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Barossa Eats is a response to a hunger for regional food delivery

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Founded out of a need to connect restaurants with isolated local customers in the Barossa, a new regional delivery app could have a life beyond COVID-19 restrictions.

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Expected to launch next week, Barossa Eats is a food delivery app designed to help restaurants continue to operate under COVID-19 restrictions, serving takeaway and delivery to customers in Tanunda, Nuriootpa, and Angaston.

The app is the brainchild of former Angaston Primary School principal and “closet tech nerd” Sam Lawrence, who approached his friend and wine industry marketer Kate McClure about the idea.

Both Angaston locals and both parents of twins, the two would often bump into each other at their local café, The Hive, which is currently closed.

“We’ve been watching so many of our beautiful venues and local haunts close down one after the other because they aren’t sustainable. That was the real drive for the app,” McClure says.

Working from home while also looking after her children, she imagined other parents were similarly drained at the end of the day and looking for an easy way to put dinner on the table.

She also found it confusing to scour the websites, Facebook and Instagram pages of restaurants just to find out what was available. Barossa Eats brings all of those menus under one digital umbrella.

“We came up with the idea to provide one source to go to, which restaurants can use as their marketing tool; everything is in one place,” McClure says.

Restaurants and eateries on board so far include Soul with Zest café, Kampung Kitchen, 1918 Bistro & Grill, Amanti Pizza, Fleur Social, and Barossa Patisserie.

Most regional communities are not serviced by delivery apps such as UberEats or Deliveroo because challenges of distance and population density make them unviable. However, McClure is buoyed by the success of the recently launched Adelaide Hills app, Restaurant Runner.

The Barossa Eats app has already been downloaded about 300 times, and will go live next week.

“Necessity is the mother of invention,” she says. “There’s definitely a lot of good energy around it, and lots of great support.

“I do think the desire and the feasibility is going to be there long term, which will be great.”

Most third-party delivery services charge large fees to restaurants, which cut even deeper during the current social shutdown.

Spaghetti marinara from Tanunda’s 1918 Bistro & Grill.

The Barossa Eats model puts the power back into the hands of the restaurants. The app allows restaurants to charge their own delivery fee and deliver themselves, or offer takeaway only. It also means the business has complete control over the efficiency of delivery. The only built-in cost will be a $2 fee per order, paid by the customer.

“The app costs businesses nothing to be involved, and restaurants which already have a delivery service can be set up quite easily,” McClure says.

She has reached out to Angaston’s Scoot ‘n’ Toot scooter hire and is currently in discussion about the possibility of using the business as a delivery service for Barossa Eats. They are also intending to add alcohol delivery to the service down the line.

For now, McClure and Lawrence are putting their time and resources into Barossa Eats, without any profitable return on their efforts.

“Ordinarily you’d be charging an administrative fee; it takes hours of work. But while we’ve got the time, we’re going to give it, and hopefully we’ll be able to help businesses to get through,” McClure says.

“We want our great restaurants to survive, so we can go to back to them when everything returns to normal. Hopefully, we can make sure our local people have jobs and the ability to look after their families.”

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