A Northwest student started her own business in Maryville after seeing a need for a food delivery service.
Sophomore Ally Bailey founded Bearcats Eat for any restaurant in Maryville, charging $5 per delivery on top of order costs. Bearcats Eat, which is run off of the Twitter page @BearcatsFood, has gained over 150 followers since launching Feb. 21.
“It was the first weekend, and I actually got a couple of orders, I was like ‘Oh my gosh, this is actually happening; it’s not just an idea anymore’ so that was really cool,” Bailey said. “It’s a little bit new and a lot of people are unsure of how it works.”
Maryville has approximately 40 restaurants with just nine that offer food delivery. Bailey said her dad always told her that if she saw a need, she should fill that need. Bailey grew up watching her dad run his own dent repair business out of their family garage, inspiring her to start Bearcats Eat.
“My dad is an entrepreneur, and he was always telling me if you see a need that needs to be filled, just take the leap,” Bailey said. “It makes me proud to be an entrepreneur like my dad.”
Bearcats Eat was not the original intention behind Bailey’s drive to provide food delivery in the Maryville area. When the idea first came to mind, Bailey was looking to bring Uber Eats or DoorDash to Maryville but quickly realized that was not an option.
Bailey tweeted from her personal Twitter account, “Why doesn’t Maryville do Uber Eats or DoorDash??? Should I start delivering food, maybe I’ll make some moneyyyyyy.”
Bailey said she received a lot of positive feedback from that Tweet and noted the University Police Department said they would order from her.
“I went online to see if I could order food or anything, and it said there was no one in the Maryville area that could deliver food,” Bailey said. “That’s when I tried to start-up and become one of those people, but then Maryville wasn’t an area that they could do that in, so that’s why I just made my own thing.”
Bailey takes orders through the Bearcats Eat Twitter page. To make an order, Twitter users direct message Bearcats Eat.
Bailey will then look up the order on the chosen restaurants website to get the order total and then charges her customer through Venmo. Each order takes around 10 to 15 minutes.
“As of right now, I just Tweet ‘Hey, I’m free to deliver food’ or sometimes people will DM (direct message) me in the middle of the day when I haven’t said my hours yet, and if I’m free or I have the time, I deliver,” Bailey said.
Sophomore Peyton Cobb helped Bailey brainstorm Bearcats Eat and said they are trying to get the word out about the business.
“It’s kind of small right now. No one really knows about it,” Cobb said. “When we go out, we are constantly telling people about it and telling them to follow our Twitter page. She made like eight deliveries or something last weekend; that’s pretty good for the first weekend.”
Bailey has done six deliveries since launching Bearcats Eat but hopes to deliver more as word about Bearcats Eat gets out.
“Don't be afraid to do it.it’s kinda weird the first time because it's like ‘Oh my gosh, this random girl is coming to pick up food for me,’ but I love to do it and I need the money, so feel free to do it anytime,” Bailey said.