By Thibault Bloyet, co-founder, Fooducoin
The meeting that would change everything
On January 23rd 2017, Julien and I, co-founders of Fooducoin, met Michel Lepine, president and founder of À la Carte Express, a Montreal food delivery service. Like many meetings between entrepreneurs, this meeting had no established objective other than getting to meet and exchange thoughts of each other’s respective visions. The meeting was a real eye-opener on our industry, À La Carte Express had been operating in Montreal for 20 years, so Michel knew the industry inside out. As Fooducoin was quite idealistic, Michel’s pragmatism gave Fooducoin a little reality check it needed. On our part, we shared with Michel our vision of the industry trends which is not only heading towards addressing societal issues, but in itself will become a market segment for Fooducoin to operate in.
This meeting gave us a new perspective which allowed us to reflect on the future of our business.
It would not be the last meeting but a taste of what was to come as multiple meetings over many months would follow, leading to many new ideas. We quickly realized that we had to double down and focus on our corporate clientele and seriously think about the greening of our operations. Once we took our first steps towards that direction, we knew we were just starting!
Every week, Michel, Julien and me would meet in a small cafe and discuss the future of our industry.
Shared Values, 1 Bond
Exactly 4 months after the first meeting, on May 23rd 2017, both Fooducoin and À La Carte Express gathered both their teams and sat down to discuss.
During this meeting, we decided that our Fooducin delivery men will also be delivering for À La Carte Express, and while À La Carte Express was rebuilding their website, À La Carte Express would commit to no longer offer napkins and utensils to their customers for environmental reasons. So for the first time in 20 years, À La Carte Express was going green!
Shanat Martin, a key figure at À La Carte Express, wanted to take this greening a step further. Julien and I were willing to take this collaboration between these businesses a step further as well; like us, members of À La Carte Express cherished Montreal restaurants and felt like they were becoming a small fish in a big pond. Thus, without hesitation, we offered to work with them regularly to rival the big fish in the pond.
These upcoming months collaborating with them wi’ll be a success on many fronts:
Together, we found a winning formula for Fooducoin by offering a small and simple selection of corporate lunch boxes from Fooducoin partnering restaurants. These lunch boxes are called TRIOOO and will be offered at www.fooducoin.com. All the individual meals offered to non-corporate clients will be transferred at www.alce.ca under the name “Fooducoin Selection”.
Delivering by bike was a great success for À La Carte Express and as a result, Michel decided to keep this delivery method and even prefer it over cars which À La Carte Express traditionally used. So this made us ask one question; if both businesses would deliver food by bike, than why not combine our customer service and operations too?
But before jumping into this decision, we took the time to reflect on the shared values upheld by both businesses. Thanks to the advice of Rita Baker, we were able to clearly identify these shared values and agree that Fooducoin would join forces with À La Carte Express.
We jointly established a development plan while keeping both identities separate, and we to agreed upon prioritizing many commitments:
- maximizing the number of deliveries by bike to become carbon neutral
- offer reusable and recyclable containers for restaurants of both enterprises
- reduce waste by avoiding the use of non-recyclable objects
- support the local economy and invigorate restaurants from the neighbourhood
- work to better serve Montreal businesses.
This is only the beginning
On November 8th 2017, Fooducoin officially joined forces with À La Carte Express. Both businesses now work under the same roof and continue to think and reimagine the future of the food delivery service industry in Montreal.
As a committed actor ourselves, we hope to build a compelling future for everyone contributing to our activities. We wish to give restaurants from the neighborhood a voice, as they are often set aside by industry giants.
We wish that our delivery men are dignified through their work, during the summer and winter, and that they do meaningful work. We also wish to connect local actors to out industry with each other to invigorate the circular economy and Quebec’s economy. We wish to engage with our customers for future decisions on our business, and find the best solutions to certify our delivery service 100% Montreal. We wish to contribute to the preservation of our planet, now more fragile than ever.
Both businesses working hand-in-hand, the best has yet to come!