While the combined GrubHub-Seamless entity just filed for an IPO last week, there are a bunch of next-generation food and catering startups that are aiming to fix meal delivery.
Chewse is focusing on the enterprise market. They handle one-click catering for offices throughout Los Angeles and San Francisco. Their meal ordering platform lets office managers quickly pick and pay for meals for an entire company of people, whether they are paleo, vegan, lactose intolerant, or you know, allergic to lima beans.
Started by Tracy Lawrence out of her dorm room at USC, the company has grown recurring revenue by tenfold in the last six months. They just passed 50,000 meals and are growing 50 percent month-over-month. The whole meal delivery space has become increasingly competitive in recent months with direct-to-consumer models like Munchery and DoorDash. But Chewse is specifically focused on the business-to-business space.
A lifelong foodie, Lawrence got the idea after working as an event planner in college. She saw how difficult it was to coordinate payments, people’s meal preferences and pick-up for large groups of people. It helped that she caught the entrepreneurial bug from her parents, who also ran their own business.
Lawrence says even though the Grubhub-Seamless IPO is getting a lot of attention, the company only has 0.8 percent of the $43 billion catering market. (The company made a confidential filing, so we don’t know their actual revenue figures for 2013.)
“There’s an insanely large market for growth,” she said, adding that Grubhub-Seamless will get distracted by the process of going public.
Chewse has been working on a model to scale remotely, so they can add new markets without having people on the ground. They grew Los Angeles, with a full-time team based in San Francisco, and currently service companies like Activision, DocVacay and others down there.
They face a number of competitors with different models. The Grubhub-Seamless approach is to partner with restaurants who use the service as lead generation even though they have to deal with the cost of delivery.
Meanwhile, Postmates, which isn’t explicitly for meals, is actually mostly in the food space. They make anything available on demand and they don’t need to directly partner with restaurants because they catalogue restaurant menus on their own.
Then there is a hybrid model with companies like Caviar. They partner with restaurants and provide logistics and delivery for them while taking a cut of sales.
Then the last model is more verticalized. Direct-to-consumer companies like Spoonrocket, Sprig and Munchery have a limited daily menu and bypass the need for a ton of restaurant partnerships. They make money by pushing a larger volume of one or two dishes, which are generally pre-prepared.