Black and Mobile is the country’s first Black-owned food delivery service that exclusively partners with Black-Owned restaurants to give them more exposure and customers.
Founder David Cabello, a 22-year-old at the time of Black and Mobile’s creation, laid the foundation for the company in late 2017 throughout 2018 and launched the service in February of 2019 during Black History Month.
Black and Mobile’s focus is to highlight underrepresented businesses in the urban communities that are often overlooked and provide them with the technology they need to not only expand their customer base, but to stay competitive in this rapidly changing economy.
This also allows the company to hire the men and women from these communities, which will directly affect the unemployment rate and allow more people to be exposed to more opportunities.
As the company prepares to celebrate its 4-year anniversary, it’s raised $1 million in sales and partnerships to support Black-owned restaurants, including ATL-born, Hott Chixx.
The Atlanta Voice: How did Black and Mobile begin its journey?
David Cabello: We started Black and Mobile in 2017, I had just dropped out of college in 2016 and I went to Philadelphia, and I wanted to support Black businesses and help the Black community. I started working at a bookstore, but I was still a broke 21-year-old, then I started delivering food and I realized how much money I was making. I was making $1,100 a week but working like 20 hours part-time. I had started learning the back-end systems of being a driver, which is the most important part of a delivery service. I was like ‘I can pay my own thing’, but the reason why we focus on Black restaurants for me is because when I was delivering for Uber Eats, Postmates, and all these different services, none of the restaurants I picked up were Black owned. It was like 1 every 300 orders I was picking up from a Black-owned restaurant. That frustrated me because I literally dropped out to help my community, but I didn’t feel like I was living out my mission working for the other services. I started Googling and researching the market and how I can create my own service. From there, I created the website, promoting the business and we ended up launching in 2019 during Black History Month.
AV: How did you produce the name?
DC: I was actually working with someone from the bookstore, and he came up with the name and told me to use it, so that’s how the name, “Black and Mobile”, came about.
AV: Who/what inspired you to start Black and Mobile?
DC: There wasn’t a moment that inspired me because I went to school for business, even though I dropped out my third semester, but I always knew I wanted to be a business owner. I think the motivation came from wanting to tell my community to keep it strictly for Black restaurants. If I’m doing this as a driver, how much money could I make as an owner? If something did inspire me it would be the other delivery services because I’m like ‘I can do this, I can do it better, and I can do it for Black restaurants.
AV: How does Black and Mobile work?
DC: You can download the app via the Apple Store or Google Store or visit our website. You would create an account and enter your address. From there, it will show all the Black-owned restaurants near you that you could order from up to a 10-mile radius. There are all types of cuisines on there and once you select the food and checkout. We will send a driver to pick up the order and drop-off. Customers also have the option to order takeout and get it themselves, but our bread and butter is from where we got started from being a delivery service.
AV: Black and Mobile is the first delivery service to exclusively partner with Black-Owned restaurants to give them more exposure and customers. Are your deliverers Black as well?
DC: No. We do not ask people what their race is when they apply to work for us, but most people are Black who work for us. We’ve had many different races who’ve driven for us as well. If you know what we are doing and our mission, it doesn’t bother us. We let anyone order, but we only partner with Black-owned restaurants to give them a fair advantage and playing field on our app. Apps like Uber Eats and DoorDash, there’s a lot of restaurants on their apps and finding Black-owned restaurants are hard to find on those apps.
AV: How is Black and Mobile working to ensure Black businesses are supported all year round, not just during Black History Month, or when a tragedy occurs?
DC: That’s unfortunately what a lot of people and companies do. When Black History Month comes up, everyone wants to support Black businesses, but we do that all year long. I’m still out here delivering orders sometimes, still going to Black-owned restaurants that are on the app, I’m ordering through my own app, and supporting these Black restaurants, getting food, and helping promote and discover them. It’s not an easy job to do this all year long, it’s not popular. Most people do this a couple times out the year and that’s it. We’re trying to make it more popular and intentional like people want to intentionally support Black businesses and change the culture and norm of what it means to support Black businesses in the Black community. Regardless of what’s going on, a lot of these other companies only want to help and support our people once something bad happens. No matter what, we’re Black men and we have to do this. This is more than a food delivery service for us, this is survival. This is what we have to do to unify our people and create an ecosystem for everyone to thrive in. We do this every day and I’ve been working for Black businesses or myself for the last six years now, it’s just my lifestyle now. This is who I am.
AV: What kind of challenges have you faced as a Black business owner?
DC: In the beginning, no one wanted to give me a shot. It was me and a bike. It was hard in the beginning and then we ended up getting a big restaurant in Philly to sign up with us. We only had three restaurants, but we were blessed. COVID-19 helped business. While it’s still hard, we have resources to help us out now. It’s also been hard to convince Black restaurants to work with us at times, and also get funding and build a reliable team.
AV: What are your business goals for the remainder of the year?
DC: Right now, our goal is to have a live campaign and we’re going for a total of $1 million, but our first goal is $50,000 and we’re at about $20,000 and we launched a little over a month ago. We’re letting people invest into our company. This isn’t a kick-starter or GoFundMe. For the last four years, restaurant owners, drivers, customers, and people in other cities have asked how they can invest or how they can get Black and Mobile in their cities. We have big investors looking into us. The problem with our community is that we don’t invest early and we’re only consumers. This is my first time investing and we’re basically giving the power back.
DC: We are also just focused on increasing our revenue and things like that. We are on pace for about $360,000 in revenue this year, but we’re trying to get to a little bit more than half a million. So, we’re applying to some accelerators like TechStars and getting the knowledge. We’re looking for a big investor. We’re going to focus on our framework, upgrading our app, and next year we will be going to more cities like Chicago, Houston, and New Orleans. This year is still to expand our current market. We’ve been in Atlanta for almost two years now and I’m not that known right now. Our first goal for this year is to get more popularity.
AV: Any advice for future business owners?
DC: Don’t expand too fast. Don’t try to do it all by yourself. Get a team and if you have people who have been there for a while, cut them on equity. You really want to get a team, the only thing I need capital for is a team. I just want to build a team and I think that’s the most important thing. You can build a quick little $500,000- or million-dollar business and you can do most of the work. However, if you want to get to the $5 million and $10 million, or have big investors, you need a team and to learn as much as possible. People must be serious about learning what it takes to invest. We must be more knowledgeable because a lot of people don’t invest. And lastly, even though it’s cliché, don’t ever give up, don’t get too depressed. Now that I’ve learned and gone through it, I don’t think anything can bring me down. You’re much more than your business.For more information about Black and Mobile or to sign up to be a driver, visit https://www.blackandmobile.com/