Food, on demand

ExtraPlate app opens up a whole new world of edible e-commerce

When I first heard about ExtraPlate, I got positively giddy. Probably because I love food, and the options seem endless with this new app. Here’s the gist: Sellers list edible items—produce from their home garden or commercial farm; homemade meals and other foodstuff; specialty or mark-down items from food trucks and restaurants—and buyers buy it. What a fantastic idea!

ExtraPlate was conceived by Grant Rosenquist (whom I first met years ago, when he worked for the News & Review in Sacramento) and Jimmy Crabbe. They began working on it last year and launched last month. While it sounds pretty simple, there’s actually a lot to it—but the devil’s in the details and these guys have the details down.

“Our standards aren’t really about the food,” Rosenquist explained by phone, “but about professionalism, customer service and consistency.” To that end, sellers all attend a beginner’s seminar (or webinar) that outlines best practices and policies. Everyone’s asked to use similar packaging and is supplied with a stamp with the ExtraPlate logo on it, in the name of consistency.

One of the coolest things, in my opinion, is the new world of food that this app opens up. For instance, my boyfriend makes killer beef jerky. He sells it to friends, but ExtraPlate would be a perfect outlet for him to branch out. I also know some fantastic home cooks who sometimes make more than they can eat. With this app, Vickie down the street could list four slices of her epic lasagna for $5 apiece and not have to throw away uneaten leftovers. If I could actually grow veggies and had too many to eat, I could sell them, too.

The same goes for restaurants and food trucks, Rosenquist and Crabbe said. Rather than throwing away perfectly good food before it goes bad, they can list it on ExtraPlate and potentially turn it into revenue—and happy bellies. All payments go through the app, and sellers can choose between offering pickup or delivery.

As of press time, there was only one seller consistently offering food in Chico. Her focus is on gluten-free baked goods, which I have no interest in, so I have yet to actually try it out. But I have a feeling it’s going to catch on quickly. Maybe you’ll even see some of Chuck’s jerky on there sometime soon. I’d give it five stars! (App available in the Apple and Google Play stores.)

Third and Main makeover Anyone who’s passed by the corner of Third and Main streets lately probably has noticed the façade is under construction. The signs are down, as are the awnings. According to Chico City Manager Mark Orme, the downstairs space is being split into two, with one of the spots being transformed into a Mexican restaurant, name pending. There is no word of anything changing at the Crazy Horse, so you chaps-wearing, line-dancing folks can rest easy.