Technology company thrives during COVID-19 pandemic
As the country came under lockdown this month to thwart the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), and businesses began to close, six-month-old technology company Kraven began to see a spike in demand for its restaurant delivery app.
Kraven’s principal Kyle Albury told Guardian Business yesterday that he did not appreciate the severity of the COVID-19 situation at first. However, he said when The Bahamas announced its first case and the government implemented lockdown measures, he saw the opportunity for Kraven’s jumpstart.
“I didn’t immediately approach the government,” Albury said.
“I didn’t think the pandemic would get to the point that it’s at. I thought it was the media sensationalizing it, so I didn’t take it seriously myself.
“And then as things got more serious and we got our first case, then more and more communications came out from the government, I realized that there was an opportunity not only for the business, but to open the minds of Bahamians (and let them know) that the service exists.”
According to Albury, this weekend the spike in orders began. This came after a spike in inquiries from dine-in only restaurants that can no longer receive customers, and take-away spots looking for options to stay in business given the social distancing rules that have been implemented.
“We have a lot of vendors now reaching out to us, obviously because they… particularly some of the dine-in restaurants and even some of the take-away… want to offer the delivery service,” he said.
Despite the growth in popularity and demand, he said he has been doing a lot of social media advertising.
Albury’s app has become an essential service for Bahamians who cannot or do not want to leave their homes to purchase food from his listed restaurants.
He said he recently had to employ up to 60 drivers to keep pace with demand, and the company’s targeted 35-minute delivery time.
Albury said all of his drivers, who are contracted similarly to Uber drivers, have been given permission by the Competent Authority to make deliveries during the 24-hour curfew.
He said they have also, as part of operating procedure, been told to keep their hands and insulated bags sanitized.
And, instead of handing those bags over to customers, they rest the bags down and allow the customers space to retrieve the items, thereby adhering to social distancing, Albury said.
“They have been told to exercise proper hygiene when doing deliveries and ensure that the exterior and interior of their vehicles are presentable.”
While Kraven has about 30 restaurants on its app to choose from, only some are currently available because of the shutdown.
Albury said he hopes to have about 20 more restaurants onboard by the end of April, and will begin grocery deliveries by the end of this week.
He said the COVID-19 crisis presents an opportunity for many technology companies to show how their product can help in this new environment.
Albury’s cashless, relatively contact-free company, has been touted by the government and has filled an unexpected gap during a global pandemic.
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