One of the latest tech startups to get a footing in Baltimore is Foodem, a website started by a University of Maryland College Park grad a few years ago that aims to build a transparent marketplace for commercial food buyers and distributors.
Kash Rehman, the founder of Foodem, has been on both sides of the equation in the food industry: he's worked for a small food distributor in Maryland and he's also run his own restaurant in College Park.
Here's what Rehman, 35, learned along the way. As a restaurant buyer, he needed to spend an hour by phone comparing wholesale prices for food (think chicken tenders) by calling different distributors and haggling prices. He needed to do this twice a week, four times a month, to save about $2,400 a month in food costs just by shopping around.
While working for a food distributor in Laurel, on the other side of the coin, he learned that he needed to build out a sales force to support food distribution sales, and their pay was a part of the total customer acquisition cost, of around 6 to 8 percent.....