The world has changed significantly since the Covid19 pandemic started. One of such changes is the rapid growth of the online food ordering and takeaway industry as ordering food delivered to them instead of going out to eat. Mckinsey says that the food delivery industry has grown to become a global market worth more than $150 billion in 2021 after recording a 3X growth from 2017.
One main reason for the rapid growth of the food takeaway industry is that many restaurants did not previously have takeout/delivery business operations before COVID19 and they do not have the time, resources, expertise to quickly set up such operations. Hence, they rely on intermediate tech companies such as UberEats and Deliveroo to help them connect with their consumers.
The challenge with using these intermediaries is that they are centralized, they own all the data, they make and control the rules, and the restaurants only get a fraction of the margins created in the new food takeaway ordering and delivery economy.
Interestingly, blockchain technology exists primarily to provide decentralized solutions for a more equitable world. In this review, we explore Bistroo, a takeaway startup extending the practical applications of DeFi (Decentralized Finance) to the food takeaway industry.
Bistroo is a decentralized solution changing the game for the online food ordering and takeaway industry. It serves as a peer-to-peer marketplace for consumers to order food and beverages directly from restaurants and other food merchants.
Bistroo was founded in March 2020 in response to the overbearing nature of food delivery apps in which the apps have control, dictate the terms of business, and earn disproportionately more than the restaurants.
Bistroo is on a mission to restore power for restaurants, food merchants, service professionals, and other frontliners in the food ordering and delivery value chain. Bistroo ends this power asymmetry by providing a decentralized peer-to-peer infrastructure that eliminates the middlemen while providing restaurants with the tools they need to grow their businesses sustainably.
Bistroo is leveraging blockchain technology to promote a decentralized economy in the food takeaway industry. Bistroo serves as a neutral facilitator and it never dictates to restaurants or merchants how to run their businesses. Bistroo's decentralized economy aligns the interests of all participants in the food ecosystem for win-win business interactions and relationships between food merchants and their customers.
The entrepreneurs who own and operate restaurants are the superheroes of the foodservice business. Running a restaurant is a high-input, low margin business; and some stats suggest that up to 60% of new restaurants fail in the first year and about 80% of new restaurants don't make it to the fifth year. Hence, restaurant owners and operators need all the help and support that they can find; and this is where Bistroo shines and differentiates itself from other operators in the food delivery business.
On Bistroo's platform, restaurant owners and operators gain full control over their digital presence and operations. They get to connect directly with customers, they can determine their menu and pricing, and they can choose to change their menus and pricing at any time. Bistroo empowers them to access data that could help improve their processes, pricing, and advertising.
Bistroo also charges significantly lower transaction fees of 5% instead of the 15% that competitor platforms charge. The best part is that restaurants on Bistroo get instant payments, which improves their cash flow instead of waiting for up to 8 weeks to be paid on competitor platforms.
Bistroo is leveraging blockchain technology to unlock network effects in the food and beverages ecosystem through its $BIST token. The $BIST token is a digital asset created to facilitate easier payments and transactions, manage loyalty programs, streamline discounts, and facilitate community rewards, among other features.
BIST is an ERC20 token minted on the Ethereum network with a total supply of 100M tokens. BIST could potentially enjoy mass adoption beyond core crypto audiences because of its real-world utility value. One of the factors that could potentially drive the adoption of BIST is the intentional plan to make it the choice means of payments and transactions within the Bistro ecosystem. For instance, users enjoy a 2% discount on all orders placed with BIST whereas they only get a 1% discount when they purchase food/products with fiat currencies.
Similarly, restaurants and merchants within the Bistroo ecosystem can use BIST to access premium backend features and services at discounted rates. Such premium backend services include paying for advertising, featured spots, accessing data and analytics, or running promotions within the Bistroo ecosystem. Bistroo is also leveraging strategic uses of BIST rewards and bonuses as well as its "giveback" program to onboard non-crypto audiences into the world of decentralized solutions.
Bistroo takes the practical applications of DeFi further by facilitating a Decentralized Merchant Financing powered by the BIST token and the Bistroo network. Restaurants and other food/beverage merchants onboarded on Bistroo can access financing against their future cashflow to improve or grow their businesses. The merchant creates a BIST Token Advance Request and community members can look at the restaurant's on-chain credibility and performance rating to decide if they'd like to fund the BIST Token Advance Requests.
