This former int’l student is the brains behind a food delivery app that features home cooks

前国际学生开发了家常菜送餐应用程序

作者:Rynnaas Azlan     来源:studyinternational     阅读模式:只看译文

When Anton Ego took a bite out of the ratatouille that Remy cooked in the movie “Ratatouille”, he was immediately transported to his childhood when he had his mother’s home-cooked version of the vegetable stew. A single dish brought Ego the same comfort he had all those years back and immediately elevated his mood. This idea — that home-cooked meals can bring comfort during tumultuous times — spurred Liyen Tan to start her home-cooked meals business in the US, and, eventually, a food delivery app in her home country. Tan, who hails from Penang, Malaysia, was always passionate about food. After graduating from the University of California, San Diego (UC San Diego), she came up with the idea of introducing Americans to Malaysian cuisine — without breaking the bank. It took no capital — just her kitchen and her tools. Tan went on Reddit to collect orders and in less than a week, she received 25 orders for her home-cooked Hainan chicken rice. All was good for the next two months, until a caring customer reached out to inform her that having a home cooking business was actually illegal in many US states. Hawkr, a one-of-a-kind food delivery app Looking back, it was a good move for Tan to bring back her idea and talents home where it could thrive. Hawkr — as it has now come to be known — went from Tan’s small kitchen in California to the kitchens of 200 merchants in Klang Valley. The platform, dubbed by Tan as an “Airbnb for homemade food”, exclusively recruits home cooks to join them as merchants to empower them. Since its inception, Hawkr has been a food delivery app. While that still remains the primary service, Hawkr at its core is about building a community of home businesses and equipping them with the tools and resources they need to succeed. To double down on their community-building efforts, Tan launched services such as Hawkr+, where customers pay a subscription fee to get unlimited free delivery. This led to a customer retention rate of over 80%. “We recently launched ‘Hawkr Open House’ which is a private dining concept, where customers can dine in the homes of our merchants without paying private dining prices,” Tan tells Study International. The brains behind the food delivery app that targets home cooks Before Hawkr, Tan was just like any other international student in the US — hopeful and optimistic about landing an internship or job opportunity post-graduation. While she did get a job offer, companies were beginning to rescind offers for international students in favour of hiring local graduates. It wasn’t ideal, but the Tuanku Ja’afar College alumnus had no regrets about studying in the US. The country’s tertiary education system worked in a way that she was able to keep her options open and pursue a broad range of academic subjects without declaring her major immediately upon application. “The US college system keeps you there for four years so I had more time to explore what I wanted to do. This was why I ultimately decided to attend UC San Diego,” she says. “I only declared my major after my second quarter there and that was when I decided to settle on International Economics, something I had passion for since I was about 15 years old.” This holistic aspect of American education was the highlight of the now 24-year-old’s time at UC San Diego. “It made me a more well-rounded person. I also learned how to not particularly invest myself too much in any particular area of study because I could focus on all of my passions equally,” she adds, mentioning how she ended up with minors in Dance and Chinese. Life as an international student in California If Tan had a superpower, it would be to teleport between California and her hometown of Penang. “The best part about living in California is hands down, the weather. However, California is a very expensive place to live where eating out was a luxury. Penang on the other hand, is the perfect place for foodies,” she explains. What Tan really misses, though, is being a student in a foreign country. “I think I’m naturally a very curious person so having to meet new people, learn a new culture, eat new foods keeps me on my toes,” she recalls. “People in California are super friendly and in return, they’re always curious about my culture too. It wasn’t difficult to meet new people and find a place you can call home. I even made friends with professors too.” Studying in California was not without its fair share of culture shocks. One that particularly sticks out for her was how all the lecturers insisted that students address them by their first name. “It was strange as I grew up in Malaysia, where you have to address teachers by their titles,” she says. From international student to entrepreneur Now, Tan works on her food delivery app full-time. Her advice for budding entrepreneurs is to just do it: “I am aware of my privileged position in being able to take bigger risks compared to others, so I recommend starting small. The tools to help entrepreneurs get off the ground with relatively low costs are more abundant and accessible than ever.” For example, Tan never knew how to code but she used no-code tools when starting out. “Hawkr started on Google Forms which is completely free. If you ever need someone to speak with about entrepreneurship, I don’t have all the answers but I will gladly be your support buddy as I hope to see the startup scene grow,” she says.

