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Black and Mobile carving out delivery niche for Black-owned restaurants

Delivery business is operating in four cities today, proving success knows no color

When David Cabello dropped out of college, he knew he wanted to make a difference, so he started a food delivery business that caters to black-owned restaurants. (Photo: Black and Mobile)

On Nov. 9, 2016 – the day after President Donald Trump’s election as president – a college student at Shippensburg University decided to make a difference. He just didn’t know how, but he was convinced it was not sitting in business classes at the university.

So the sophomore dropped out and started looking for his calling.

David Cabello told Modern Shipper that he and his twin brother, Aaron, started working at a bookstore. “I was 22 and had no money; I had to find work.”

A janitor at that bookstore suggested Cabello try food delivery, noting that he made extra money making deliveries on a bicycle.

“I applied to Postmates and got the job,” Cabello said, before adding that it wasn’t enough money so he began working with Uber Eats and Caviar as well.

“That’s when we really started making good money delivering food,” he said. “I made $1,100 on a bike in 30 hours [one week] and wondered how much I could make if I owned the company?”

Cabello Googled Black-owned food delivery services and found none, so the Philadelphia native began to run with the idea of launching a Black-owned delivery business that catered to Black-owned restaurants in the city.

“[Aaron] was responsible for enlightening me on the conditions of our people and what we go through,” Cabello said. “We’ve been through so much as a people, I feel like it is my job to help.”

Black and Mobile was conceived in 2018, but a fractured ankle delayed the official launch of business until February 2019. First launched as a bicycle delivery business, money began rolling in, which allowed Cabello to quickly grow the business.

Aaron and David Cabello have found success with the food delivery business, Black and Mobile. (Photo: Black and Mobile)

“With the money we raised, I invested in an electric bicycle, that’s what helped me grow [the business],” he said, noting the added power made additional deliveries possible each day.

Today Black and Mobile serves roughly 100 restaurants with close to 300 contract drivers, most using cars at this point, in four cities – Philadelphia, Atlanta, Baltimore and Detroit. The company’s app connects drivers with orders. Customers use the app to order directly from their Black-owned restaurant of choice. Cabello said that 98% of the delivery fee is given directly to the driver.

The Black and Mobile app is available on both Android and iOS and features a 10-mile delivery radius around each restaurant.

While Cabello has funded most of the business himself, he has drawn the interest of some high-profile supporters. The brothers appeared on an episode of “Steve on Watch,” a Facebook series hosted by famed comedian and “Family Feud” host Steve Harvey. On the episode, which appeared on Oct. 14, 2020, the Cabellos were introduced to another celebrity, Daymond John of “Shark Tank” fame.

Black and Mobile won a $25,000 grant from the NAACP at John’s Black Entrepreneurs Day. John also gave the brothers access to his course, Daymond on Demand, which he said helps entrepreneurs scale their business.

“It’s about nine hours and about a lot of the land mines I stepped which I had known, and I want to make sure you guys have that to continue growing your business,” John told them.

As Black and Mobile scaled, Cabello found another issue that needed addressing – logistics. He turned to Onfleet, which made him a “bit sad,” he said, adding that he wanted to build his own technology.

“I definitely would not be here without Onfleet,” Cabello said. “When we would get orders before through Shopify … everything was done through text, there was no app, no driver systems.”

Onfleet is powering the logistics behind Black and Mobile, a black-owned food delivery service operating in four cities. (Photo: Onfleet)

Onfleet provides last-mile delivery solutions for businesses. Its products offer end-to-end route planning, dispatch, fleet tracking, communication and analytics.

While Cabello is proud to be a Black-owned business that caters to Black-owned businesses, he is equally proud to own a fast-growing business.

“We deliver food. We’re not talking about hating anyone, attacking anyone. We’re talking about delivering food,” he said, adding that he hopes the business model serves to unify communities. “We’re able to relate more to what we go through, but at the end of the day, business is business. We’re here to make money.”

Click for more Modern Shipper articles by Brian Straight.

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Brian Straight

Brian Straight leads FreightWaves' Modern Shipper brand as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler. You can reach him at [email protected]