If your mind runs along the same lines as ours, you immediately thought: How on Earth can this be done? Not just any Jane or Joe can make up a batch of chocolate chip cookies and sell them for a buck apiece to any old palooka off the Internet. You have to be inspected. You have to be licensed. You have to pay a lot of money to the Health Department. What are you trying to pull, CookItFor.Us?
“We don’t have to worry about that because we don’t sell food, just like eBay doesn’t sell alcohol or firearms,” says Conrad Fuhrman, the CTO and designer at the fledgling site. “All we’re doing is connecting people who want to buy with people who want to sell.”
CookItFor.Us asks those who want to sell their edible wares (“Makers” in the site’s parlance) to sign an agreement that they have the relevant licenses to sell in their area, and that they will collect the proper amount of tax and hand it over to the authorities. “We could never keep up with all the different codes in every city,” notes Fuhrman, a Chicagoan who lives in the land of repressive food rules.
Visitors to CookItFor.Us can operate as either buyers (“Cravers”) or sellers, uploading a recipe with a simple widget and asking that someone make it for them, or offering to make it for someone else. After a buyer and seller have made a connection, the seller decides whether to take the business or not, in an eBay-like fashion, and both buyer and seller are bound to certain agreements. Oh, and CookItFor.Us takes a cut.
Being that CookItFor.Us is now populated with recipes from other sites (Epicurious, Allrecipes), some might wonder, will CookItFor.Us slide any of that sweet, sweet green the way of the recipe publisher? Because it surely costs money to create food “content.”
Yes, says Fuhrman, that’s on the table. “Right now, when recipes are published, they’re not monetized in any way other than advertising on the site. Eventually what we envision is another stream of revenue for the recipe providers, every time that recipe is made.”
Might take awhile though. I was hoping to test the site by ordering something, but there are no providers yet in San Francisco, or even in California.