Pair start ’Plain food delivery service

Jonathan Bothman and Kennedy Swartz.

When people took to social media to complain about food-delivery services not wanting to operate in Mitchell’s Plain, two men from Portland took the gap in the market to start their own business.

The result was Plain Eats, the area’s first dedicated e-hailing food service.

Founders Jonathan Bothman, 39, attended Princeton High School in Woodlands and Kennedy Swartz, 28, attended Portland High.

For the past eight years, Mr Swartz had been working in the warehouse industry, for online retail stores. Mr Bothman worked in the same industry and has experience in IT support.

Plain Eats is now their full-time job. With 2 400 users registered on their ordering platform, they currently do deliveries for eight Mitchell’s Plain eateries, both big and small.

At times, Mr Swartz helps with deliveries and may hire people to help them with more deliveries.

The pair say they saw a need for a food-delivery service in Mitchell’s Plain as many of the popular e-hailing food-delivery services don’t deliver in the area.

“E-hailing food delivery services such as Uber Eats would share coupons if we use their platform, but we could not benefit from this because of the area you come from,” Mr Bothman said.

Asked about this, Uber spokesperson Samantha Fuller said: “When we decide to launch in a city, we first look at a number of factors: is there sufficient supply on the platform to meet demand from customers? The number of restaurants that want to sign-up.

“All of these factors are considered, and once we can tick off all the boxes then only can we launch to ensure we can provide quick and reliable food delivery,” she said.

Manager at Ithra’s Pizza in Lentegeur, Smart Kuda, said they had partnered with Plain Eats a few months ago and so far it had helped the business and customers were happy that they could now have their food delivered to them.

Tafelsig resident Chelsea Goliath said she had downloaded the application and she praised the entrepreneurs for identifying the need in the community.

“I have felt very frustrated living in Mitchell’s Plain during this pandemic because we’ve been deprived of luxuries such as food delivery from big brands,” she said.

After five months of planning and development, Plain Eats has been in operation for two months.

“It was not easy, but we are happy to bring this service to all,” said Mr Swartz.

Mr Bothman added: “We would like to restore the value back into Mitchell’s Plain. It’s been tainted by all the negative things, and this should not be. We should change the narrative.”