Most students and young professionals have experienced the problem of desiring a delicious home-cooked meal but not having the necessary time or skills to prepare it. That was something that might have been in Michalis Gkontas’s mind when he decided to introduce the idea of a collaborative consumption start-up which will connect people who wanted a home-cooked meal with amateur, but talented, cooks. It started as Gkontas’s master’s thesis, but quickly turned into a beta web app version. (1)
It first launched in Athens in September 2012 and in less than a year it has managed to create a community of more than 12,000 Athenians. Within almost a year since its launch, Cookisto managed to obtain the necessary funding to expand and create a community in London.
How it works
Cookisto’s users are divided into two main categories: the cooks and the foodies. The foodies create the demand, while the cooks (or ‘cookistas’) the supply.
In order someone to become a ‘cookista’, he will have to create a profile which should include some personal details, such as a short description and a photo of himself, his cooking skills and the types of different cuisines he is able to cook. Furthermore a user can see the cook’s location on the map, an average rating of his dishes and all the reviews that have been written about his dishes. The dishes are rated in a one to five-stars scale and on a basis of four criteria: a) Food (Quality & Quantity), b) Price, c) Service and d) Delivery. In that way, the ‘foodies’ can pick the cooks that fulfill their standards and filter out the not so good ones.
On the other end of the transcation is the foodie. Once the foodie has signed up, he provides his address or his current location, in order to see how many cooks are close to him. Then he can either select a dish that is currently available, or send a personalized request to a cook and wait for his response. After the match has been made, the foodie has to go and pick-up his food or he can ask for the cook to deliver it at his place (if the cook has included this service). Then the foodie can rate the dish and the service based on the aforementioned criteria.
Cookisto makes money by charging a small service fee for every offer that is processed. (2)
The Cookisto team believes that an important part of the business is the communal aspect of it. “We tend to naturally bring people together around food, whether that’s eating a meal together, or meeting friends for dinner,” says Nikki Finnemore, Cookisto’s UK marketing director. “This is just an extension of that. There is the convenience of not having to cook, mixed with the desire to be part of something bigger; part of a community. There’s the personal contact. The exchange is personal and people develop a relationship.” (3)