Fi: Tell us a little bit about what Foodstuff is all about
Nok: Foodstuff is a food and drink delivery service with a difference. We position ourselves as an ethical alternative to the delivery giants such as Deliveroo and Ubereats. Our main values are that we support only independent restaurants - no chains. Often other big platforms are dominated and marketed towards chain restaurants - the algorithm favours them and it’s really hard for independent companies to be seen. From what independents do make on other platforms, they’re hit with really high commissions - up to 35%. We’re trying to create a platform that’s better for independents.
We’re also all about being a more ethical choice for our consumers. We pay our riders a real living wage, they’re employed directly by us so it isn’t ‘gig economy’. ‘Gig economy’ gives riders instability - there’s been so many protests with other companies. We treat our riders as in-house staff, so they work for us on a shift basis. They’re paid hourly so if it’s really quiet they won’t lose out on pay. We have regular community meet-ups - we go to the pub or a new restaurant every month. We’re striving to have the best rider welfare in the industry. It’s not that the people are different - we often have ex riders of other platforms. We treat them well, so they’re happier to work for us. They aren’t under time pressures - ‘gig economy’ is paid per drop. Riders aim to get in and out as quickly as possible which can make for seemingly rude riders - but actually they’re just operating the way that they’re paid. It's front-of-house on wheels. On Instagram we do a weekly meet the riders - they’re really great people.
The other thing we do is try to have fair and transparent pricing. We don’t do under the table deals for anyone - everyone gets exactly the same rates. We have two sets of rates - one if you’re exclusively Foodstuff and one if you’re on multiplatform. You can see all of our pricing is very transparently written on our website, so anyone can see it at any time.
Fi: What are the best spots in Manchester to order to?
Nok: On the regular I order to Huckletree - where I work. It’s a really cool co-working space. As soon as summer hits I’ll be heading down to the Ancoats marina and ordering there. Potentially at the weekend if I’m in a pub garden, loads of pubs don’t have in-house food, such as Cask by the canal or Rose and Monkey on Great Ancoats Street - we’re going to be working with them to sort table toppers with QR codes for food delivery.
Fi: What does the future of food delivery look like?
Nok: In terms of values, hopefully it's Foodstuff. We need to have a more fair and ethical alternative out there. The model out there right now doesn’t benefit a lot of the people involved. Quite often it’s not great for the consumer either. Sometimes the food and drink quality is not great. Foodstuff only works with the best food in the city, from independents, who tend to use locally sourced, better quality ingredients. Because we have a smaller delivery radius orders turn up at the temperature they’re intended to (hot food, cold wine). Since the pandemic and looking at the future of delivery services, people want things on demand. Going into summer, if you’re at the park and suddenly decide you’re hungry or want a cold bottle of wine, we can provide that. So I think it’s just about keeping it ethical and sustainable.
Fi: What’s your favourite wine?
Nok: It’s the fizzy Pet Nat red. Cherry notes, from KERB - Ancre Hill Pet Nat Red. That was really good, we had it with pizza outside Double Zero. We shared it with our friends. Also that fizzy Prosecco one - Casa Belfi, Frizzante Bio. I love the fizz for summer.
Fi: What are the best occasions to order wine for?
Nok: Any occasion is an occasion for ordering wine. But particularly a summer picnic. You can just go to the marina and get some nice local food and some nice wine. Either with friends or a romantic date. You order a bottle of wine and you show off to your date because you know about natural wine.
Fi: Have you been doing that?
Nok: Err… maybe
Fi: I’ve never thought to just go to a park and not bring anything - just order it. That’s great because you don’t have to carry shit with you. That is a cute idea.
Nok: And also you don’t have to know what you want - you can both get different things.
Fi: What’s your dream wine and food pairing?
Nok: Ply have just launched their pasta menu, and they have a vegan carbonara that would be really nice with a nice acidic white - maybe the Valli Unite, Ottavio Rube Bianco . Or Ramona vegan Jaba pizza with maybe a sparkling red - the Camillo Donati, Lambrusco Rosso.