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Whatever your restaurant needs, Aaron George’s startup will find it, now.
Every chef knows the crisis. He or she suddenly needs a can of tomato soup, or brussels sprouts, or nutmeg, and the dining room is roaring. So a member of a crew that may already be short-staffed is sent to find a store.
Aaron George ’19 thinks he’s engineered a better solution–and many restaurateurs seem to agree. The young alumnus is the founder and CEO of SupplyNow, a Cleveland startup that offers Instacart-like deliveries to restaurants that need a product or an ingredient, and need it now.
Since its founding in October 2021, the company has attracted more than 50 clients and considerable buzz in Cleveland’s restaurant community. George was profiled in the November issue of Crain’s Cleveland Business, where he described himself as an on-demand supplement to a restaurant’s usual suppliers.
“We are the Swiss Army knife there to help restaurants and food distributors in a crisis,” he told the newspaper.
His company offers a 24-hour text ordering system that uses an algorithm to find products at the best price and location, thus the software developers on his 18-person staff. The platform taps more than 30 suppliers in Northeast Ohio and sends delivering drivers dashing off from its downtown headquarters.
Restaurant supply may seem an odd venture for a civil engineer, but George has entrepreneurship in his blood. His mom runs a chain of beauty salons back home in Dubai. With an earlier startup, PastryNow, George sought to sell surplus bakery goods to college students. That venture did not survive the pandemic, but it did introduce George to Matthew Vann, owner of The Jolly Scholar brew pub on the CWRU campus.
Vann enlightened George to the procurement challenges of a restaurant and helped him launch SupplyNow. Now George has his sites set on bigger markets.
“Europe has a higher concentration of restaurants, more than the U.S.,” he told Crain’s, “and China has even more.”