For many NYC restaurants this year, every cent counts when trying to survive.
About 1,500 restaurants across the boroughs have moved over to a new ordering and delivery service to do just that. The new platform is called Spread. It cuts out the hefty fees you might find on other food apps by skipping the commission bit, allowing all the money from purchases to go directly to the restaurant you order from.
Wondering how it works? Just head over to tryspread.com and search your area for restaurants. A map will show participating restaurants and a click-through will take you to their menus, where you can order directly from the restaurant.
Each participating eatery offers regular menu prices, instead of hiking them up to cover commission fees and surcharges, and some offer discounts available only to those who order through Spread.
The platform is still growing, but for having just launched at the beginning of 2021, there's already a solid mix of eateries you can order from, including midtown's MakiMaki Sushi.
That neighborhood's restaurants—which normally cater to the business lunch crowd—have taken a beating during the pandemic, MakiMaki owner Kevin Takarada told us. To compensate, the company expanded its delivery zone and signed up for every platform, but the lower fees attracted them to Spread.
"The delivery platforms can take up to 33% with transaction costs included so I knew [the Spread] platform of really low commission was a win," Takarada said. "Having said that we started off slow with Spread but we are seeing some material growth these days."
Andrew Wang and Joseph Lim are the founders of Spread. Wang previously worked for Groupon's restaurants team. During his time there, he said the company had considered changing up its business model for delivery and takeout but ultimately settled on taking commissions. That set Wang and Lim on their own journey to provide a new platform that doesn't take commissions.
Last year, as the pandemic hit, Wang threw Spread together as a way to send out marketing and special offer texts for restaurants, but in early 2021, he and Lim launched their Spread marketplace.
How does spread exist if it doesn't take a percentage of commission? It charges a flat rate—$1 per order rather than a hefty percentage—which pays for the cost of running the Spread marketplace, web hosting and customer service. If a restaurant wants marketing done (text campaigns, for example), Spread can help with that too, but it's an optional fee.
Spread is focusing on providing this service to New York City right now, expanding on a neighborhood by neighborhood basis, with hopes to one day go national like those bigger food apps.
"It's pretty daunting going up against Doordash and Gruhub, but by coming to spread, it should ultimately be the same value," Wang said. "If you order direct, you will get the best prices. That there has to exist a version of this that is not commissioned on every order. Our goal is to bring a new paradigm into how food delivery should work."
To see which of your favorite restaurants are on Spread or to sign up, head to tryspread.com.
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