Founder Spotlight: Lance Uriel Pormarejo of Good Meal Hunting
The one-stop shop for authentic home-cooked food in Metro Manila
By Jonaima Panalondong
Whether it is about travelling, socializing or food hunting, Filipinos are always looking for an adventure. And when it comes to food concepts that cater to Filipinos, MSG-bombarded instant Korean Ramen or instant Pad Thai are not making up for it.
Metro Manila is populated with busy people such as working professionals. It becomes difficult to fend for oneself because of the fatigue brought by everyday tasks, so Manileños settle with convenient and cheap fast-food, instant noodles, canned goods, and microwavable food that are calorie, fat, sodium, sugar, and MSG-dense; but must convenience, affordability, and authenticity have to sacrifice health and taste? The founders of Good Meal Hunting believes that we should not.
Transforming people’s lives through good food
Good Meal Hunting is a one-stop services platform for home-based cooks and foodies in Metro Manila. “We aim to enable and educate our home cooks to become empowered kitchen merchants.” They believe that the key to a successful food business is good quality and a complementing marketing strategy; and Good Meal Hunting helps to do this by having the home-based cooks do what they do best which is cooking. Good Meal Hunting handles the business-work such as finding their home cooks clients, marketing and advertising of their dishes, catering pool opportunities, merchant training, logistics, consultancy, photography, sourcing assistance, and even packaging. It is the perfect combination!
Moreover, Good Meal Hunting is not your typical food delivery service. “All our dishes are hand-crafted by our select group of kitchen merchants who serve authentic home cooked dishes straight out of their kitchen. All our dishes are made to order to ensure the quality and authenticity of each dish made.”
Dumping the corporate world for his calling
Good Meal Hunting was co-founded by Lance Uriel F. Pormarejo, COO of Good Meal Hunting, together with Warangkana “Gear” Fajardo, CEO & Founder of Good Meal Hunting, a Thai national who has been residing in the Philippines for fifteen years now. When they started, Lance just graduated with a degree in business under De La Salle University in Manila. During college, he dwelled into e-commerce for fitness apparel and shoes, did research for a book written by the Small Enterprise Research and Development Foundation (SERDEF), and did internal marketing for the university under the Office of Strategic Communications.
He grew up influenced by his family who were actively undertaking their own businesses. His parents ran a design firm called Inex Design, his uncle was a recognized tech startup pioneer, and his grandmother was also into entrepreneurship. Lance was supposed to sign a contract with a large conglomerate and take the corporate track, but the day before his contract signing, his now co-founder proposed doing business together. “Honestly, I think it was a good decision. I knew deep inside that I wanted to go into entrepreneurship,” he said. “I started out as employee number one for Good Meal Hunting wherein I took my role very seriously up until she asked me to co-found the startup.” he added.
He takes work and personal life as the same thing. To him, it is a lifestyle one must embrace as an entrepreneur and the enterprise is a baby that you have to grow and take care of. “You just have to accept that it is part of your life, but of course, you have to spend time with your family, friends, and yourself. I think it is how one makes life enjoyable.” he states.
Homesickness prompts idea to scale an existing community
The idea started when his co-founder was looking for food that reminded her of home, she then discovered a huge community of expats in the Philippines who were looking for their home cuisine too. She used to work in the corporate world and sold her home-cooked dishes to her colleagues, friends and family members for a long time. Her mother was a home-based cook too and was able to send all the children to school just by home-cooking. Later, she found out that there is no support for home-based cooks to actually grow their businesses, so this is where Good Meal Hunting found the main problem that needs solving. “We started with international comfort food; and as we understood the market, we discovered the need for healthy food options, vegan food, and Halal food; and these are the main categories that we are working on,” he added.
Good Meal Hunting has been running for a year and a half already. Having tested the waters, they have launched the second version earlier this year. Lance says that their current challenge is the acquisition of more home merchants and users to grow the platform. “We want to highlight how Good Meal Hunting is communal. Our home-cooks know and help each other,” he said.
Projecting the future: Conquering the Philippines and South-East Asia, and Remaining in the startup industry
For Good Meal Hunting he states that “In ten years, we are looking into a regional expansion. We want to saturate Metro Manila first, and look into other major cities in the Philippines. We also plan to slowly move towards South East Asia.”
Lance still wants to be in the startup industry in 10 years. “As of now, I don’t think I can run a startup of my own. There is still so much to learn and experience. It is something to think about. I am currently focused on Good Meal Hunting,” he says. Aside from co-founding Good Meal Hunting, Lance also reveals that he is also a managing partner for Thats BS Is Lifestyle Inc. a company that has a chain of restaurants in Valenzuela City. They are also opening several other branches in Metro Manila soon. Lastly, he is also doing consultancy for the Asian Development Bank for a project under DSWD that involves an e-learning platform that aims to support national building for the Philippines.
Poking on what needs to be addressed in the Philippines
“I think formal education is outdated. They should enhance the curriculum and reach to all Filipinos, so they get exposed to more updated education, especially in rural areas,” Lance says. “Basically, entrepreneurship is all about solving problems. Everywhere in the world, we want to fuel innovation. Gone were the days when we can go into manufacturing or inventing new things. Now, it is about innovating what is existing, solving problems, and making people’s lives easier,” he added.
In relation to Good Meal Hunting, he believes that the problem in Manila is that it is congested, people are busy, and having a helper at home is becoming expensive. “What we want to do is cross the border of convenience and good food, and tell the market that convenience does not have to be expensive,” Good Meal Hunting does subscription meals too. Those who want to get fit can subscribe to our healthy meal subscriptions which are calorie counted meals delivered to your doorstep every single day.
On Launchgarage, the startup community, and its future
“The Launchgarage community has exposed me to a great amount of mentorship and knowledge.”
Lance believes that the startup environment is conducive for young people. Millennials are looking for empowerment and flexibility, and he thinks that startups present these opportunities to them. He also thinks that a good startup needs to solve a problem, have a good team, direction, perseverance, and passion to be able to move forward.
To him, a good team should know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and address that to coordinate assignments. He believes in hiring team members who have a good attitude rather than relying on their skill set. “It is cliché, but everything really boils down to execution,” he stresses.
“If you want to do business, do not make excuses. If an opportunity comes, but you do not know how to do it, just take it and figure it out along the way,” he says. “Just continue to do what you are doing. Stay positive and passionate. Persevere because at the end of the day, everything is going to work out.”