In today’s world, whether you’re looking for love, trying to organize your life or even seeking therapy, there’s an app for that. When it comes to deciding what and where to eat—food delivery apps help simplify the process, only problem is: which app do you choose? Postmates, Eat 24, DoorDash, RushOrder, Caviar, GrubHub and Uber Eats—which is the best and does it make a difference? In a market that’s so oversaturated, how could a new app break in?
Favor, the newest delivery service on the market, has been around since 2013, but has been flying under your radar. Based in Austin, Texas, the company partnered with SXSW this year as its official on-demand delivery service. With 10,000 “Runners” dressed in light blue, tuxedo top t-shirts, the app has made more than 1.5 million deliveries since its launch in 2013.
I know what you’re thinking—so what? This is just another delivery-service, what’s the big deal? I had the same reaction at first and, having lived in New York City, I’ve used my fair share of delivery services. But, I was intrigued and, more importantly, I happened to be attending SXSW and wanted to truly experience the app before writing about it.
From their super-friendly customer service to their genuine and passionate leadership, Favor is a refreshing experience for delivery services. In fact, Favor’s CEO, Jag Bath, was a user before becoming involved with the company. When he relocated to Austin, Bath saw a Facebook ad for the service and was one of the app’s first users back in June 2013. In fact, he was one of 21 people who signed up on the first day.
Co-founders Zac Maurais and Ben Doherty first approached Bath to join their team as a board member—a smart decision given his background at Weight Watchers, RetailMeNot and Gilt. But, after getting closer to the business and seeing what great experience users were having, Bath decided to join the team and was hired on as their CEO.
“What stood out about Favor to me was the convenience factor,” says Bath. “I had gotten used to living in New York City and having everything delivered to me, and that didn’t exist when I moved to Austin. Coming from London, I suppose it was a bit gullible of me, as I assumed all Americans lived like they do in New York.”
So, here’s how it works: you can browse Favor’s curated lists featuring menus (and very beautiful, high quality photos) from restaurants in your area. Or, you can hit “order anything” and, well, order just about anything. All you have to do is type in the store’s name and one of their blue, tuxedo t-shirt runners will head out to go shopping for you. Unlike other apps, you communicate with your runner throughout the favor via text message. There’s a status bar in the app that shows you what part of the process the runner is in. This way you know where they are and, if you need to change anything about your order, you can just call or message them directly. It’s basically like having a personal assistant—and that’s exactly how Favor wants you to look at it.
Once you receive your goods, you pay through the app and no, the food and products are not marked up. You’re charged a delivery and service fee as well as given the option to tip your runner—who keeps 100% of the tip and gets a portion of the delivery charge.
“I want to make this the best possible service, which is hard to do with food because you have to bring something from point A to point B and maintain the quality,” says Bath. “You’re taking the logistics and compressing it into such a small timeframe, so it’s not something I think you should be rushing to the market.”
Favor’s goal this year is to launch into 25 more cities so they can end the year in 50. But, Bath says the company won’t think of it as a loss if they don’t hit that goal. Unlike their competitors, Favor isn’t rushing to the market and the reason is simple: they want to make sure each city is working perfectly before moving onto the next.
When an app is growing, there are basically two ways to go into new markets. You can raise a lot of money to buy growth, which many companies do and pour marketing dollars into joining fees and free food. Admit it: many of us are those consumers—the ones switching from app to app looking for promotions and trying to get strangers and friends to use our referral codes. Or, you can take your time and go into each city and get it right before you move on.
Bath says many of favors competitors have raised a lot of capital, which is why you’ve heard of them first, because they were the first to hit the market. But, the problem with that route, he explains, is that they’re buying customers and getting the low quality consumers—the ones who are just going wherever they can go to get free offers, until they’ll disappear and never use the app again. Favor doesn’t want those consumers, which is why they don’t offer promotions.
While your first Favor comes with a free delivery charge, you will always have a flat rate of $5-$6, depending on your market. This flat rate doesn’t change, which means you always know what your delivery fee is.
During SXSW, Favor created a cyclist-friendly delivery zone as a sort of hub for all their runners. This allowed them to quickly service the SXSW crowd for a seamless experience. Personally, I used the app to order from a BBQ food truck so my group wouldn’t have to stand in line, but could still eat before heading out to shows. It worked out and I genuinely enjoyed how convenient it was, especially during a festival where simply walking the streets is near impossible. Rather than waiting in line for 45 minutes, we got to sit in the comfort of our AirBnB and have the food brought to us. It’s like having the luxury of a personal assistant, but only when you need them.
While I’m sure everyone has their “go to” app for food delivery, if you are in a Favor city, I recommend giving it a go and at least trying it for yourself before you roll your eyes and think this is just one big marketing scheme. Personally, I enjoy how personal the experience makes you feel—as if a friend is running an errand for you. Plus, knowing the company isn’t rushing things tells me that there is a lot of thought put into this thing, and that’s when you know a business is worth supporting.