Nigeria’s Pocketfood launches “digital cafeteria” solution for offices, professionals

Nigerian startup Pocketfood has launched a “digital cafeteria” that offers corporate businesses and busy professionals individualised food selections.

Founded in August, Pocketfood is a “kitchen as a service” tool that offers AI-supported, user-specific healthy meals made by ghost kitchens and delivered to the user’s workspace or doorstep.

“The model is a food subscription where the client picks their meals for a week, which is then processed and delivered in the specified timeframe. We are automating lunch time for millions of Africans who find it hard to find healthy, convenient and affordable lunch options at work,” founder Omolara Olarerin told Disrupt Africa.

Olarerin launched Pocketfood because one of her biggest pain points when working in an office was the unsatisfactory lunch options. 

“I was tired of the redundant ‘buka’ food and overpriced restaurant food delivery, and wanted something better,” she said.

“The idea came one afternoon after the office assistant mixed up my order yet again, and I pondered how great it would be if I had my own personal chef instead. I created an online survey and shared with colleagues, friends and acquaintances to see if this pain point was common. I found it to be very common, as most offices in Lagos do not cater for their staff.”

She then created an online order form, and hired a personal chef to take the orders. 

“This was my concierge test, and amazingly I got five orders the next week with zero PR, only word of mouth. This validated my idea,” said Olarerin.

Since then, Pocketfood has fulfilled more than 2,000 orders from 60 users, and built out its team with the help of a small “friend and family” investment last month. Lagos is its launchpad, but it plans to expand across the country before looking at other markets.

“We are dabbling into AI and machine learning to provide and keep improving our lunch options and menu categories,” Olarerin said.

“Nigerians are waking up to the benefits of eating healthy and with our personalised meal plans that are affordable and easily accessible, we are creating a value proposition that none of our competitors have.”