Queen’s student launches app to buy & sell home-cooked meals

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Kouzina gives users a break from frozen and fast food

The Kouzina app.
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After eating frozen food constantly during his undergrad, Nick Amaral finally got fed up. From his frustration, Kouzina was born — an app that allows users to buy and sell home-cooked meals. 

“Living in Kingston, it’s kind of difficult to get home-cooked meals and so we have very few options,” Amaral, ArtSci ’17 told The Journal. “After days of too much frozen food it just kind of hit me – people could be cooking home-cooked foods in the neighborhood and you can just buy a meal off of them.”

The app’s name “Kouzina” comes from the Greek word for kitchen, which was derived from Amaral’s half Greek, half Portuguese background. 

Though Amaral originally had the idea for the app last year, he only began working on Kouzina this summer. Since its launch on August 16, the app has connected over 100 chefs and customers. In the last week alone, Kouzina has doubled in users.

As a current student, Amaral has to balance running Kouzina with his schoolwork.

“It’s a balance, I guess, you just go to class, get your work done on time, you just have to use your time more wisely I think,” Amaral said. “Instead of lounging around and going through Facebook and YouTube, use those 15 minutes every hour, every two hours, and you put them together and you get an extra two hours in your day to do work.”

Amaral said starting an app isn’t as glorious as it seems to be.

“I don’t think a lot of people realize how much work you really have to put into it if you don’t have the resources – you need money, you need to make up for all of that with your own work and time,” Amaral said. “I don’t want to be like ‘it’s impossible and no one can do it’, but it is a commitment.”

Kouzina first launched in Toronto and the GTA to capitalize on the dense populations of both areas. Since there’s no delivery service, it made sense that it would be in a place where people are more concentrated. According to Amaral, this allowed for food pick-up to be made more easily.

What is next for Amaral and Kouzina? Expansion.

“Since CBC wrote an article I have gotten a lot of messages with people asking me when it is going to be in their town, so that is something to be excited about,” Amaral said. “I have gotten expressed interest to expand to university towns which was always part of the plan, but people are asking for it now so I might as well give them what they want.”

The app will be launching in Kingston next week and Amaral is looking to collaborate with companies like Uber Eats and Skip the Dishes to organize delivery services.

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