wondered if we could just add online ordering and delivery as a feature. So we did just that!
We have now launched FREE online ordering for local pickup, and delivery is coming soon. Our goal is to generate revenue from delivery orders and maybe a small one-time setup fee in the future.
We believe online ordering alone will help eateries take orders more efficiently and allow contactless service for customers. I have 2 little kids and anyone who is a parent with young ones will know how difficult it is to wait in line to order takeout. So I love this feature because I can order from home and pickup when the food is ready.
We learnt something else during COVID. Some anonymous donors gave Malka money to buy food for people who could not afford it. This pay-it-forward program become very popular. We were able to spare 6-10 free food orders for people in need everyday for several weeks during the peak COVID time. I thought this was such a good idea to integrate into the app and so the “pay it forward” feature was born. Today, using Slurpalicious, you can give to any restaurant on the platform.
Soon, we will provide delivery service for a reasonable cost to eateries, establish fair pay for the driver, and lower costs for the customer. We will do this using our proprietary delivery algorithm that optimizes delivery routes. But before that, we wanted to understand our competition. My husband signed up as a driver at one of the biggest food delivery companies. He got 2 deliveries in 2 hours. Delivery companies paid him $8 in total and customers paid tips. One customer ordered a $12 meal, got charged $7.99 for delivery and paid $3 in tips. So $22.99 for a $12 order! After paying the 30% commission, restaurant only gets to keep $8.40 and still owes credit card fees. My husband got $3 in tips, but without that, the driving costs alone would not be covered. The winner – by far – is the delivery company. Simply unfair. Instead, we want to create a business that helps everyone thrive. In order to do that, we will need at least 40 eateries to sign up. We have currently launched in Astoria and are expanding into Portland. Sign-up and online ordering for pickup is completely free at the moment.
If you share our values and want low-cost delivery that’s fair to all, ask all of your favorite eateries to join us. Your voice means a lot to them. If you are an eatery, sign up with us for free online order and local pickup. Without enough eateries, it will be hard to build a low-cost delivery infrastructure. If you are an organization or association, please help spread the word by posting on your website or social media. If you have a grant, donate to our pay it forward program so people in need can benefit from it. Finally, download Slurpalicious and share your food finds. Take a picture of your food and post. Slurpalicous can make any food find searchable – even if its not already on the Map! Bombshell a dish you like, put places in your “Been” or “Try” list, and share your lists with others. If you want to collaborate or have any questions, email us at