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Consumer demand for delivery services has surged in the past year, partly fuelled by the Covid-19 crisis, but also by a trend toward convenience.
There are more delivery options than ever, but still very few that allow you to enjoy the best quality restaurant dishes from the comfort of home. Big Night has set out to redesign delivery, to provide a better experience for guests, and a fairer deal for suppliers that celebrates and empowers their brands.
They’ve already signed on 11 notable restaurants and have 19 more in the immediate pipeline. We sat down with co-founder Pavels Baskakovs to find out what the future of delivery looks like.
What is Big Night’s vision in your own words?
We’re on a mission to relentlessly champion the best independent restaurants in town. We want to help them extend their amazing concepts into people’s homes through delivery and beyond. While we are starting by capturing the rich culinary pulse of London, our long-term vision is to expand to every major food city in the world.
What inspired you to start the company?
Big Night was born out of necessity during the London lockdown, providing a much-needed delivery solution for the restaurants we love that were forced to close their doors. We started by creating a bespoke delivery solution for The Laughing Heart. Once we went live with it, we had around 400 orders on our first weekend, and before we knew it, other restaurants were knocking on our door asking if we could do the same for them. What we quickly realised is that our service was responding to a deeper call for change from these businesses and their guests – a delivery service designed to empower restaurants.
How did you source your core team, and how has your collective knowledge and experience prepared you for this venture?
We care this much about what we do because most of us are part of hospitality ourselves.
A local player himself, my co-founder Charlie is dedicated to empowering fellow restaurant owners and their teams in the fast-changing hospitality industry. Coupled with my passion for food and know-how in scaling digital products, we have reached into our networks to create a hybridized team. We have several people working for us part time, from communications specialists, to development agencies and marketing strategists. On the delivery side of things, we work with a team of dispatchers and a pool of trained drivers.
How is Big Night disrupting the delivery space?
We are disrupting the delivery space by delivering not only an exceptional experience to our customers, but to our restaurant partners as well, who are at the core of our offering. With our partners, we understand that creating a rich experience is much more than efficiency, speed and margins – it’s about telling a story, through ingredients, passion and expertise. We want to celebrate the artistry of restaurants, champion our community and treat everyone we work with (from the road to the office) with dignity. We believe that by staying true to our values – we can win over the loyalty of the best and most beloved restaurants in town and offer customers a much better option than what’s currently out there.
Who do you see as your main competitors and how does Big Night differentiate in its offering?
The world has changed quickly in the past years – with new players changing our behaviour before we could even reflect or question – is this what we really want? So we’ve decided to go up against the big players and show them how to do delivery better – giving customers and restaurants better options by placing quality, passion and fairness back at the centre of how we should do delivery.
What has growth looked like to date?
We hit the ground running, fulfilling around 400 orders a week from The Laughing Heart and catering for over 4000 customers since we started this summer. We have seen a dip in ordering during the eat-out-to-help-out scheme, which was mainly due to the limited number of options available on our platform at the time. We are pleased to see that things are returning back on track and will continue to rise as we acquire new customers, increase order frequency and get more restaurants coming on board too!
What do you anticipate will be the greatest challenge moving forward?
Our greatest priority is to deliver an exceptional service to our customers and restaurant partners – so anything that puts pressure on that will be a challenge. As we grow our family of restaurants and customers, we will need to make sure that our quality is never compromised. So for now, we are coming back to our core values to stay focused – maintaining integrity through our careful selection of restaurants with follow up for quality control, while patiently releasing some very exciting offerings we have to enhance our current experience for customers.
What will the crowdfunding round help you accomplish?
We have tested our hypothesis and now know there is demand in the market for Big Night. This crowdfunding round will help us to take Big Night to the next level. We aim to perfect our solution for restaurant partners while improving the service experience for customers. To achieve this, we will build one shared platform to showcase our restaurant partners, enabling loyal customers to discover more high-quality restaurants aligned to their taste, along with further end-to-end improvements to user experience. The bulk sum of proceeds will go to building this next iteration of our platform. The second-highest spend will be on marketing to bring new customers to our platform and restaurant partners. The rest will be split over staff, operations and legal.
What’s next on the roadmap for the company in terms of partnerships, product developments and growth?
We are excited that author and influencer Clerkenwell Boy has joined our family as an advisor and investor. He will work with us to select the best local restaurants and bars, curate special lock-down menus exclusive to Big Night clients, and advise on charity partnerships and food waste initiatives that focus on further giving back to the community. We also have some great restaurant partners who are coming on board this month, in addition to launching our new lunch offering. Finally, in time for the holidays, we have some exciting new offerings in the works, demonstrating that we are a delivery service unlike any you’ve never seen before.
What’s your go-to delivery?
Two Lights’ fried chicken – never fails.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to the future generation?
When I first started Big Night, everyone told me I was crazy, but I trusted myself and the solution that we were creating for an overlooked problem. While we have a long road ahead of us, I would advise future generations to stand for what they believe in, and then stick through it with hard work, discipline and determination.
What’s the most significant thing you’ve learned in starting a business?
The most significant thing I’ve learned in starting a business is the power of growing a team you can count on. While we started this just the two of us, all on our own, it’s been an amazing experience to bring experts on board who both build upon and challenge our thinking to make Big Night grow into something truly exceptional. Get the best people you can find around you and beautiful things will happen. We couldn’t be here without the whole team.
To find out more about the investment opportunity, visit Big Night’s pitch now.