Y Combinator-backed SpoonRocket was built to fundamentally change the way we think about food. More than just another food-delivery service, the company seeks to provide ultra-cheap gourmet meals that can be delivered within minutes of ordering them. By doing so, it’s providing an alternative to fast food and even cooking at home.
Today that vision is being realized in the East Bay, where SpoonRocket has been making deliveries from Berkeley to Emeryville. The startup has two food options available each day — one for vegetarians and one for meat eaters — but both of which cost just $6 each.
At that price point, it’s almost more affordable to order a meal from SpoonRocket than it is to cook on one’s own, and it’s certainly more affordable than ordering out from most other restaurants. It even beats the price of fast food restaurants — and they don’t deliver.
So what’s the secret to SpoonRocket’s ability to make these dishes available so fast and so cheap? One piece is its ability to make healthy meals in bulk and limit the selection to just two different meals per day. That drastically reduces the complexity around orders and deliveries.
To create those meals, they hired executive chef David B. Cramer who joined the team after heading up restaurants in Napa and Yountville. With Cramer as its chef, the startup works to make its meals from fresh, healthy ingredients that are an alternative to the overly processed foods at fast food restaurants.
As for the key to making deliveries fast — SpoonRocket co-founder Anson Tsui says that its average delivery time is about 10 minutes currently. Part of that speed comes from delivering within a limited area now in Berkeley and Emeryville, and from asking its customers to pick up their food with curbside delivery.
But part of it also comes from outfitting its delivery vehicles with heating units, ensuring that food is fresh and ready when it’s dropped off. Putting those units in the cars themselves makes it so that the cars don’t have to make round trips between a restaurant and customer every time someone places an order — all of which massively decreases delivery time and the volume that SpoonRocket can push.
It also makes it easier for the startup to scale into new markets. Tsui imagines a world in which meals can be shipped refrigerated and made available by any driver who has a heating unit installed in his car. With that in mind, SpoonRocket plans to expand soon to San Francisco and Silicon Valley, and it could quickly find itself in other markets, as well.