MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. — A local startup is betting that the skies are the future of food delivery with no delivery fees, no tips, and no worries for rumbling stomachs hoping to avoid getting hangry.
"Hangry," as defined by Merriam-Webster, is "irritable or angry because of hunger." Therefore, it made sense that Shehan Weeraman and Nick Adimi aptly named their company 'Hangry' after becoming annoyed and exasperated by homemade food.
"We got really lazy to cook and we just decided to order a lot," Weeraman said. "We realized we were paying like $10, sometimes more, for delivery that would take us sometimes over an hour to arrive."
The engine that drives this enterprise is a drone with a basket attached by a rope to the bottom. In an open field, away from the flight restriction zone around Washington, D.C., the Hangry team tests the drone out, weaving and soaring it high across the air.
Hangry plans to partner with restaurants and other establishments to deliver their product. Users would then order food like they normally would. After ordering, the drone would take that delivery and fly it to a designated drop site for pickup.
"Customers come and simply scan a QR code and grab their food," Weeraman explained. "That way they can take however long they need, but their foods there, so we can just drop it off and go."
Hangry’s long-term goals for the food delivery industry are to alleviate high prices, long wait times and driver errors. While competition like Uber Eats, DoorDash, and other similar services take over the roads, Hangry saidi it plans to take to the skies.
"This is pretty amazing because a lot of the drone stuff is more or less not tapped yet," Adimi said.
"You're getting your food out and you know you're getting in a really cool way,”" Weeraman added.
Overall, food delivery has turned into an $82 billion industry, and market trends indicate it could double in the next five years.
Currently, Hangry is just getting off the ground. But the team hopes the novelty of a drone delivering food will let them tap into that market and be something everyone can get excited about.
"I was watching people look around me wondering, 'Why is he waiting there? What's going on?' Adimi said. "They see a drone fly and all go crazy about it. That's going to be the type of emotion that people feel when they actually get to use this.
"It puts a smile on everyone’s face seeing that because it’s unreal when you see it," Adimi added.
The company is currently working with other universities and businesses to get designated drop zones and deliveries going. Future plans include expanding into a full-blown delivery business with cars and bikes alongside their drones.