“When you fall in love with an idea you fall in love with an idea; I just think it’s really cool”
– Stefan Allesch-Taylor CBE on EatAbout
Our CEO Philip joined Stefan Allesch-Taylor CBE on his show ‘Stefan Means Business’ on Soho Radio this morning for a good-humoured and inspiring chat about EatAbout.
Stefan is very much a larger-than-life character whose charming sense of humour Philip had little trouble keeping up with. Admitting that “no one's had the balls to do what [Philip] did before the first song that early in the show before” (with his remark about palates waning with age), Stefan and Philip kept up the banter as they got down to business.
Getting down to business
The first topic on the agenda was how EatAbout came to exist, and Philip’s story of how he started the company took everyone by surprise: “I came up with the idea a few years ago, but then life got in the way, I had a job, and it wasn’t until about 9 months ago when I quit my job, went travelling in Asia, and I was sitting on a horse riding through the plains of Mongolia, and I said ‘screw it, I’m going to start EatAbout!’”
Stefan was surprised to hear that EatAbout, which had been developed completely in-house, became a fully-functioning business on a tiny budget, dubbing it “a master-class in how to get from point zero to opening the door by using the smarts and the skill-sets that [Philip and Felix have] got.”
The EatAbout team has indeed “hustled brilliantly” to get to where it is today; hard-work which Stefan acknowledged has created “a wave of sensation that got a 6 page article on Mail Online which is the most read online publication in the world, and [EatAbout] did that from an in-house PR perspective.”
The conversation then shifted onto how EatAbout works and how the mobile-friendly website looks. “The website is really cool; it’s focussed; not fussy; it does the job”. As Philip pointed out, “We are not surprised to hear such a description, as that is exactly the idea we had in mind when designing the site.”
How it works for chefs
Philip also took some time to outline what the EatAbout proposition is for chefs: “There’s a lot of different chefs on the platform, some of them come from restaurant backgrounds, so they’ve worked in restaurant kitchens which can be a nightmare of a job. It’s extremely long hours, very low pay, and it’s basically like working on a factory line, creating each dish; and you’re working on one dish for the entire time, and you never meet the customer. So for them it’s about meeting the customer, getting that feedback. They make money on their own schedule. Most of our chefs are from professional chef backgrounds, but they don’t have to be, and by having a lot of different levels of chefs we can hit many different price points.”
Stefan quickly spotted how attractive EatAbout is for chefs, and noted that the chef review system is built to provide a “filter of quality; a constant monitoring of the chefs performance and the chefs experience via the app so you can see all of the reviews, and the people leave their names and they’re part of it, so there’s a complete transparent legitimacy about it. It obviously makes complete sense. There are layers and layers of surety that you are really getting a quality experience, but the location changes, and the chefs change”.
The more Philip shared about EatAbout, the more enthusiastic Stefan seemed to get, highlighting that “when you fall in love with an idea you fall in love with an idea, I just think it’s really cool”.
What's coming next
Particularly after a friend did some name dropping, Stefan was curious to know what EatAbout has in the pipeline. He bluntly asked, “And you are going to meet Heston Blumenthal, right? Is he going to do this with you?” Naturally Philip left him guessing, not wanting to spoil too many accomplishments to come.
One recent accomplishment was being labelled “the Airbnb for restaurants” by the Mail Online – something EatAbout fully embraces, though Stefan had a slightly different view, saying that “I don’t like saying ‘Airbnb for restaurants’ because EatAbout is going to be a brand in itself.”
Stefan on joining EatAbout...
Perhaps the biggest praise of all was that when Stefan said, “If [Philip] asked me to cook, I would do it. There’s an air of knight about this guy”. However, judging by his cooking review from none other than Gordon Ramsey (on the Jonathan Ross show no less), Stefan might have to spend more time in the kitchen before applying.
Philip did in any case invite Stefan to book an EatAbout meal himself – an offer Stefan accepted with open arms. Though the chef may have to be fore-warned of Stefan’s tendency to listen to Celine Dion and to expect an endless barrage of complaints about their curtains...
Rounding out, the two entrepreneurs agreed that the chat had been a brilliant experience and that time had really flown by. Stefan concluded with the prediction that “EatAbout is clearly something we’re gonna be reading more and more about over the coming years".
Head on over to Soho Radio to listen to the show yourself!