No one knows how many of the 24 million small businesses in the United States have closed, but the number, when tallied, is likely to surpass one million. But some tiny companies have turned a corner and head into 2021 shaken and changed, but alive. Times of E reached out to incubators across the United States, who connected us to entrepreneurs whose companies survived. Ten entrepreneurs shared their stories with us. You can find others in the series at Rest of the US. Thanks to gener8tor, Arlee Community Development Corp., E For All and Arrowhead.
Many restaurants had to pivot, or at least tweak, their services to continue selling to their customers. Many have had to turn to delivery to get their food to customers as stay at home orders and recommendations have lightened traffic. Many have turned to apps such as Grubhub and Postmates, but those are expensive and narrow the profit margin for restaurants. Three entrepreneurs in Lawrence, Massachusetts, created a solution last year– they launched their secure online ordering website Locay in June to help restaurants get their restaurants online.
The group — Jorge Garcia, Jorge Veloz and Camilo Gonzalez — have been working for the last six months to gain the trust of their community, a challenge they face as a new company, Veloz writes. They’ve ramped up efforts on social media to win the trust of their community. As of Jan. 20, the company has enrolled eight restaurants and received over 1,800 orders. The three are the only staffers, as of now.
Locay charges businesses an initial fee of $197, which covers the digitization of the menu, the tablet each restaurant gets and the app set up. Restaurants pay a $97 fee per month, which covers the website Locay provides, the online ordering process and the listing on the app.
Customers are charged a 10-12% fee each time they order, which covers operating expenses, such as merchant fees and marketing for the restaurants, Veloz said. Grubhub and Doordash typically charge 15-30%,
For now, the Locay founders are funding the company almost completely on their own, along with the $2,300 they won through Massachusetts accelerator Entrepreneurship for All.
This story and others on Times of E are made possible by a sponsorship from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private, nonpartisan foundation that provides access to opportunities that help people achieve financial stability, upward mobility, and economic prosperity – regardless of race, gender, or geography. The Kansas City, Mo.-based foundation uses its grantmaking, research, programs, and initiatives to support the start and growth of new businesses, a more prepared workforce, and stronger communities. For more information, visit www.kauffman.org and connect with www.twitter.com/kauffmanfdn and www.facebook.com/kauffmanfdn.