How first-time entrepreneurs took off on iFood

They tell how they used the platform's resources to make their restaurants grow in delivery

Opening a food business is a way to explore new work horizons and generate income. This, in fact, is a recipe followed by many restaurants, cafeterias and other establishments that are on the iFood app — a Brazilian company which was also an entrepreneur's dream one day.

At the beginning of their journey, it is common for first-time entrepreneurs to need help. In the case of iFood, they are the majority: among the platform's new partner establishments, 60% created their MEI (Individual Microentrepreneur) less than five months ago. 

How iFood helps new entrepreneurs

For Adriano Rodrigues André, aged 31, and Marley Costa Santos, aged 40, entrepreneurship was about chasing the big dream — or flying higher, as the partners met working as aircraft mechanics in Indaiatuba, in the interior of São Paulo.

There, they began to exchange ideas about opening their own business. “We thought of something that people need every day, which is food,” says Marley.

The question was what kind of food they would sell. “There was already a lot of pizza, hamburgers and sushi in Indaiatuba, so fried chicken in a bucket would be a good option,” says Marley. “And another: Brazilians are great admirers of Americans, everything that is somewhat Americanized sticks.”

For the project to get off the ground, they flew to Orlando (United States) in 2020 and tried fried chicken from large local chains, evaluating the flavor, product presentation and the style of the stores.

Strategic partnership to attract customers

When they returned, they developed a drier chicken with more Brazilian seasoning. In the same year, they opened The Rooster, which since the beginning has been offering pick-up and delivery of buckets of chicken.

Today, 75% of The Rooster's sales come from the iFood app. The partners say that the partnership was strategic from the beginning.

“Indaiatuba is a very rotating city, with factories and hotels, and the first thing that people from abroad look for when they want to eat is the app”, says Marley.

For them, the platform was a marketing tool for sales. To enhance their presence on the app, the two took iFood courses and received mentoring from their consultants to apply strategies such as organizing the menu.

iFood also helps, according to Marley, when testing new menu items. The “buffalo wings”, spicy chicken wings, and a batterless chicken drumstick, for example, are scheduled to arrive soon. “The platform brings returns if you know how to work within it”, summarizes Marley.

Today, The Rooster has 10 employees — and has gone from 20 orders per day to 110 in the busiest ones.

The partners now want to take new flights, such as the franchise model. On the radar is a second unit and the hiring of five more people. And with the help of iFood, which offers a heat map of The Rooster deliveries to help choose the location of the new point.

A business that makes money

Another entrepreneur who took her first steps on iFood was Barbara Toscano, 35 years old. In 2018, she created Caldos da Bah to sell frozen soups and broths in Parque São Domingos, in Pirituba, São Paulo. 

Alongside her mother and a friend, she produces 50 to 100 meals a day, with peaks during the cold season. Even before he started his business, his talent for making soup was recognized by his friends. Even the baby food he prepared when his eldest daughter – now eight years old – was born were a hit.

In 2017, she was an administrative assistant at an automotive turbine company and became pregnant with her second daughter. He made a deal, left his job and went to the kitchen.

She started with three flavors: cassava with chicken, pumpkin with dried meat and caldo verde. Recommendations, social networks and leaflets distributed on the street boosted sales in the early days.

But the business boomed even during the pandemic, says the entrepreneur. As she grew, she needed to move to a house with a larger kitchen, which now houses three freezers with a total capacity for up to 500 broths, currently divided into 17 flavors.

iFood is a delivery partner 

At the beginning of 2023, Caldos da Bah joined iFood. “People had been asking me for a while, they were looking for me on the platform and I wasn’t there”, he says.

For her, iFood offers an easy and practical way to buy food. “I use Entrega Fácil a lot [iFood delivery that serves orders made through other service channels] and most customers are grateful because the order arrives very quickly, it’s a very agile process.”

For Barbara, one of the great benefits of iFood is visibility; another is support in defining sales strategies. “I recently joined a free delivery promotion in my region that saw a surge in orders,” he explains.

Now, the entrepreneur is beginning to realize that she has reached a new production limit in her current kitchen, which is why she is looking for another space to rent.

She is even considering separating her home from her business headquarters. “I need more freezers and one more person to work in the company,” he says. “Demand is very high and has a good chance of increasing.”

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