Note: It took longer to write this post than it did to build the startup prototype.
Take a look at the marketplace build here: FoodieCall.ca
As a foodie, I feel bad about the way that Covid has ravaged the Restaurant Industry and the chefs who create the food we all love.
As a techie, I saw an opportunity to share a “startup” idea that could salvage income for chefs, and satisfy the foodie craving so many of us are missing.
Note: I got the idea from a startup located in Austin Texas called Zymmo.
The idea is a marketplace where chefs can create income preparing food for foodies in their own kitchen (depending on Covid restrictions) or a client’s kitchen or teach a virtual cooking lesson on Zoom. Here are some possibilities for services and income that I thought of.
This project was a quick prototype that took a few hours to build and only cost $4.95 for the domain registration. Everything else was free (or existing tools I already owned). I used my WordPress install and added it to this domain as an addon domain. I also used a free Airtable account to run the back end. The images (crude as they are) were done using Canva. I have a pro account, but you could easily create these with the free account.
Tool Stack 🧰
- Namecheap – domain registration, and hosting (installed as an add-on to an existing plan)
- WordPress (used the Divi theme, and front end builder)
Step 1 – Register the Domain 🌐
I thought about a name for my project and came up with the idea of “Foodie Call” – not sure if it’s a good name or not, but I envisioned the connection between a chef and foodie as a “foodie call”, which was supposed to be a cute play on words. (I hope you have the same sense of humor as me 😉 )
So I went to Namecheap, did a search and FoodieCall.ca was mine.
Step 2 – Airtable 🗂️
We have a name, so now let’s think about the backend of our marketplace.
The best choice will be to use Airtable to create a base that can then link to the front end. The base will have the information and offers for each chef, and will also have a form for chefs to add themselves to our marketplace.
Step 3 – Create the WordPress Site 🇼
I have a lifetime license for Divi, and it has a very nice page builder, so that was an easy choice. But, you could just as easily use another free theme, and take the time to make your pages look and feel the way that best represents your style.
My goal with this site was to make it straight forward, not too flashy, but include everything needed to run the validation and see if this business has potential. I think it could.
Step 4 – Put together the pages, the images, and the Airtable content 💻
I designed some very simple and plain images to use for the site. These included the following:
Now, it’s time to dive into WordPress and create the pages. The structure for this site is very easy. It has five pages, home page, chefs page, foodies page, contact form, and an FAQ which I’ve never used, but have ready just in case.
To see the pages as they look right now go to https://foodiecall.ca and check them out.
The Airtable content was also very easy to create, you can create everything you need using a Free Airtable account.
As you can see in the image below I have 4 tabs set up. But I only use 2 of them. The other 2 are not necessary but can be implemented in the future if needed.
The “chef’s display” is the content that you see displayed on the site. It has all the details for each chef, including offers, and contact info. I have arrows pointing to the pink “Share view” button because that is where you generate the code for displaying the content on the actual website.
The “chefs” tab is a copy of the “chef’s display” tab that has a form set up so that chefs can add themselves to the site. I then check the submissions and copy them over if they are legit.
In the image below, you can see the arrows pointing to the settings I used. Feel free to use whatever you like. Play around and find what suits your needs.
Step 5 – Keep the landing page simple and to the point.
I really only wanted a couple of options for the visitors of this site. It could be improved upon in the future, but for now, you decide if you are a “foodie” or a “chef” and click the button. The next pages give more info and try to entice the user to sign up for our list. That’s where you can sell the service and the community more.
That’s a quick rundown of how I built this marketplace prototype. I don’t have plans to pursue this business, but I sincerely hope that someone does – especially in Saskatoon. Our city is a great location for foodies, chefs, and restaurants.
There is a lot of opportunities to help local chefs develop their online presence and build a personal business that satisfies their creativity and offers great food to locals.
Don’t forget to check it out at FoodieCall.ca.
If you have any questions or comments, hit me up on Twitter, comment or DM me.