Munchery delivers hot meals from personal chefs

Munchery Logo

Broadcast: Munchery gets you sumptous meals from gourmet chefs in no time. Headquarted in San Francisco, Munchery currently serves the city and will soon reach out to others. All food lovers get ready for the Munchery experience!

In conversation with Tri Tran, the CoFounder of Munchery

What is your idea and vision?

Personal chefs for the rest of us. That’s one way to describe Munchery’s vision. We feel that great tasting and healthy food, typically cooked by personal chefs, using local and sustainable ingredients, should be affordable and not be reserved for the affluent. Munchery chefs are local professionals who cook at certified commercial kitchens. We are out to democratize the personal chef experience.

What is your start-up story?

A couple of the CoFounders are dads. We are too busy to cook on a daily basis, but we also understand the importance of great nutrition and what it means to be a part of a vibrant community. We built Munchery to showcase these local chefs and their talent. We quickly found that there’s a demand for their food and we made it easy for consumers to order food and get it on the same day (without the typical big commitment required for having a personal chef).

For most of the first year, Munchery was self-funded. Near the end of 2011, we closed a seed round investment. A few notable investors include Lisa Gansky (investor of TaskRabbit and author of Mesh), Matt Mullenweg (WordPress founder), Tom Peterson (managing partner at El Dorado Ventures), and Spring Ventures (run by Sunil Paul and Nick Allen). This gives us capital to market ourselves and bring on our first full-time hire and expand business.

What is your target market? What is your revenue earning plan or model? How do you engage your users?

Our target customers are primarily busy people. They are used to having only 2 food options: cook at home or eat out/take out from a restaurant. We provide a 3rd option: get food prepared by a chef. Our business model is simple: we charge the chefs a fee for the service we provide to them.

So far, one of our biggest upticks in customer adoption comes from offering the ability to order today and get it the same night. Recently, with increased demand, we are able to lower the per meal price. This allows our chef prepared meals to reach a much larger audience.

“Word of mouth referrals are still king. We give our customers rewards when referring friends. Friends also get a discount off their first order.”

Another quickly growing side of the business for us is to enable chefs to cater food to offices. There’s a strong demand for healthy and delicious food in the work place, and we are helping our chefs capture this market effectively.

Team is the bloodline of a startup. What’s your take?

The 3 CoFounders are all techies. We have combined experience of 25 years of software engineering and design experience. Conrad graduated from Cal and Academy of Arts, and lead design teams at GetActive/Convio and Ask. Tri (me) graduated from MIT and recently lead engineering teams at GetActive/Convio. Van graduated from DePaul recently, and decided to cofound Munchery after dabbling in a few other startups.

We feel that the intersection between food and technology is exciting (and sorely lacking at the same time) and we aim to improve the situation.

Any ideas you want to share from your startup briefcase?

We have done other side projects before, but have only read about the up and down nature of a startup. Now we get to experience it first hand. We also are not afraid to try new things and change direction when necessary (“pivot” is the buzzword nowadays). We subscribe to the concept that it’s better to fail fast.

Fun @ Work

Our office is right down the hall from the commercial kitchen where many of our chefs cook at. It’s full of drama, just like what you see on food-related TV shows! Perhaps we can make a reality TV program out of it one day.

Any new releases or coming up?

A new iPhone app is in the works. Other platforms soon to follow of course. A big recent announcement is our big move to reduce meal price and pass that to our customers: Another Pricing Update, and a Request

How do you think Munchery is adding value to the startup eco-system?

We are proud that Munchery supports a local community of chefs. Because these chefs prefer to use locally available ingredients, they in turn support the local farming community and reduce their carbon footprint. These great chefs are often undervalued – we are out to change that.

At the end of the day, our valued customers are the ones who truly support us while we support them with daily food needs. We greatly appreciate the early adopters and offer thanks to those who always believe in us and our mission.

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