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Food & Beverage

How startup Bistro Planet delivers to foodies, and helps the trucks that make the food

Key Points
  • The two men behind the technology of Eaze, the uber of marijuana, saw their next opportunity in food trucks, and created the platform Bistro Planet.
  • Bistro Planet has apps for both food truck owners and customers to connect foodies to food trucks and provide business technologies to truck owners.
  • The app's point of sale system competes with Square.
  • The food truck industry grew at an annual rate of 7.9 percent from 2011-2016, reaching nearly $870 million.
Bistro Planet co-founder and CEO Roie Edery stands outside of food truck Marcel Waffles in Los Angeles.
Source: Bistro Planet

After pioneering the technology behind marijuana delivery service Eaze, Roie Edery and Aleksey Klempner began looking for other industries that were "ripe for a technological disruption" — and they kept coming back to food trucks.

The food truck industry is a lucrative niche, with revenue growing at an annual rate of 7.9 percent from 2011-2016, according to research firm IBISWorld, hitting nearly $870 million.

However, the business of running a food truck is complicated and often inefficient, Edery and Klempner found.

"We had a front row seat into disruptive technology in an area where the [food truck] industry was very manual and very disjointed and fragmented," Edery told CNBC recently.

"And we kept coming back to the mobile food vendor space…which has its own set of challenges that have pretty much not been even attempted to be remedied by technology companies, so that's where we saw the opportunity," he added.

Edery and Klempner set out to unite the entire food truck market under one platform, by connecting foodies to food trucks, and providing business technologies to food truck owners.

In June, they launched their app Bistro Planet in Los Angeles, and it has already expanded into California's Orange County amid significant user growth. More than 10,000 users and 250 food trucks currently use the platform, according to Edery, the start up's CEO. Around 50,000 meals have been served through the app so far.

Bistro Planet app

'Really big needs'

Bistro Planet differs from other food truck apps out there because it takes a broader, more holistic approach, Edery said.

"We set out to establish a technology framework that addresses many of [food truck owners'] really big needs, rather than individual needs which is what most of the technologies out there today are trying to do," he said.

LA food truck owner and Bistro Planet user Severin Stone said his "really big needs" are reaching more clients, and ultimately becoming more profitable. Utilizing Bistro Planet's technology has helped him in reaching those goals, he said.

"Everybody wants something faster, everybody shops online, everybody doesn't want to leave home and go to a mall and wait for their food or go to a store," Stone said. Bistro Planet "creates such a better customer experience…And what the app really does is give ease and convenience to our customers," he added.

There is one app for food truck owners like Stone, called Bistro Connect, while Bistro Planet is for food truck customers.

Owners can use the app to book lots online, update their menu and send out social media blasts, and there's a Point of Sale system built in specifically for food trucks. The customer app can locate nearby food trucks in real-time, view their menu and prices, order, pre-pay and track for a quick pick up.

Many small business owners currently use Square, another credit card processor, and Edery said his system is "competitive with Square" as they have the same 2.75 percent rate.

With bistro planet, we take the supply, which currently is the food truck, and bring it near demand centers. So supply and demand sort of meet in the middle.
Roie Edery
Bistro Planet co-founder and CEO

There are lots of choices for food delivery apps, including Seamless, Postmates and UberEATS. However, Edery boasted that Bistro Planet is a cheaper alternative for foodies

Those apps have a unit economic challenge because the consumer has to pay a person to make two stops—go to a restaurant to pick up the food and deliver it to them—which makes it tough to scale down the fixed cost. The fee for delivery and tip ends up being an additional $6-8, Edery said.

If a customer orders from a food truck on Bistro Planet, they only get charged a 99 cent fee. Even though the consumer must go to the truck to get their food, it's cheaper and most trucks are located in prime locations.

"With Bistro Planet, we take the supply, which currently is the food truck, and bring it near demand centers. So supply and demand sort of meet in the middle," Edery said.

The platform is currently self-funded with three partners, but it is in the middle of its seed round, gaining some private investors and talking to some venture capital firms, Edery revealed.

The company is making big investments in analytics and technology, specifically looking into faster pay outs, better rates and even transaction-based micro loans to help provide food trucks with cash reserves.

"We're going to be launching some very competitive features in our space in the next couple weeks and months," Edery said.