Tell us a bit about Cookaborough
Cookaborough is an easy to use platform designed specifically for food businesses that want to start, run or grow their ready-made or take-home meal business using a weekly batch model. We provide end-to-end functionality from storing recipes, building and scheduling your weekly menus, setting delivery zones, creating compliant food labels, customer management, marketing tools through to order management, delivery routing and financial reports… the list goes on, but the main point is, it’s easy to use and does everything you’d want it to.
We’ve been working with local food stores who have been able build a new pillar to their business, chefs who have started their own direct to customer businesses, catering companies who have expanded beyond events, artisans selling small batches, right through to where the idea came from, local home cook meal businesses.
When did Cookaborough start and what was the inspiration behind starting it?
It started in 2019. We were ordering weekly meals from a few wonderful home cooks in our neighbourhood, the cooks were great people, the food was excellent, made fresh from scratch and it was making meal planning and solving the ‘what’s for dinner dilemma’ easy for our busy households. The cooks loved cooking and the connection it gave them with their community, but the fact emerged that their business was time-consuming and a headache to run due to all the moving parts.
We did a bit of digging and discovered that this batch weekly cycle was a genius way for other kinds of food businesses to be more successful and sustainable. We decided that if we could build a software system that could power it, not only would it benefit the home cooks, but other types of food business as well – specifically we thought it would make it easier for others to start their local food business, or for local food stores and caterers to add this type of offering to their existing business.
What regions does Cookaborough currently serve?Anyone within Australia can use it. The platform has a database of over 2000 ingredients and each of these has the corresponding allergen and nutritional information associated with it, so when a business using the platform enters their ingredients and meal items the platform instantly generates Australian Food Standard compliant food labels and nutritional panels. Longer term will be look at expanding into other markers, but for now Australia is our focus.
What has been the biggest challenge in starting Cookaborough?
The biggest challenge was making a start. It was literally just an idea, we had no proof it would work and there was nothing we could compare it to, so it was only our belief and strength of conviction in the idea that drove us. It was a big risk to give up our jobs and commit ourselves to building the platform, which resulted in more than a few sleepless nights early on.
Once you start something it generally gets easier as you go, but those early days of working out where and how to start, building a team, deciding what was important and what wasn’t, that was the most challenging part, but also a lot fun and rewarding along the way.
What has been your greatest achievement since starting Cookaborough?
Without a doubt two things. First is the incredible response we’ve had from the food businesses using the platform, they simply love it. Through the journey we’ve got to know some of the business owners very well and it has been hugely rewarding to hear about the positive impact Cookaborough has had on their business. We put a lot of emphasis on listening to the business owners, understanding their pain points and then finding ways for the platform to solve the problem, so it always feels like an achievement when we release a new feature that has an immediate positive impact.
The second achievement has been the team we’ve built, we pinch ourselves when we look at the people involved in Cookaborough, we’ve been able to build a team of very capable people who have bought into what we’re building, who work well together, like each other, collectively they make each day a good day.
What’s the best advice you were given or gave to someone?
It’s hard to single out one piece of advice, I’ve been fortunate to work with people who have helped me grow and learn from my experiences.
It’s not advice but one thing that has become a personal mantra is… stop, listen, think. It’s pretty basic and simple, but it’s something I force myself to do on a daily basis. Life is busy and I think we fall into the habit of making spontaneous decisions, particularly in work, which is ok most of the time, but for me it’s about knowing when to stop, listen and think, and to really consider a situation before making a decision. I’m trying to make a habit of doing this.
Is there a big goal you’re working towards in the future?
We’re ambitious about Cookaborough and what it can achieve and more importantly what it can create for others. Our big goal is for the business to realise its full potential, we’re working towards this by continuing to build and improve features that make it easy for food businesses to thrive. If you're in the business of food we would love to talk to you so please reach out to us at Cookaborough.