D'Andre Good is the creator and CEO of Urban Eatz, a new food delivery service and mobile app focused on smaller minority-owned restaurants, food trucks and home-based food vendors. Right now, Urban Eatz serves the Houston metro area, but D'Andre has plans to bring it to the national level.
Urban Eatz is all about elevation: The idea is that vendors elevate to food trucks, food trucks elevate to storefronts, and those elevate to franchises. Jobs and capitol go right back into communities.a
The way it works is businesses first register with the service, which then connects them to a network of available drivers, who deliver orders placed through the app. You can download Urban Eatz for Android and iOS. It launched in November 2020 and D'Andre says that today there are about 1,000 active users in the Houston area.
Read the interview with D'Andre Good of Urban Eatz
D'Andre and Urban Eatz are already making news in the Houston Area, but we managed to catch up with him for a wide-ranging interview. Read on for an inside look at Urban Eatz and how D'Andre got his idea off the ground.
Let's get started with a little bit about your background. How did you acquire the skills and knowledge that come into play today?
I have a background in construction, ironically. I was most recently the superintendent in charge of the construction of Texas Southern University’s new library, but I have always been into technology. I just had never found something in particular that grasped my full interest as far as building wise.
I have always had an interest in food and had become known for the various places that I would eat that people would consider to be hidden gems.
So in creating Urban Eatz Delivery, I wanted highlight places like that with something that made a social impact, and that would play a major part in its own industry and level the playing field.
You have one hand in app development and the other in a kind of grassroots community-building through food. How did that happen?
I always knew that I would be a business owner, I just didn’t know what kind of business. I started looking at the trends of today’s times and how we as a people have become accustomed to having everything brought to our doorsteps and noticed that the delivery industry is going to continue to grow.
I wanted to be a part of that growth.
As far as community building, I feel that we as a country would be that much stronger if all communities thrived. There is a market that has largely gone ignored and I would like to be at the forefront in bringing attention to it, and showing other African-American entrepreneurs that we can do business in this tech sector and make an impact.
It would be cool to look back on your experiences developing Urban Eatz — as an app, a community and a business. What pops up in each of those areas?
When it comes to my experiences with the app, there is so much that goes into building one — especially the testing, because when you are dealing with its functionality, you have to factor in how everyone will use it and the problems that may arise as a result of people trying to do certain things.
It's almost like being a mind reader, because you want to identify any potential problems and try to mitigate them.
As a community, we have been well received and the love and support we have been shown is overwhelming. We are truly delivering a taste of the culture and being in Houston, one of the most diverse cities in the country.
As a business, this has been a constant grind, a learning experience, and a great character-builder.
I noticed you build your site with GoDaddy Website Builder. How have GoDaddy's products played into getting Urban Eatz off the ground?
GoDaddy’s products have been an unsung hero. Everything with GoDaddy is so easy to navigate, their customer service is first rate, and our website has a very nice clean look that really helps to draw in our customers. If we need to make changes, it’s very simple and not overly complicated to do so — even a novice can build a quality website.
Imagine I just downloaded the Urban Eatz app. Can you walk me through the user experience?
When you go to your app store, whether iOS or Android, you will set up a profile. Once you are in, you will see every business on the app within 65 miles of your location, listed from closest to farthest away.
You can have anything within 65 miles delivered to you on our app.
You click on the business and see their items, click on the item and add to your cart, then place the order. Once the order is received by the merchant, they will accept it and then the nearest driver to that specific merchant will be notified.
The driver accepts the order, then the customer will be notified of who the driver is, along with their license plate number. The customer will receive updates of when the driver arrives at the merchant, when their order is picked up, and when their order has been delivered.
We also have a feature for parents who set up a profile for their children, but don’t want their children to have their bank card information. They can add money their account (similar to adding money to a school lunch account), and their children can place an order without bothering their parents, as long as their wallet has money in it.
What about restaurants and individuals who make the food? How does it work for them?
For restaurants, their admin panel is a web-based panel, similar to an email. A restaurant owner can run their entire business listing off their cellphone, no need for any extra POS systems. Everything is the same as above, but the merchant will get an alert on their phone telling them about an order, they will accept it, and all of the information regarding the order will be shown.
They will tell the driver how much time it will take to prepare. The driver comes to pick up the order, and the restaurant will be alerted once delivery is made. All orders will be delivered in insulated bags to keep food at temperature.
Also, Urban Eatz Delivery does not hold a restaurant’s money. There is no waiting till the end of the week to get paid. Our system is set up to give the restaurant their money, the drivers theirs, and we get ours. All of the percentages are already taken out.
Did you learn anything you should do (or don't do) based on your experience with the major delivery apps out there today?
I learned that we should not limit ourselves to a certain delivery radius, and also that we shouldn’t hold our merchants’ money. One of our competitors was on the news for owing a restaurant almost $20k from sales.
We understand that for small businesses, that type of money could affect your business tremendously.
Also, I learned to be accessible and relatable. With us, we believe in giving the best customer service possible, and one way of doing that is always having someone on our team available at all times in a position to make decisions.
If you could go back in time — to your lowest point throughout this whole thing — and give yourself some advice, when was it and what would the advice be?
If I could go back in time, that time would be maybe a couple of months back honestly. I would tell myself( which I did) to keep on pushing. We are now in a position to where we are looking to scale our business and expand nationwide, which can become expensive, so we have been pitching to different investors.
I realized that success won’t come overnight — as Nipsey Hussle said, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.”
There are no shortcuts to success and the best thing about building this company is that there have not been any losses, only lessons, which I will appreciate that much more, once we reach our goal of becoming a household name.
What's the future look like for yourself and Urban Eatz?
There is no ceiling for Urban Eatz Delivery, we have the potential to really change the delivery industry, especially as we pivot, while also raising awareness and doing our best to help build our communities and the people within them, from executive level jobs to franchising opportunities.
What's your parting shot for anyone who wants to be like you when they grow up?
My parting shot is, tune in to your star player. If you don’t believe in you and your goals, then it will be hard for others to. Mistakes are a part of living and growing and they will come as you are doing business but what will define you is how you respond.
Roses are some of the most beautiful flowers grown, but they all start off in the dirt. It’s not where you start, it’s where you end up.