Black and Mobile is the first black-owned food delivery service in the country to work exclusively with black-owned restaurants to bring them exposure and customers.
Founder David Cabello, 22 years old at the time Black and Mobile was founded, laid the foundation for the company in late 2017 during 2018 and launched the service in February 2019 during Black History Month.
Black and Mobile’s focus is to highlight underrepresented companies in urban communities that are often overlooked, and provide them with the technology they need to not only grow their customer base, but thrive in this rapidly changing economy to stay competitive.
This also allows the company to hire the men and women from these communities, which directly impacts the unemployment rate and allows more people to take advantage of more opportunities.
As the company prepares to celebrate its 4th anniversary, it has raised $1 million in sales and partnerships to support black-owned restaurants including ATL-born Hott Chixx.
The Atlanta Voice: How did Black and Mobile begin its journey?
David Cabello: We started Black and Mobile in 2017, I had just dropped out of college in 2016 and went to Philadelphia and I wanted to support black businesses and help the black community. I started working in a bookstore but I was still broke, 21 years old, then I started delivering food and I realized how much money I was making. I was making $1,100 a week but working about 20 hours part time. I had started learning a driver’s back-end systems, which is the most important part of a delivery service. I said, “I can pay for my own thing,” but the reason we’re focusing on black restaurants for me is because none of the restaurants I picked up were black when I was paying for Uber Eats, Postmates, and all these various services supplied obsessively. It was about 1 in 300 orders I picked up from a black owned restaurant. This frustrated me because I literally stopped serving my church, but I didn’t feel like I was fulfilling my mission by working for the other ministries. I started googling and researching the market and figuring out how to create my own service. From there I created the website to promote the business and we eventually launched 2019 during Black History Month.
AV: How did the name come about?
DC: I was actually working with someone from the bookstore and he came up with the name and told me to use it, so the name Black and Mobile came up.
AV: Who/what inspired you to start Black and Mobile?
DC: There wasn’t a moment that inspired me because I went to business school even though I dropped out of my third semester, but I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I think the motivation came from wanting to tell my community to keep it strictly for black restaurants. If I do this as a driver, how much money could I make as an owner? If anything inspired me, it would be the other delivery companies because I’m like, ‘I can do this, I can do better and I can do it for black restaurants.
AV: How does Black and Mobile work?
DC: You can download the app from the Apple Store or Google Store, or visit our website. You would create an account and enter your address. From there, you’ll see all of the black-owned restaurants in your area that you can order within a 10-mile radius. There are all kinds of cuisines there and when you choose the food and checkout. We send a driver to pick up and deliver the order. Customers also have the option to order takeout and pick it up themselves, but our bread and butter is our home delivery service.
AV: Black and Mobile is the first delivery service to work exclusively with black-owned restaurants to bring them exposure and customers. Are your deliverers also black?
DC: No. We don’t ask people their race when they apply, but most of the people who work for us are black. We also had many different races that drove for us. If you know what we do and what our mission is, we don’t mind. We let everyone order, but we only work with black owned restaurants to give them a fair edge and playing field in our app. Apps like Uber Eats and DoorDash, there are many restaurants in their apps and black owned restaurants are hard to find in these apps.
AV: How do you find black-owned restaurants?
DC: We have a database of resources to connect with Black owned companies and we also find companies through Instagram and we have connections with directors. We find the email, DM them, and find ways to reach those companies.
AV: The fourth anniversary of Black and Mobile is approaching. How do you feel?
DC: We don’t have anything planned to celebrate. We’re just glad we’ve made it to four years and are approaching our fifth. We almost didn’t make it to the third or fourth year. We are currently focused on building the platform and adding more restaurants. Everything is pretty stable and we don’t have any bugs in the system like before, we are in our growth phase. We are focusing on equity and adding features to our platform.
AV: How does Black and Mobile work to ensure black businesses are supported year-round, not just during Black History Month or when tragedy strikes?
DC: Unfortunately, many people and companies do that. When Black History Month comes around, everyone wants to support black businesses, but we do that year-round. I’m still out here sometimes delivering orders, still going to in-app Black restaurants, ordering through my own app and supporting these Black restaurants, sourcing food and helping to promote and discover them. It is not an easy task to do this all year round, it is not popular. Most people do this a few times a year and that’s it. We’re trying to make it more popular and conscious as people consciously support black businesses and want to change the culture and norm of what it means to support black businesses in the black community. Regardless of what’s going on, many of these other companies just want to help and support our employees when something bad happens. No matter what, we are black men and we have to do this. For us, this is more than a food delivery service, this is survival. This is what we need to do to unite our people and create an ecosystem where everyone can thrive. We do this every day and I’ve worked for black businesses or myself for six years, it’s just my lifestyle now. This is who I am
AV: What challenges have you faced as a black business owner?
DC: In the beginning nobody wanted to give me a chance. It was me and a bike. It was difficult at first, but then we got a big restaurant in Philly to sign up with us. We only had three restaurants, but we have been blessed. COVID-19 has helped the business. While it’s still difficult, we have resources that can help us now. It was also difficult sometimes to convince black restaurants to work with us, receive money and build a reliable team.
AV: What are your business goals for the rest of the year?
DC: Right now our goal is to have a campaign live and we want to hit $1 million overall, but our first goal is $50,000 and we’re at about $20,000 and we’re aiming for a little over started a month. We let people invest in our company. This is not a Kickstarter or GoFundMe. For the last four years, restaurant owners, drivers, customers and people in other cities have been asking how to invest or how to bring Black and Mobile to their cities. We have big investors investigating us. The problem with our community is that we don’t invest early and we’re just consumers. This is my first investment and we’re basically giving the power back.
DC: We’re also just focused on growing our sales and things like that. We’re on track for about $360,000 in sales this year, but we’re trying to hit a little over half a million. So we apply to some accelerators like TechStars and get the knowledge. We are looking for a large investor. We will focus on our framework, update our app and next year we will visit more cities like Chicago, Houston and New Orleans. This year we plan to expand our current market. We’ve been in Atlanta for almost two years now and I’m not that well known. Our first goal for this year is to gain more popularity.
AV: Any advice for future business owners?
DC: Don’t expand too quickly. Don’t try to do everything alone. Get a team and if you have people that have been there a while, cut their equity. They really want to get a team, the only thing I need capital for is a team. I just want to build a team and I think that’s the most important thing. You can quickly build a small $500,000 or million business and get most of the work done. However, if you want to hit the $5M, $10M mark or have big investors, you need a team and you need to learn as much as you can. People seriously need to learn what it takes to invest. We need to be better informed because a lot of people don’t invest. And last but not least, while it’s a cliché, never give up, don’t get too depressed. Now that I’ve learned and been through it, I don’t think anything can bring me down. You are much more than your business.
For more information about Black and Mobile or to register as a driver, visit https://www.blackandmobile.com/