LaPiat fills hungry bellies with healthy meals August 24, 2018 RICCentre What’s for dinner tonight? It’s a question we all ask ourselves on the long commute home. You think about cooking but if only you had the time. Instead, the choice is between pizza and takeout again. But what if there was an easier way to eat healthy? In 2016, Arber Puci was a businessman working a hectic schedule in downtown Toronto. Puci loved trying new and different cuisines. Whenever he could, he tried his best to cook and share meals with his foodie friends. But most of the time, Puci didn’t have the time. But time isn’t the only issue. More and more Canadians also want to eat healthy. Sadly, most food delivery options are anything but that. That’s when the timer dinged, and Puci whipped up a fresh new idea. That idea soon became LaPiat, a mobile service that’s changing the way we use the food sharing market. What is LaPiat? LaPiat is an online platform that connects home chefs with hungry bellies. Now, it doesn’t matter whether someone works long hours or wants healthier meals—LaPiat will satiate. “We wanted to create a solution to an everyday problem,” says Puci. By the spring of 2018, the birds were chirping, and so was LaPiat. Puci had assembled a team of software developers, marketers and food lovers to create the LaPiat mobile app. By June, Puci opened the LaPiat doors to the public of Toronto. “Toronto was the perfect place for our startup—it’s one of the most multicultural cities in the world. There are so many different tastes and cuisines thatpeople are curious to try,” says Puci. The LaPiat mobile app is now downloadable from Google Play and the App Store. In only the first two weeks, over 2,000 users have downloaded the app. In that time, LaPiat also approved 150 chefs to share their creations on its platform, with another 200 chefs currently being vetted. Alongside at-home chefs, LaPiat features catering services, bakeries, and food trucks— industries not addressed by other food delivery apps. The mobile app features an integrated rating system, so users know who the most-loved chefs are, and a GPS system to track deliveries. The app even features a direct chef-to-user chatroom where users can specify any ingredient changes or allergy concerns. Why Use LaPiat? It’s a fair question. We live in a world with as many food delivery apps as people living in Toronto. UberEats, SkipTheDishes, JustEat, DoorDash, and GrubHub are the largest players, but all share the same problems — they’re expensive and limited to unhealthier options. LaPiat overcomes the cost issues as they work with individual chefs and not large restaurants. For example, a lemon chicken dish, featured on one of these traditional food delivery apps will cost three to four times the price it took to make. We’re talking $15 or $20 for a $5 meal. These overhead charges occur as restaurants must pay their employee wages, rent, electricity charges. Now, a skilled at-home chef could advertise a similar lemon chicken dish, but only charge users $10. “Chefs also don’t have to invest their life’s savings just to share their foods…” says Puci. The app also only takes 10% of each transaction, which pales in comparison to other traditional food delivery apps. Want to Become a Chef? You must pass a few requirements before you can tie on the apron. To ensure safe food and handling, all chefs must also own a valid Ontario food handling licence. LaPiat also pre-screens all candidates through ID background checks and kitchen inspections. If you check off on these criteria, you’re now a member of the team. LaPiat, RIC Centre, and the Future Today, LaPiat are enjoying great successes. Every day, the entrepreneurs seek to uncover new or better features that their customers want. For the future, Puci hopes to establish a solid customer base. By next year, he hopes LaPiat will expand outside Toronto and into major cities from Vancouver to New York. LaPiat is fairly new to the RIC Centre, having joined June 2018. In their short time, Puci and his team admit that the RIC Centre advisors have been welcoming and the environment as supportive to grow their idea. “We are just scratching the surface of a big industry. The RIC Centre helps give us a broader view of the market and ensure we connect with the right people to grow.” LaPiat acts as a community where people all share the same passions. Chefs love to cook their best meals and try what other chefs are making, sharing their creations, inviting comments, and even meet up. Users can try new cultural tastes, home-cooked, authentic ingredients. With LaPiat, your days of last-minute subs and quarter pounders are numbered. The app really does pay to eat healthy. About the AuthorChris BerberianCommunications InternIn summer 2018, Chris Berberian interned for the RIC Centre as its Marketing Communications Associate. During his eight week internship, Chris interviewed RIC Centre clients and published feature articles spotlighting the newest tech innovations. He also conducted market research analyses and helped facilitate events such as the Angel One Investor Network and IoMe. Currently, Chris is completing his undergraduate studies in Professional Writing and Psychology at the University of Toronto. He hopes to graduate in spring 2019 and enter the fields of sports journalism and analytics.