Next week we kick off the holiday season with Thanksgiving, which is the perfect excuse to gather and nosh with family or friends. But it can be time-consuming and anxiety-inducing for those doing the cooking. If you don’t have a ton of time or are just feeling a bit intimidated by it all, Din might have just the solution for you — as long as you live in Los Angeles or San Francisco.
For those unfamiliar, Din, previously Forage, is a California-based food delivery startup that partners with local chefs to deliver all the ingredients required for a restaurant-quality recipe direct to your doorstep.
“It was through cooking a restaurant dish at home that we got inspired to cook, like a restaurant,” says co-founder Emily Lafave. “But we realized that restaurants actually do all this prep work to be able to cook as fast as they can…We thought, what if we can empower the home cook to cook as quickly as a restaurant and with as much flavor? So what we do, is get you access to those recipes, but also the team of chefs behind you doing the prep work.”
Din caters to customers that don’t have a ton of time, might have ordered takeout, but want to cook at home and be more hands on with their food. On average, meals take 20 minutes to make – which raises the question how little cooking can you do and still have it be called cooking?
The major differentiator between Din and its highly successful competitors Hello Fresh or Blue Apron is they partner with chefs from top-rated restaurants in the area to offer the same recipes and quality, fresh ingredients you’d get if you went out to eat.
Din leverages courier APIs like Lyft, Uber and Postmates to pick up the pre-packaged perishables and deliver all the ingredients directly to your doorstep. The company’s focus on local sourcing and delivery helps reduce waste, as seen by their signature reusable tote.
For its inaugural party-planning menu, Din partnered with San Francisco chef, Thomas McNaughton, owner of Flour & Water, Aatxe, Central Kitchen, Salumeria and Cafe du Nord, to create a Thanksgiving-themed menu around dishes from his award-winning restaurants. You’ll find options like organic free-range heritage turkey, pumpkin sage risotto and toffee apple pie. The Thanksgiving menu also offers sommelier-selected wine pairings for $30 per bottle.
Din portioned out its menu for parties of six (or two with lots of leftovers). The minimum order cost is $60, which is easy to hit, and shipping is free. Roasted turkey with one side averages around $100, where as a proper feast is closer to $200. But again, that’s for six people. If potluck is more your style, you can get a double order of a single side or a side and a pie to reach the $60 minimum.
By contrast, buying a small organic or free range turkey uncooked for the same amount people, costs $60-100. Add a few sides and you’re looking at around $150 (not to mention four to six hours) to make everything from scratch. Beloved local SF market Bi-Rite, has its own Thanksgiving-made-easy kit for $175 that can be pre-ordered through Instacart for in-store pickup. So really what we’re learning here is Thanksgiving is crazy expensive.
It’s worth a mention that none of Din’s competitors –Blue Apron, Munchery or Hello Fresh — are offering promotional Thanksgiving packages. Even Gobble, despite its festive name, doesn’t have a meal plan for party hosts.
Din’s holiday pre-orders end tomorrow, so if you’re looking to impress in 30 minutes or less, you might want to go check it out sooner rather than later.
Update: Both Munchery and Gobble say they’re offering members-only Thanksgiving promotions.