Updated: Jul 2, 2021
We can all imagine it. We’ve talked about this problem for years.
Visualize that you are a restaurant owner and chef trying to capture a unique customer base with a deep appreciation for the finest quality foods and flavors. You know you can source those foods locally and proceed down the path to have a consistent supply from local farms and purveyors. You learn their stories, you watch their harvest and process. You meet their families. You create menus around those foods and flavors. Your marketing is fine-tuned and your clientele is jazzed! Then the inevitable happens.
Navigating the logistics of ordering, gathering, picking up, receiving and payment becomes a full-time job that makes it unsustainable. It is not convenient for the buyer or the seller. It is an additional process to the normal course of day for each respective business and fraught with inconsistencies, frustration and often – abandonment of the ideal.
One such chef, Matt Tortora, set out to create a better sourcing experience. It was clear that the vendors and their customers could benefit from a better selling experience. Fast forward to 2021. He and his team have built a sustainable business platform and process for independent farmers, farm stands, farmers markets and artisan producers to have a satisfying, profitable and direct relationship with their customers. Possibly more important, the WhatsGood team studied how the customer wanted to buy and created a platform that maintained a direct relationship with vendors plus additional benefits of making the experience far more convenient.
Matt* is now CEO and Co-Founder of WhatsGood where a team is assembled that is rich with experience in food selling, buying and logistics. “I built a very basic platform with a few customers starting in 2014 and it worked and that was the launch of What’s Good”, he said. “We want to be best in class to farmers markets and their respective vendors so we have been constantly improving and customizing the platform to optimize the customers experience.”
WhatsGood signs appeared at vendor’s stands as the farmers market opened for the season in Oregon City. “What’s up with the sign?”, I inquired. The vendors beamed about being part of a system that expanded their service for renewing customers. They explained that customers who were not able to make it to every market, could get the product by simply placing an order on-line. Market goers that were going to be late and concerned they would might miss out? A pre-placed order would assure their product selection. The order and payment went directly to the vendor and they would either hold the product for pick-up or in a growing number of regions, delivery is included. It was like having a second cash register ringing up orders. The seller now had better control of how much and what to bring to a market, as well as having some of their weeks inventory pre-packaged and pre-paid.
The WhatsGood platform is increasing the volume and diversity of real and whole foods directly to the consumer and offering consumers a broad array of selection, year-round, in a way the consumer has become comfortable sourcing. One such example is the curbside pick-option, offering those that choose to drive through or are restricted in their physical abilities to get around a market to still have access.
The USDA has listed 1500 Farmers Markets in their Farmers Market Directories listings in the US. The farmers market coalition reports 8,600 markets, representing over 100,000 vendors. Most of the vendors are the very producers who feature unprocessed and nutrient-dense foods – healing foods. The people of What’s Good studied the behavior of today’s consumer and focused beyond what they want to buy and concentrated on how they want to buy. The ability of 100,000 vendors to reach directly their customers year-round is transformational to millions of households.
WhatsGood was presented to me at the Oregon city farmers market. When markets were shut down for Covid, I decided to use the platform to start selling my products. It was super successful, as people had access and felt safer making purchases. - Riley Sevigny, Owner & Cultivator Mindful Mushrooms
Where the rubber meets the road for vendors and farmers markets is the increased sales and especially in markets finding critical mass triggering What’s Good to mobilize the delivery features.
WhatsGood is offering health professionals a consistent solution, as well. As more practitioners are writing food prescriptions for their patients and clients, the What’s Good platform can provide greater guidance and adherence.
Matt and his team serve an important role in optimizing natural health by optimizing its supply chain.
*Matt is the CEO and co-founder of WhatsGood, a virtual farmers market and delivery service headquartered in Rhode Island. He is a combat veteran who was born in Long Island, New York and served 10 years in the U.S. Navy. Matt made the decision to pursue his deep-rooted passion for food and became a chef in 2010. After earning his B.S. in culinary arts from JWU, he founded WhatsGood in 2014 to localize our food system. Today, WhatsGood connects hundreds of thousands of people to their community’s food sources by enabling hundreds of farmers markets and thousands of local food vendors with eCommerce and next-day delivery conveniences throughout the US.