After years of planning and a newly raised $28 million, Munchery will finally open its doors in Seattle--its first market outside the Bay Area. The startup, which prepares and delivers healthy meals to customers' doors, on Tuesday launched in the Emerald City. In addition, it will begin offering on-demand dinner service in select San Francisco neighborhoods and in downtown Seattle.
Cofounder Tri Tran said the San Francisco-based company spent the first three years focused on food quality and refining its model, which required customers to place their orders in advance and schedule their deliveries for a one-hour window in the evening. "Now we're turning our attention back to convenience for customers," he told Fast Company.
Unlike Sprig or SpoonRocket, direct competitors in the Bay Area that offer two to three options for lunch or dinner, Munchery's on-demand service, available from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., will feature a larger menu. At launch, Seattle will have about 10 to 15 options that are available on-demand or for scheduled delivery, and San Francisco residents in select neighborhoods--the Mission, Castro, Bernal Heights, and Haight Ashbury--near its kitchen facility can order from its menu of more than 20 items a day. The prepared meals arrive chilled, which customers finish off in the oven or microwave.
In a three-week pilot run in Seattle, Munchery has delivered "hundreds of meals a day," Tran noted. Excluding drivers, it has 15 people on the ground led by renowned local chef Emily Moore. Its sign-up list already has "thousands" of people waiting for its launch.
Officially, Munchery says its meals will be delivered within 20 to 40 minutes--a longer wait time than what its competitors advertise--but Tran anticipates the actual delivery time to be lower. "We don't want to set false expectations, obviously," he said, noting the app will show expected time of arrival even before a customer places an order.
Delivering chilled meals also facilitates faster operations, he added. "We're not like a Chinese restaurant where not until an order comes in do we start cooking," he said. That said, the company isn't ruling out hot meals entirely, a major distinction of Sprig and SpoonRocket. But for now, Munchery already has a full plate.
[Images courtesy of Munchery]