My Startup: Bookachef, Manchester
Bookachef is a transparent temporary chef booking service - immediately connecting skilled kitchen workers with the providers that need them.
Given that chefs are in such high demand, agencies have become the norm in the sector, but this can prove slow and expensive. Bookachef provides a clear platform where relief chefs can choose where they go, as well as the hours they work - in a notoriously long-hour industry.
For chefs, the platform is free, quick and easy to sign up to - so pros can jump straight to work at a time that suits them, and get paid a fair rate.
Founders: Duncan Falconer and Chris Askew
Why did you start Bookachef?
I'd built up and sold a multi-site restaurant pub business employing over 40 chefs.
Recruiting to meet staffing levels within kitchens was becoming more and more problematic, and use of agency chefs was becoming more and more necessary. Dealing with agencies from a customer perspective proved to be problematic on many occasions - not knowing what chef would turn up, and not being able to understand the rate the chef was being paid.
Bookachef was set up to solve these issues, allowing customers access to an online platform detailing chef profiles, rates and reviews, offering a transparent, honest approach to the temporary chef market.
Tell us more about the tech behind the product.
The web platform was built from the bottom up, taking inspiration from many sources including Uber, Airbnb and Match.
Where are you at right now?
Bookachef is expanding the business by seeking franchisees to utilise the platform at a regional level across the UK.
What are your aims for the next year?
To expand the network and have coverage across the UK
What's been the hardest thing about getting Bookachef off the ground?
As with all end-to-end platforms, building a customer base while building a candidate base from scratch has presented challenges.
Why should more people be using Bookachef?
It's a simple, cost-effective means to cover gaps in staffing needs within the growing hospitality sector.
How much will it cost users - and why is it worth the investment?
Bookachef charges a flat booking fee of £20 per shift.