Black and Mobile, a Black-owned food delivery app founded in Philadelphia, has expanded to Baltimore with 40 drivers and 20 Black-owned restaurants signed on in the city.
Founder David Cabello got the idea for the business while working for other food delivery services like Caviar, Postmates and Uber Eats. Making $1,100 dollars in 30 hours of work on a bike, he thought to himself, “If I can do this on a regular bicycle, how much could I make if I owned the company?” The rest is history.
“Not seeing as many Black-owned restaurants on [other food delivery apps] also motivated me to say, we need to be able to find more Black-owned restaurants,” said Cabello, the CEO of Black and Mobile. “Most people can not name over 20 Black-owned restaurants, but I guarantee they can name that many white restaurants. We know where to go to find everyone else’s businesses but ours.”
During the pandemic, which brought skyrocketing demand for services like food delivery, the business went from making $25,000 to $500,000. This allowed Black and Mobile to expand to Baltimore, Atlanta and Detroit. It also redesigned the app with Black-owned software development company JumpButton Studio.
At the start of the pandemic in March, Cabello said, “I didn’t even think we were going to be open still.” Two weeks before states started ordering public health restrictions that closed restaurants, the company had just expanded to Detroit. But like a lot of other food delivery services, Black and Mobile was able to stay open.
“We sold three times the amount of food in April than we did the entire 2019,” said Cabello.
The uptick in customers came due to both the pandemic and the uprising that resulted from the death of Black people across the nation at the hands of police, which sparked an interest in supporting Black-owned businesses.
“Unfortunately, we got more support after a Black man dying than we did all year,” said Cabello, referring to the death of George Floyd, who died when a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds.
Despite the why and how, Cabello is excited about the expansion to Baltimore and grateful for how well business has been going in 2020 as he continues to put the spotlight on Black-owned restaurants.
“It’s not just my business you’re supporting,” said Cabello. “You’re supporting the restaurant, you’re supporting the Black tech company that developed [the app], the driver if they’re Black, we hire everyone, that’s an independent contractor. That’s four Black-owned businesses that you can support, and you can get good food. It’s all about supporting small local businesses.”
For any restaurant that wants to be on the app or person that wants to work as a delivery driver, there’s an application on Black and Mobile’s website. The app is available on your preferred app store.
Donte Kirby is a 2020-2021 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation. -30-