Once everything goes back to normal after this Coronavirus situation settles down, grab something delicious to eat from one of the most beneficial food services on campus: ObieEats.
Raul Segredo ‘23 had a game-changing vision for Oberlin to experience. This vision was to provide an inexpensive delivery service for Oberlin students to rely upon. The vision became a fully active business called ObieEats. This is quite unusual, considering the fact that Raul is already a student-athlete who deals with a hectic schedule on top of running a business.
I asked Raul for his motivation behind forming this delivery service for hungry Obies on campus, and he responded with the following: “Coming from Miami, I wasn’t used to having to walk through snow, and I wished there was a way I could get food and avoid having to go outside.” The freezing Ohio weather was one of Raul’s biggest reasons behind creating ObieEats, but he has an even bigger reason for creating it. It turns out that entrepreneurship runs through Raul’s veins. “It runs in the family. My dad and uncle are both very successful entrepreneurs. More importantly, though, starting my own company has been a passion of mine for my entire life. I could name countless little makeshift businesses I’ve made throughout my life (lemonade stands, selling origami, throwing parties in high school, etc.). I think I’ve always had a drive to make a service that people want to use.”
I also asked Raul about how he makes profits from this delivery service. “We actually use a cheaper price format than UberEats and PostMates, maximum of 30% delivery fee on the amount of food you order.” The company currently delivers from Kim’s, Agave, Black River Café, The Oberlin Kitchen, and The Feve.
Raul started his business through “LaunchU,” a mentorship program designed to help entrepreneurs expand their companies. Think of Shark Tank but exclusively for young entrepreneurs. This program allowed Raul to learn more about business ventures and gain extra resources for his newly established company. He talked about his experience with LaunchU and how it helped his company grow. “In LaunchU, I was able to meet a lot of people who were able to guide me through the logistics of the company. Huge shoutout to Bara Watts, who was a big motivator and is the director of entrepreneurship here at Oberlin. He was really my mentor throughout creating this. My dad and uncle also really helped me out with different questions throughout the process. While at LaunchU, the other people attending the course were extremely helpful to me and I’m excited to see their projects start. Ceiveon Munoz and Ruiqi Liu’s Drumplings and Kelvin Baker’s RIDE are both very promising companies that Oberlin will be hearing a lot about.”
ObieEats has received positive reviews from the public so far. We talked to Carmen McFarlin, a community member who used ObieEats and was very pleased with the service. "As a community member, I have often wished for a food delivery service, so I was very excited to see Instagram suggest that I follow ObieEats. I looked them up online and then contacted them to see if they delivered off-campus, which they do. We ordered a delivery from Kim's Korean Market through their app. Delivery was very prompt and I was very happy with the service. I definitely plan on using it more. However, since delivery is done via bicycle, I am hesitant at to order when the weather is bad or especially cold."
We also spoke to former Oberlin student Ben Von Mehren, who was also pleased with his order. “He’s always under 45 (minutes) and the food is just as good as if it were a normal delivery. People just have to try it to like it. I feel like everyone’s unsure because he’s the new kid on the block, but (ObieEats) works like you’d want it to.”
The company plans on expanding to every restaurant in town as it grows. As a student-athlete, Raul already deals with a hectic schedule, but he still manages to make deliveries for hungry Obies on Monday to Saturday from 6:00 to 10:00 P.M. I asked him why he puts himself through so much stress, and he responded with this: “What really appeals to me is the grind. I think when you’re starting your own business, your hard work is really transparent in the product you make and that’s what appeals the most to me. I’ve never cared so much about personal publicity. I just wanted to find a way to positively affect people’s lives and try and make the world a better place.”