Courtesy of Sharebite
Courtesy of Sharebite
The average New Yorker orders in two or three times per week, pulls out their phone to snap a photo before they pick up their fork, and is constantly on the search for something new and exciting — and delicious.
Now, a new ordering platform with the bandwidth of GrubHub has built photo-loading into the equation, giving you the chance to order the best-looking Kung Pao in your hood or try that dish that looked weird in the description but is actually pretty easy on the eyes. Plus, photo-uploaders get discounts for sharing.
What could make this premise even sweeter?
Every time you place an order, several meals are donated to City Harvest as part of an initiative to help feed some of the 400,000 children across the city who don’t have enough to eat.
Sharebite, a new food-ordering platform founded by Mohsin Memon and Ahsen Saber, has developed a database of more than 2,000 restaurants and allows users to donate meals simply by ordering food from their local neighborhood restaurants.
Essentially, they have created the first Socially Conscious food-ordering platform in the country.
A $30 order from that local pizzeria, for example, automatically translates to five meals donated, and for those who want their take-out to translate to dollars instead, there are millions of charities to choose from that will receive a percentage of your order total.
The service has really gained momentum during a time when Islamophobia has been at its most disturbing height since after Sept. 11, 2001. The founders, whose families both originally hail from Pakistan, hope that the development of this platform sends a clear message: People within the Muslim community want to make a positive contribution to New York society.
Thus came the idea of helping to feed children from all walks of life and bring people together on a platform that doubles as an “online altruistic food community.”
With our current generation of consumers increasingly concerned with where their food comes from, how it’s sourced, and even how it’s transported to restaurant kitchens, the next logical step would be to add a philanthropic arm to the way its brought from the kitchen to their front door.
“We realized that if everyone who ordered takeout in New York City did so on a site like the one we created, we would be able to feed every hungry child here,” Memon said. “That was a huge realization — that sharing small bites can make a big impact.”
There are other innovative ideas at play where Sharebite is concerned: Data shows that people are 64 percent more likely to try a new type of food if they see a photo first, so the site credits $1 off the next order placed for every food photo you upload (one per order).
“We believe people choose dishes, not restaurants, so the app is focused on dish search and discovery,” Memon says .
It shouldn’t be too difficult to get momentum going there, since people now pick up their phones to take a photo before they pick up their forks. That mechanism is also useful for New Yorkers who have been disappointed in quality as they try new things.
Sharebite also plays a part in reducing food waste by allowing restaurants to sell excess inventory at discounted prices.
“We also plan to eventually have a system where all remaining waste is eliminated by connecting it to local food banks and shelters,” Memon says.
Additionally, the platform just launched its Corporate Employee Impact Program, and the founders plan to meet the demand for NYC-based companies to feed employees while also giving back to the local community and helping to enhance Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives.
As of January 2017, more than 65,000 meals have been donated to City Harvest, and thousands of dollars have gone to nonprofits that are quite popular among New Yorkers such as God's Love We Deliver and Big Brothers, Big Sisters.
By living the "American Dream" of becoming entrepreneurs — and doing so by building a giving-back component into their business model — this duo may have found a way to revolutionize the way New Yorkers order their food.
“Our intention is to have a social impact, and we happen to be Muslim-Americans,” Memon said. “We're just like everyone else, striving to do good and fighting a common problem, childhood hunger happening right here in our city.”
For more New York City stories, click here.