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Foodstuff service delivers 23 Cambridge restaurant options to your door

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Foodstuffs co-founders Toby Savill, left, and James Perry, right, with Jack’s Gelato’s Sara Carreini and Anna McNally. Picture: Keith Heppell
Foodstuffs co-founders Toby Savill, left, and James Perry, right, with Jack’s Gelato’s Sara Carreini and Anna McNally. Picture: Keith Heppell

Foodstuff is Cambridge’s newest cycling delivery service, with 23 local restaurants and takeaways already using the platform to deliver hot food to doorsteps across the city.

The new start-up was initiated by Toby Savill and James Perry. Friends since university in Newcastle (where Toby was a brand ambassador for Deliveroo), the duo strategised the project during lockdown at James’ home in Cambridge.

“I was staying in my campervan to avoid any covid unfriendliness,” said Toby, who worked for Deliveroo before it became associated with fast food. Back then - five years ago - the world-famous cycling courier operation was “a premium offer, so in that sense they were originally on a similar mission to where we are now”.

The company started in mid-May.

“By the first weekend we had Jack’s Gelato , Amelie and Chi,” says Toby. “It was five by the second weekend – on average we’ve added two new vendors to the platform every week, until we got to 20.”

The 23 current restaurants and takeaways pay a monthly subscription fee: the riders are paid separately by Foodstuff.

“It’s very reasonable,” says Toby of the fee, “and since we’ve started we’ve delivered orders totalling £50,000.

“James and I started doing the deliveries to start with, and we now have a fleet of 50 riders who pedal for us. There’s a £3 delivery fee which goes to the rider: they’re paid weekly. We’re boot-strapping at the moment, the aim is to bring the riders on to a living wage, so we’re looking to raise the money to help hire them rather than use a gig economy model.”

There is a vetting process for restaurants to get on to the platform.

“All the indy restaurants are really hot on eco-friendly packaging , they take that very seriously,” says Toby. “Taj Tandoori has green, recyclable packaging and colourful biodegradable bags. We encourage them to be eco-friendly with their packaging, but most are doing that anyway.”

Amelie was an early Foodstuff client
Amelie was an early Foodstuff client

There’s no plans to set up an office any time soon, but the duo can be seen helping out and having catch-ups with suppliers and riders on King’s Parade.

The delivery area is a two-mile radius around each restaurant.

“Each restaurant has their own bubble rather than one big circle” is how Toby puts it, adding: “We’re about to make our first hire for the operational manager role.”

This remarkable (not always for the right reasons) year has seen new-found respect for local businesses – and new resources to deliver produce, goods and menus to homes in and around the city.

The summer has seen the arrival of Click It Local, which now has 100 Cambridge businesses on its platform . Last week there was Mecommi - for Cambridge market traders - and now Foodstuff. They join Full Circle , Thrive , Sook , Stir, The Gog farm shop, Cambridge Fruit Company and others who are making progress in a reinvigorated sector of the local economy.

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