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Summary List Placement

Well before the coronavirus pandemic swept the nation in March, restaurant operators began sounding the alarm about the economic hardships they face when working with third-party delivery companies.

The outrage over these obstacles — high commission rates for placement on their vast marketplaces and the refusal to share consumer data — was amplified during the pandemic. 

And, no one has screamed louder about these “injustices” than Nabeel Alamgir.

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Alamgir co-founded New York City-based Lunchbox in 2019 with a single mission: to give small chains and independent restaurants online ordering solutions to drive sales, and reduce their dependence on third-party delivery operators.

In late January, Lunchbox launched a NotGrubhub website to promote direct orders from 120,000 New York restaurants. By doing so, Alamgir is telling consumers to bypass Grubhub, and other third-party delivery companies.  

He is David trying to slay Goliath.

“We are the underdogs,” he told Insider in a recent interview. “I’m excited about all the tech providers that are helping restaurants and if that puts a target on our back against these third party companies, so be it.” 

Living the American dream

Alamgir, who immigrated to the US from Bangladesh as a teenager, got his first job in 2009 in the restaurant business. 

He wanted to earn money for homecoming but he didn’t speak much English at the time. So he got a gig as a busboy at Bareburger, a casual dining chain in New York City.

It was the ideal job.

“You’re nice to people and they don’t bother you. But as I was picking up English, I would not shut up,” said the affable Alamgir.

His chattiness and work ethic led to jobs as a server, then marketing manager at Bareburger. He eventually became chief marketing officer and helped Bareburger expand to nearly 50 restaurants. 

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But during the expansion, Alamgir said he ran into roadblocks with Bareburger’s digital ordering channels, especially with delivery. Systems didn’t talk to each other, and delivery was a losing proposition, he said.

Third-party delivery companies skimmed profits from restaurants by charging high commission fees and denied Alamgir the one thing he coveted most as CMO: access to consumer data.

“For dine-in, we knew who our customers were. For delivery, we had no idea,” he said.

Something had to be done. 

Empowering independent restaurants

Alamgir left Bareburger in 2019 and co-founded Lunchbox with Andrew Boryk, the company’s chief technology officer. 

The startup is aimed at independent restaurants and mid-market chains that can ill-afford their own I.T. department to produce the online solutions needed to grow a healthy digital business. 

Lunchbox looks to emulate tech pioneers such as Sweetgreen, Panera Bread, and Chipotle Mexican Grill – chains at the top of their game when it comes to frictionless mobile order and pickup technology, loyalty programming, subscription services, and app design.   

During the pandemic, the company added a curbside feature for clients within 16 hours of New York City shutting down.

“We design everything,” Alamgir said.

Clients pay a monthly service fee ranging from $200 to $300 …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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