When Califrais launched, 207,000 restaurants, cafes, and caterers in France could instantly order food selected from Rungis’ suppliers. But with the onset of COVID-19, demand came to a halt. “Overnight, restaurants were closed and didn’t order anymore,” said Pierre Levy, CEO of Califrais. Meanwhile, consumers—now confined—were looking for a way to order fresh items to eat at home. In response, Rungis and Califrais needed a partner that could urgently support them in building a platform that allowed end consumers to purchase Rungis-sourced products using payment methods adapted for a business-to-consumer model.
Califrais created a platform called Foodufrais and used Stripe Connect to offer an intuitive buying experience for end consumers. In addition, Stripe enabled Califrais to offer payment methods adapted to end-consumers (versus restaurants). Offering payment methods that consumers recognise and trust, such as credit cards, is critical for conversion.
Stripe Connect helped Califrais deliver on speed. Not only could shoppers order fruits and vegetables with just a few clicks, but the entire Foodufrais deployment only took 10 days. According to Simon Bussy, CTO of Califrais, the speed of integration was vital in getting the project up and running. Foodufrais is making nearly 1,200 deliveries per day in Paris. One month after the service was launched, the average basket size has grown to €110, and some 40% of customers regularly return to the platform to restock on fresh groceries from Rungis’ suppliers.
Preparing for massive scale
The popularity of Rungis also meant that the new platform needed to be capable of scaling immediately upon launch. Califrais had to create a robust technological stack that would handle the peaks of 80,000 visitors connected to the online platform at once. “Reliability was critical for us and, thanks to Stripe, payments were 100% stable,” Bussy said.
Blending business models into a seamless service
Taking a service normally offered to restaurateurs and making it available to individuals during a pandemic wasn’t easy, but the success of Foodufrais and Rungis is encouraging. Califrais plans to expand, including the creation of a new center in Brussels. It also plans on entering regional markets across France, growing the business model to serve a wider demographic beyond the Paris metropolitan area.
We knew we needed a new business model, and we needed it fast. The technical set-up, interface, and service offered by Stripe were ultra simple. This allowed our lead developer to implement everything we needed in only 10 days.