Awesome Ideas · Ecommerce (food)

Food startup looking for honest feedback!

Ashley Soo Founder

June 26th, 2020

An ecomm marketplace that provides ready to cook meal kits based on recipes from top chefs and Michelin starred restaurants from around the world or even just the restaurant down the street whose signature recipe you'd like to recreate at home.

Agassi Nakhapetian

June 26th, 2020

Crowded space. Besides the risk of loosing to tough, well-financed competition-not sure if the game is worth it. Its a business that doesnt scale easily but is based on tangibles: rent, labor, inventory, daily execution. If you are determined though, and found investors-look for any way to automate, streamline, outsource components from get go. Also, dont test the meals/packaging/service on friends. Test on strangers. I think its about emotion, not recipes. I would focus on the CX, packaging, branding etc.

Shuang Li Director of Operations, Business Analyst

June 26th, 2020

Hi Ashley,

Agree with some of the suggestions Agassi mentioned here. a few questions you may want to consider when drawing out your detailed plan:

1. Will you be using the chef’s or the restaurant’s names on your product or marketing material?

2. do you want to provide a niche market(e.g. a certain dessert kit) or a broad range of dishes?

3. the sourcing, storing and logistics—assuming some of the ingredients would be perishable?

all the best wishes!


David M

June 28th, 2020

Honestly, I cook my own meals and for the most part I am a better cook than 95% of food I eat out. While I can cook diverse menus, I have one family owned restaurant for various ethnic foods...where its like...Hey this is an italian family I can't cook it any better so I will eat there...or sushi. I mean I can take a 25 dollar filet from omaha steaks and cook it to a better result than the same filet at Sparks in NYC that would cost why eat out? The biggest issue I have is quality supply. I don't know the world you are dealing in, but what I have heard from friends of mine is that they don't know how to cook. Its kind of one of those things where I think "are you kidding...its not difficult." BUT, I suppose there is practice and technique. I never measure...don't need a timer. But I have done it enough that I have a sense for how heat, seasoning, timing plays into it. I say ALL of that not to brag but to say differentiate. Make the person who buys feel that they are truly the chef, not just buying a ready to cook meal...maybe have brief instructional/inspirational downloadable videos with each app...uploadable pics for contests...If all this already exists then just ignore. But basically make it about an entertaining experience, because the people who just want the meal already cooked for them will just go out to eat. My interpretation is that if someone orders a meal kit, that they at least have some desire to cook themselves. Pic the winner of each meal series video contest to be uploaded onto your main website for all to see. My sister in law gave me a cooking class for my birthday one was to cook a Brazilian style steak. It was fun...but what I is sad all the people who cant cook a crepe. Seriously its basically a thin pancake...and people of all ages..20-60 women and men...were burning it....tearing was mind boggling. BUT everyone wanted to be seen as being ABLE and good at it. No one wants to be seen as cooking a lousy meal. Guys want to impress women and women want to impress guys. Maybe play into the dating side of it...look at the success of online dating apps. Maybe partner with one of them. Its real easy to tell someone you are in a crowded space...highly unlikely to be successful. You can literally do that for just about every startup venture out there. So rather, figure out how to do it different and better...and nothing wrong with re inventing the wheel if the opportunity presents dont get stuck in the myopic advice of you dont have to reinvent the you don't but often you can.

Greg Buechler Sr Talent Acquisition: 925-487-9739

June 28th, 2020

I am a 'very good' home cook. I use the best fresh, organic, free-range, etc. I can get from my local grocery stores (via Instacart in the CV-19 age). I can do a number of American regional cuisines, Mexican, Argentine, Mediterranean, touch a bit on French (those sauces kill me), and even a bit of Asian inspired.

When you say Michelin starred, that is a level that even given the exact same ingredients, all the videos I can watch, step by step - I won't come close. Any food critic would roast me alive.

All local restaurants have prep cooks, they make sauces by the quarts ahead of time, they have roux by the pounds available, etc. They have the timing, techniques, products, and timing all available to come together like a symphony. Home cooks - not wanting to spend six hours making one meal, just can't do it.

With that said - How you reduce things to a manageable amount of time and get to 80% of that same taste could be interesting and would probably require a LOT of premade/almost complete components (this sounds expensive to me).

As a family of five (all adults), this might be something I'd use once a month or so, but for every day it sounds cost prohibitive

Dane Madsen Organizational and Operational Strategy Consultant

June 30th, 2020

The most cost effective geo would be high-density area like Manhattan. The bad news (having lived there for several years) is that people who 1) can afford such services, and 2) live in such areas do not prefer to cook. They prefer restaurants. In fact, our kitchens are so small and poorly equipped they are nearly decorative. [Note: I love to cook and had a massive chef's kitchen in a prior home - cooking like the "top chef's is for a person that loves to cook and has the facilities.]

While this may have some appeal, the time to get traction is long with many "pioneers" already in place with supply chains. They could pivot/add this service easily. During a pandemic, this might have a nice, but once a vaccine is widely available, we will all be back to the restaurants.

Lucas GM For a good business model I have developers, management and resources

July 3rd, 2020

Budget to acquire users / clients is key in this. Not undersizing that would be recommended. Greetings

Rich Cleeve CEO of Codestream, helping startups build great products

Last updated on July 6th, 2020

There's a high end restaurant here in Singapore that started doing meal kits to help their revenue through the COVID lockdown, and they've continued since the lockdown was lifted as it proved quite popular. I have friends that love them.

To get round the complexity of the dishes issue that a few replies have mentioned, most of it, and especially the sauces, is precooked and vacuum sealed to be heated up in hot water, with the meat to be pan fried or whatever method they suggest. They include instructions on how to plate it nicely.

Based on that I think there would be demand for it. Might be worth picking one of the restaurants you like to help you with a proof of concept.