Checking In With Food Delivery Startup Chowbus Following $33M Series A Round

Chowbus is a niche food delivery startup that focuses exclusively on Asian restaurants. The company operates in more than 20 North American cities and closed a $33 million Series A funding round in August.

Benzinga had the opportunity to catch up with Chowbus Co-founder and CTO Suyu Zhang to better understand the unique business model and its role in the food delivery universe.

Not A Competitor To Uber: Chowbus is different from large delivery food platforms like Uber Technologies Inc UBER as it focuses on one specific type of cuisine, Zhang told Benzinga in an e-mail. As such, its core consumer is already craving Asian food so it doesn't need to offer huge discounts to get people to order.

Chowbus views itself as a complementary food delivery company instead of a direct competitor to the UberEats of the world. Chowbus works with independent restaurants and views itself as part of the "ecosystem for the small mom-and-pop restaurants." By contrast, Uber is a "logistics company" with a goal of delivering "everything everywhere, including food."

Related Link: Meet Chowbus: The Food Delivery Company Focused On Asian Restaurants

On top of supporting small restaurants' delivery and pickup capabilities, Chowbus also helps with marketing and menu optimization.

Chowbus is very selective in what restaurants it welcomes to the platform and its unique business model, the executive said. Restaurants are often next door to each other and this allows for quick and efficient delivery for bundled orders.

Chowbus is part of a new trend in the food delivery business of platforms focusing on one cuisine, Zhang said. Other similar models include Meseras for Mexican Food and HappyCow for vegan food.

State Of Asian Restaurants: Benzinga reported back in April that Chinese restaurants were experiencing the most hardships amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Smaller mom-and-pop shops have "definitely been impacted the most" and it's a "difficult time for everyone," Zhang said.

"When the first COVID cases were reported in China in January, Asian restaurants had already started to lose business," Zhang said. "Thus, many of these businesses will need much more time to recover from the pandemic, even with in-person dining and coronavirus becoming less of a concern."

Encouragingly, Chowbus is now seeing steady growth even though restaurants are opening up for dine-in, Zhang said. Most of Chowbus' restaurant partners were already offering delivery prior to the pandemic, but the company can onboard a new restaurant in just a few days, Zhang said.

Finally, the best way to help support local restaurants and ensure their success is simply to order their food.

"While financial support from the government would be important, restaurants will benefit most from community support," Zhang said.

Posted In: ChowbusfoodFood DeliveryUber EatsRestaurantsStartupsExclusivesInterviewGeneral

Ad Disclosure: The rate information is obtained by Bankrate from the listed institutions. Bankrate cannot guaranty the accuracy or availability of any rates shown above. Institutions may have different rates on their own websites than those posted on The listings that appear on this page are from companies from which this website receives compensation, which may impact how, where, and in what order products appear. This table does not include all companies or all available products.

All rates are subject to change without notice and may vary depending on location. These quotes are from banks, thrifts, and credit unions, some of whom have paid for a link to their own Web site where you can find additional information. Those with a paid link are our Advertisers. Those without a paid link are listings we obtain to improve the consumer shopping experience and are not Advertisers. To receive the rate from an Advertiser, please identify yourself as a Bankrate customer. Bank and thrift deposits are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Credit union deposits are insured by the National Credit Union Administration.

Consumer Satisfaction: Bankrate attempts to verify the accuracy and availability of its Advertisers' terms through its quality assurance process and requires Advertisers to agree to our Terms and Conditions and to adhere to our Quality Control Program. If you believe that you have received an inaccurate quote or are otherwise not satisfied with the services provided to you by the institution you choose, please click here.

Rate collection and criteria: Click here for more information on rate collection and criteria.