How it Works
The premise behind eKitchenette is simple. Restaurant owners can upload menus and special dishes to the app, and connect with influencers who want to promote them. Influencers choose which dishes to promote, and post pictures and details of the food to their relevant social media channels. Their followers can then click the attached special link to order for delivery, click and collect, or make an advanced booking to dine in. Once a sale is made, the influencer receives a commission.
“What we believe is that anyone can be an influencer,” Thomas says. “Anyone who is passionate about food and their local restaurants can engage with their followers and promote their favourite dishes. We want to create a symbiotic relationship between the restaurant, the influencer, and the consumer.”
The data shows that influencer marketing is hugely successful. According to Awin, millennials trust influencers more than they trust celebrities, and customers read an average of 10 online reviews before trusting a business. “Ultimately, we’re trying to build a trusted community,” Thomas explains. “We’re behind the scenes providing the platform, but influencers and consumers can help their local restaurants by promoting amazing food.”
Influencers and restaurants within a specific niche can easily find one another through the app. For example, a vegan influencer could connect with vegan-friendly restaurants, or someone with a passion for Asian food could work with Asian restaurants. Restaurants can hand-select influencers to work with, or choose to allow anyone to promote them.
Joining eKitchenette is free for both businesses and influencers. There are no sign-up fees, and payments are only due after a sale. This means there is zero risk to either party.
eKitchenette also collects robust engagement data, allowing business owners to gain a deeper insight into their customers’ views and preferences. This information can be used in developing new dishes, improving recipes, and enhancing future marketing campaigns for better results.
I asked Thomas about what he and the team have learned through this process and what advice he would give to people looking to start their own business.
“At IBM we say ‘think, prepare, rehearse’,” he says. “It’s a cycle. As you rehearse, you might realise there’s something wrong and rethink what you’re doing. Then you can try again and again in a series of iterations.”
Thomas also advised that new business owners take a “bootstrapping” approach when they’re starting out. “If you start with minimal or no funding, that’s where you challenge yourself to the maximum,” he says. “Do it because you’re passionate. Do it on the side until you feel that you’ve cornered the right solution. Then you can seek funding and investment.”
“Stretch your discovery phase before you invest too much into launching or development,” he adds. “This will validate that no matter what scenario is thrown at you, your plan will see you through. Ask for feedback and welcome it.”
The discovery phase for eKitchenette can be traced back around five years to when Thomas first had an idea, and has been refined since he met Ali two years ago. We think the results speak for themselves!
How can you get involved?
eKitchenette will go live on 1 June 2021. A number of influencers have already signed up, along with 29 restaurants from across the UK in cities including Leicester, London, Cardiff, and Birmingham. The team hopes to have more members before the official launch and are encouraging restaurants and influencers from anywhere in the UK to sign up.
You can do so by visiting the eKitchenette website and contacting the team.