Restaurant recipes

Munchery meal kits promise restaurant recipes in under 15 minutes

What could be better than a fine prepared meal that arrives at your doorstep? Make it yourself in just 15 minutes, according to Munchery, a San Francisco-based food delivery company.

Although the four-year-old startup does a great job of delivering prepared meals to its customers, it has found that people sometimes want to cook for themselves too. But many do not know or do not have time to work in the kitchen for hours. So on Tuesday, Munchery will launch a handful of do-it-yourself meal kits.

“When we talk to customers and say, ‘Hey, on nights you’re not ordering Munchery or takeout, what do you do?’ 75% of them say ‘I cook,'” said Munchery co-founder and CEO Tri Tran. Fortune.

For the first set of kits, Munchery partnered with The Slanted Door, a well-known upscale Vietnamese restaurant in San Francisco founded by chef Charles Phan, who moved to the city as a teenager. Unbeknownst to most San Franciscans, restaurants have already sold kits based on some of his well-known dishes at his Ferry Building location. When Munchery first started toying with the idea of ​​meal kits, Phan was a natural first partner, said Pascal Rigo, director of customer experience for Munchery, which founded Starbucks bakery chain La Boulange. Fortune.

“Fortunately for me, they didn’t call me last, they called me first,” Phan said. “We’re on the same plane,” he added of the two companies’ joint idea of ​​selling kits. For Phan, the Munchery partnership is also a way to get his food to more people, especially those who can’t come to his restaurant.

The first range of meal kit options includes five Slanted Door-inspired dishes, plus two dessert options based on La Boulange’s own recipes. The kits cost between $18 and $24, depending on the dish, and contain two servings.

Although meal delivery startups like Munchery, Caviar, Sprig, Postmates and Doordash, to name a few, have dominated the conversation around hassle-free food delivery, meal kits have also started to grow. draw attention. Companies like Blue Apron, Plated, and HelloFresh sell the promise of all the benefits of cooking from scratch, minus the hassle of finding recipes and buying ingredients. They ship customers boxes with recipes and all the ingredients, in the right quantities, needed to prepare them.

While Munchery’s kits aim to mitigate those same downsides, there are a few small differences. On the one hand, there is no obligation to subscribe. Unlike companies like Blue Apron and Plated, which in fairness allow customers to skip scheduled deliveries whenever they want, Munchery’s kits are ordered on an individual basis. They can combine them with Munchery’s prepared meals, like ordering a kit for the main dish and fully prepared sides, for example. Currently, customers in San Francisco can order kits with just 30 minutes’ notice, while customers in the company’s other markets (Seattle, Los Angeles and New York) must order by 2 p.m. for a same day delivery. Delivery charges are the same as Munchery’s prepared meals: $4.50 for short-notice delivery and $2.95 for pre-scheduled deliveries.

Another difference is that the ingredients in Munchery’s kits are a bit more prepared than those in Blue Apron or Plated. The Shaking Beef kit contained pre-cooked rice, and the beef and vegetables were already chopped. The chocolate fondant recipe cake was already baked and the strawberry syrup premade. Rather, they’re more like those from startup Din, formerly called Forage, which also offers easy-to-assemble recipes inspired by restaurants like San Francisco’s Tacolicious. The approach also reminds me of my own grocery shopping, which often involves buying partially prepared or frozen items that I can quickly combine with fresh meat or vegetables, not exactly cooking from scratch.

But that may just be the first step to cooking up some of Munchery’s customer needs. For Rigo, these kits could be the confidence boost they need to start exploring the kitchen.

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