Texas lands inside top 15 in new ranking of most innovative states

March 21, 2024 | by magnews24.com

A young Dallas foodie has created a startup designed to bring attention to independently owned restaurants. Called Foodify, it’s a platform launched by student-entrepreneur Anisha Holla, that connects restaurant owners with local food influencers.

Holla is a senior at the University of Texas at Dallas and part-time food writer leveraging her experience writing for the Dallas Observer. She was inspired to start Foodify after witnessing the beneficial effect her articles and social media posts had on unsung restaurants.

“I got a call from one of the restaurant owners I posted about, and he was literally in tears of joy because he had not seen that traffic before. It was eye opening,” Holla says. “I noticed every time I would post, they would have their busiest week of sales. Then sales would plateau again because algorithms would prioritize new content.”

She dubs her platform – which is no relation to a Louisiana-based food delivery service of the same name – a “modern day dating app for restaurants and influencers,” and offers a paid subscription service to restaurateurs starting at $500 per month.

That rate is on the lower side of the influencer norm, where fees can run as high as $2,000 per post, and also lower than what a traditional PR agency might charge.

Influencers have become an integral part of restaurant marketing. But no one has created a business like this which serves as a middle-man between restaurateur and influencer.

In the six months since it was created, Foodify has amassed a client list of 25 restaurants for whom it has created 180 social media posts. Holla claims they’ve earned 56 billion social media impressions – I know, right?! – with up to a 150 percent increase in sales.

Restaurants she has represented include Casa Pollastro, an all you can eat Brazilian restaurant in Addison, and Piefalootin’, the pie shop in Grapevine, connecting them to Influencers such as Dallas Discovered and Explore.vina, who get reimbursed when they do a post.

“At the end of the day, influencers are part of our extended team,” Holla says. “I personally interview each of them. Everyone on the team is passionate about helping small business. They are here for the right reasons.”

It’s something she ultimately hopes to do full-time, and the savvy young entrepreneur recently received an investment from entrepreneurial organization EO Dallas to help that goal along, with potential expansion to other cities including San Francisco and New York.

“Small businesses cannot afford big PR companies,” Holla says. “It’s frustrating to see great restaurants close all the time. I’m trying to help these small business owners, struggling to stay alive and fill empty dining rooms with overnight lines.”

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