Imagine that you're the head chef of a small yet well-respected local restaurant. Due to COVID-19, you notice that revenue has decreased and you have to be more careful with how you spend the budget. You already cut hours and in some cases, laid off some of the less senior staff. And your remaining team already knows how to not waste food and use leftovers creatively, particularly in daily specials. So what else can you do to save on expenses? You skip the middlemen and get some of your ingredients from local suppliers directly, who are probably already dealing with an oversupply also due to COVID-19. And we're here to help with that.

Farmerce is a marketplace that connects local food suppliers (such as farmers, ranchers, and fishers) to consumers (such as restaurants and large families) who are able to buy products in large quantities.

Consumers will notice that the prices offered by those suppliers may be better than what they can get from places like Sysco, Gordon Food Services, and Costco, due to a lack of a middleman. And unlike other marketplaces (most notoriously food delivery marketplaces), we don't take a fixed percentage from suppliers. This means that there are no hidden fees or markups. The most we'd do is charge suppliers a small listing fee of (say) $25 for two months of advertising space each time they make or renew a listing.

Rationale / Inspiration

Due to COVID-19, global chains broke. Canadian suppliers used to export products, but now reports show tons of them have nowhere to go and are thus going to waste. Also due to this pandemic, restaurants (including major chains such as Earls and Cactus Club) lost revenue due to more people staying at home. In worse cases, some of those restaurants were forced to shut down. Notable ones include The Pear Tree, Royal Dinette, and Ki Cafe.

To help them recover from their financial loss, it would be helpful to provide a method to reduce the cost of the food supply. If restaurant owners and head chefs directly purchase the products from local suppliers over (say) Sysco or Gordon Food Services (the "big two" suppliers for restaurants), it would be cheaper.

Future

  • Michelle - I'd like to design features that allow for suppliers and consumers to communicate directly through the website and not rely on email/telephone. I'd also like to implement a payment system where suppliers can pay a fixed fee for their listing to be uploaded to the site.

  • Setareh - I would've liked to execute the results page similar to the wireframes to be able to select the distance from the seller, etc. I'd also liked to add an "Add" button to the homepage search section, so the user has the option to use that button as well as press enter.

  • Andrew - I'd like to see functionality for repeated purchases. Restaurants know how much supply they need a week, and may want to set up automatic billing to keep their business running smoothly.

  • Kailin - I'd like to add more functionalities such as payment, customer review, chat, map and video call. In addition, I would like to add a filter function so users can see a product is how far away from meet the minimum order requirements, which will make the purchase in bulk more easily.

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