在电影《料理鼠王》中,安东·伊戈咬了一口雷米做的烩菜,立即穿越到了童年,吃着母亲做的家常蔬菜炖菜。多年后一盘菜给伊戈带来了同样的安慰,也迅速让他情绪高昂。家常菜可以在动荡时期带来安慰, 这种想法激发谭丽燕在美国开始了家常菜生意,并最终在家乡推出了送餐应用程序。
来自马来西亚槟城的谭一直对美食充满热情。从加州大学圣地亚哥分校(UC San Diego)毕业后,她萌生了在投入不大的情况下向美国人介绍马来西亚美食的想法,不需要资本–只需要自己的厨房和工具。谭在Reddit上收集订单,不到一周时间,她的家常海南鸡饭就收到了25份订单。
在接下来的两个月里,一切顺利,此时一位关心她的顾客联系并告诉她在美国的许多州,做家常菜实际上是非法的。
Hawkr,一款独一无二的送餐应用程序
回想起来,谭把她的想法和才华带回家乡是对的,在那里她可以茁壮成长。现在大家所知道的Hawkr就是从谭在加州的小厨房发展而来,现在拥有巴生谷200家热衷美食的厨房。该平台被谭称为“家常食品爱彼迎”,专门招募家庭厨师作为商家加入并授权。
从创立之初,Hawkr就是一款送餐应用程序。虽然送餐仍然是其主要服务项目,但Hawkr的核心是建立一个家庭业务业社团,并为他们提供成功所需的工具和资源。为使社团建设获得更大成功,谭推出了Hawkr+等服务,客户支付订阅费即可获得无限次免费送货。这项服务保留了80%以上的客户。
谭告诉国际学习网,“我们最近推出了’Hawkr Open House’,这是一个私人用餐概念,顾客可以在我们的商户家中用餐,而无需支付私人用餐的价格。”
家常菜送餐应用程序的背后
在Hawkr之前,和在美国的其他国际学生一样,谭对毕业后获得实习或工作机会充满希望和乐观。她确实得到了工作机会,但公司开始逐步取消对国际学生的邀请,转而雇佣当地毕业生。
虽然结果并不理想,但这位Tuanku Ja’afar学院的校友对在美国学习并不后悔。美国的高等教育系统让她能够保持选择余地,追求广泛的学术科目,而不必在申请时立即确认专业。
她说,“美国学院体系让我在美国呆了四年,所以我有更多的时间探索我想做什么。这就是为什么我最终决定去加州大学圣地亚哥分校。“ “第二个季度后我才确认我的专业,那时我决定学习国际经济学,我从15岁左右开始就热爱国际经济学。”
美国教育的全面性是现在24岁的谭在加州大学圣地亚哥分校的亮点。谭补充说道,“全面性让我更全面发展。我还学会了如何在任何特定学习领域都不要投入太多,因为我可以平等专注于我所有的爱好。” 并提到她最终是如何在舞蹈和中文专业与未成年人一起毕业的。
加州留学生生活
如果谭有超能力,那就是在加州和她的家乡槟城之间进行瞬移。她解释说,“住在加州最棒的地方是好天气很多。然而,加州生活成本很高,在那里吃饭是一种奢侈。另一方面,槟城是美食家的完美去处。“
然而,谭真正怀念的是当留学生。她回忆道,“我想我天生是一个非常好奇的人,所以认识新的人,学习新的文化,吃新的食物让我保持活力。” “加州的人超级友好,相应地,他们也总是对我的文化感到好奇。结识新朋友并找到一个你可以称之为家的地方并不难。我甚至还和教授交上了朋友。“
在加州学习并非没有文化冲突。对谭来说,特别突出的就是所有的讲师都坚持要求学生直呼其名。她说,“这很奇怪,因为我在马来西亚长大,在马来西亚学生必须称呼教师的头衔。”
从国际学生到企业家
现在,谭全职在她的送餐应用程序上工作。她对初露头角的企业家的建议是,只管去做。“与其他人相比,我意识到我的特殊职务让我能够承担更大的风险,所以我建议从小做起。帮助企业家以相对较低的成本起步,这种工具比以往任何时候都更加丰富和容易获得。“
例如,谭从来不知道如何编码,她在开始时使用无代码工具。她说,“Hawkr从完全免费的谷歌表单开始。如果你需要找人谈论创业,我没有所有答案,但我很乐意成为你的支持伙伴,因为我希望看到创业场景增长。”