If community members decide to fund the restaurant, a smart contract on the Bistroo network records the terms of the agreement, the community members release BIST tokens to the merchant, and the contract pays them an agreed percentage of the merchant's future sale for a period until their initial capital and accrued interest are fully paid up.
Another exciting feature of BIST tokens beyond price gains, staking yields, and community rewards, is that they can also be used for liquidity mining yields. The Bistroo team is locking up significant BIST tokens from the operational and seed pools for a year minimum and BIST users can provide liquidity for BIST token pairs on third-party platforms such as Balancer and Uniswap.
Bistroo is building a thriving community across the food, beverages, and drinks industry globally. By focusing on a specific problem within the food takeaway industry, Bistroo is recording rapid organic adoption as well as a fast-growing community of loyal fans, crypto enthusiasts, restaurant owners, and blockchain talent. Now, with Bistroo, restaurants, consumers, and other stakeholders in the food delivery value chain can forge meaningful relationships.
For crypto natives, Bistroo's BIST token serves additional purposes beyond its core utility value. BIST facilitates both community staking and merchant staking. Merchants who stake BIST will yield staking rewards, earn access to discounts in merchant commission fees, and also benefit from the supply dynamics as staking stabilizes token circulation.
Community staking provides participants in the Bistroo ecosystem an opportunity to stake their BIST tokens to earn staking yield benefits from the rewards pool. The token will also be used to activate the community of early adopters and drive growth for Bitstroo by aligning the interests of affiliates and ambassadors with the best interests of the Bistroo ecosystem
Bistroo has already recorded impressive growth in its native Netherlands and plans are already underway to expand operations into Belgium, France, Hungary, Croatia; and eventually, the global market. Being a peer-to-peer marketplace, Bistroo is uniquely positioned to leverage network effects because each new user is a potential advocate and ambassador who promotes Bistroo in their network to drive sustainable growth at scale.
Bistroo is setting up shop in a very competitive marketplace that includes other marketplaces, delivery startups, and in-house delivery systems.
The food delivery and management industry is a competitive space with various established companies and startups competing for market dominance. However, there is yet to be an established global leader, for instance, in 2021, Doordash has the largest market share in the U.S. Just Eat leads in the UK and Europe, and Meituan holds the largest market share in China.
Despite the stiff competition, Bistroo has some unique competitive advantages that are already playing out in its favor. These features could also accelerate its growth to establish market dominance in the medium to long term as seen in the table below.
Bistroo is currently the only food takeout platform that operates as a neutral facilitator that doesn't interfere with how restaurants and consumers choose to conduct business.
Bistroo boasts crypto-fiat integrations that give both restaurants and consumers the choice to use their preferred means of exchange - the only caveat is that using the BIST token earns you more perks.
Bistroo gives users the right to choose to share their data; they are rewarded for opting to share the data, and this data, in turn, helps food merchants improve their businesses.
The only limitation of Bistroo at the moment is that it doesn't manage the actual deliveries, but this is in line with its positioning as a facilitator and not a dictator in the food takeout industry.
There is an ongoing massive shift towards online food takeaway solutions as restaurants embrace technological advancement to enhance efficiency and meet consumer demands in an increasingly digital age.
Whereas other food delivery apps charge restaurants high fees and commissions to be listed, take weeks to process payouts to restaurants, and own and control all the data; Bistroo is providing restaurants with a direct-to-consumer peer-to-peer marketplace in which food orders can be organized and personalized for a mutually-beneficial relationship between restaurants and consumers.
Bistroo is on a mission to give power back to food merchants by facilitating relationships between restaurants and their customers and building the right tools for food merchants to grow sustainably.
Nonetheless, we are cognizant of the fact that Bistroo is a pioneer in the decentralized food takeaway marketplace and that there will be new entrants into the industry over time. However, it appears that Bistroo is uniquely positioned to leverage its first-mover advantage to build a strong foothold and we will be paying attention to how this emerging industry shapes out in the coming years.