Food order and delivery app proves popular

  • Sargasso Sea Ltd president Colin Rego, far left, with delivery agents (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

    Sargasso Sea Ltd president Colin Rego, far left, with delivery agents (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

  • Sargasso Sea Ltd president Colin Rego, centre, with delivery agents (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

    Sargasso Sea Ltd president Colin Rego, centre, with delivery agents (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

It’s the age old Friday night dilemma, should you put on pyjamas and eat in, or drag yourself out for takeout?

Now you don’t have to choose thanks to the new the Sargasso Sea app, which takes your food order and delivers it to your door with its own fleet of drivers.

The app is a product of Sargasso Sea Ltd, a company launched two weeks ago by Colin Rego.

“We were super excited on our first day,” he said. “We didn’t know if we would get hit by a million orders at once, or whether it would be an organic, slow growth. It is organic. We have dozens of people signing up every day.”

They currently have 20 delivery agents, but are sorting through almost 150 applications, so they can expand with growing demand.

“It’s providing Bermudians, like myself, with more employment options,” delivery agent Tracy Astwood said. “That is particularly important for the Bermuda economy as it’s well accepted in other jurisdictions, like the US and UK, that during times of economic downturn, people turn to the gig economy to try and make ends meet.

“The further development of this economy in Bermuda can provide people with this same ability to easily find work and earn extra income.”

The advantage for local restaurants is that they don’t have the headache of maintaining their own delivery staff.

“The restaurant is able to focus on their product and on expansion, and allow us to do all the extra work,” Mr Rego said.

Restaurants signed up for its food delivery service are Buzz, the Jamaican Grill, Salty Lime, FryDays and J&B’s Wood Fired Pizza.

At the moment his agents only deliver to the central parishes, Smiths, Devonshire, Pembroke, Paget and parts of Warwick, but he hopes to expand that in the next six months.

There is a service charge for the customer that varies from restaurant to restaurant, but Mr Rego said it’s generally less than the 17 per cent service charge you’d pay if you ate at that restaurant.

But Sargasso Sea Ltd is about more than delivering food. They also provide marketing services such as video advertisements and search engine optimisation.

“If you go onto our social media pages it is really all about the merchants we work with and really promoting them,” he said.

Their focus is on small to medium-sized businesses.

He hopes to expand deliveries beyond the food arena, but deliveries in general are just the first phase for Sargasso Sea.

“Phase two of the launch will allow customers to purchase from a curated collection of products provided by Sargasso Sea Ltd or from local businesses selling on Sargasso’s marketplace and of course, have it all delivered to their home or business location within 30 minutes for takeout orders or 24-hours for other products,” Mr Rego said.

He started thinking about an online ordering website four years ago, when he graduated from university.

“We attempted it and it failed miserably,” he said. “Eventually it became frustrating to think how I would enter this market in Bermuda where there was so much potential to make money, but just not enough infrastructure on my end. Eventually I went back at it. I tried a few things internationally. I went to Portugal and tried to expand marketing there and things didn’t go so well. The economy was very broken.”

It made him better appreciate Bermuda’s economy and resources.

“What made me come back was recognising how hard it was in some of the other nations and how easy we have it here, to really do something,” he said.

He thinks the timing of his first attempt was wrong.

“Bermuda wasn’t ready for online ordering four years ago, and now it seems to be that everyone is ready,” he said. “I have seen a level of entrepreneurship like never before, with online websites and things like that.”

But he said Bermuda still has its challenges.

“Bermuda should be much more of an entrepreneur hub than it actually is,” he said. “We need resources and an incubator that actually promotes entrepreneurships, not just mediocre-level competitions or contests, things that actually give talented, creative locals an opportunity to say hey, I have a great idea, this is an incubator, now I can bring my ideas here.”

And he said there were high barriers to entry for young entrepreneurs such as rent and costly advertising.

The Sargasso Sea App is available on the App Store or Google Play

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Published Jan 25, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Jan 24, 2019 at 11:30 pm)

Food order and delivery app proves popular

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