GreenGurus: A New Food Delivery Concept

They say the best businesses solve a problem, and this is certainly the case with Berlin-based GreenGurus. Founders Dimitrios Ploutarchos and Paul Gebhardt were both interested in healthy living, but noticed it was very difficult to find food that could fulfill the criteria of being fresh, nutritious, tasty, affordable, and accessible—all at the same time. What they found in supermarkets was disappointing; especially lacking in freshness. Even if they wanted to order from a restaurant, there was often a high minimum receipt total imposed to justify the cost of the driver. So, at the end of last year, the duo decided to test a run of original recipes.

“We had a little fridge in Paul’s office and we prepared all the salads in the morning. There were about 20 or so that we produced. What we saw is that people really liked the recipes. They were ordering again, so we said, “Hey, there’s something here.””

Paul and Dimitrios have gradually increased their production since then. In November and December for example, they hosted a pop-up restaurant in Kreuzberg. To meet customer demand, they made a few hundred salads per day in cooperation with Home eat Home—a company that provide stores, supermarkets, offices, and more, with food stocked fridges.

Now, GreenGurus prepares and ships out orders from its headquarters. One of its first employees, a talented vegan chef from New York, is in charge of formulating the recipes, which grants Dimitrios and Paul the time to focus entirely and rigorously on business development. And, their hard work’s paid off. They’ve developed a clever way to optimize their business model—by decreasing the number of trips their drivers have to take, as well as the trip length, they can cut down on costs and pass the savings on to their customers, thereby providing affordable pricing for the freshest meals.

“We do everything in real time. We have software that aggregates all of the orders coming through the different channels, like from our website, and then it fits it into our backend on our platform and then, basically, it asks: “Where is the nearest customer and where is the nearest driver?” then dispatches the order. That’s the one thing that helps us to be quicker. But, I think the biggest advantage is we don’t always have to come back to the base to get food, because we have this driving fridge concept.”

While both co-founders were experienced entrepreneurs before starting GreenGurus, having owned companies previously, they still encountered unique challenges—and advantages— with this new venture.

“The first challenge is access to financing, to find money to start, which worked quite smoothly in our case. There’s a lot more interest nowadays in food startups than there was a few years ago, which, I think, is because people really got used to ordering food online… From 2000 onwards, we had a huge e-commerce adoption. With food, it took a bit longer. But, in the last 5 or 6 years, with the rise of food delivery platforms, people really got used to ordering food online. And, the ripple effect is significant. So, it’s very much easier nowadays for new concepts to distribute food through the online channel.”

For Paul and Dimitrios, the best part of owning their own business is the feeling of self-actualization, in addition to the simple pleasure of seeing their customers delighted.

“We are able to shape our own destiny and really make a change. This is the company I wish I had as a consumer a few years ago. So, we are able to provide this benefit to our customers and this really is the nicest part of it—to get their feedback and see how happy they are that they can order good quality food that comes to them in a few minutes.”

The co-owners don’t want to lose the momentum. They have their sights set on becoming profitable as well as scaling their venture by entering relevant European markets. Densely populated cities are ideal since they enable shorter delivery times and simpler routes. Additionally, they’ll be looking to expand into cities with populations who are health conscious. They plan to keep their main teams centralized in Berlin, and to localize delivery fleets only.

GreenGurus has two separate uses for their SumUp PIN+ Terminals: at-the-door delivery to customers who ordered online and office or off-site sales—from partner companies they regularly work with for example. They also use the device to accept card payments at markets. Their decision to use SumUp as their payment solution was also informed by their brand identity.

“It’s very sleek and modern, which is also how we want to portray ourselves. So, for us, we wouldn’t have any other solution.”

Blog author

Christine Lariviere