On-demand private chef startup Kitchit shuts down

Kitchit, the startup that brought chefs into your home to cook for you, is shutting down because “investment runways are finite, and unfortunately ours reached its end at a moment of substantial upheaval in the food-tech world,” Kitchit founders Brendan Marshall and Ian Ferguson wrote on the company’s site. Marshall and Ferguson detail the entire story of the company — from the “first bite” to the “bittersweet finale.” Here’s a key nugget:

Over the past few weeks alone, companies with substantial war chests have been shaken up. Instacart and Munchery, among others, have made substantial changes to their models to buoy their margins. Less capitalized peers have fared worse. Spoonrocket, Dinner Lab, and most recently Kitchensurfing, at times our closest rival, have all failed to garner sufficient investment to extend their work. Today Kitchit joins their ranks.

While Kitchit’s business fundamentals have always been strong, our scale has been too limited to outshine the tumult around us. So we close our doors with a mix of sadness for our customers, chefs, and employees on one hand, and on the other a recognition that our market is simply not ready to sustain a venture-scale business.

Reflecting upon where we are today, we have much to be proud of. After serving more than 100,000 diners, we have a net-promoter score of 87. Statistically, Kitchit ranks among the most trusted brands in the world. Personally, it means even more. It means that we fulfilled our founding desire to bring people together over food for truly memorable experiences. It means that our chefs honed their craft and pursued their ambitions on their own terms. And it means that our path to this point was lit by raucous laughter, full stomachs, and memories that will outlive this endeavor by many, many years.

Kitchit had previously raised $8.1 million, with the most recent round closing in December 2014. Since its launch in 2011, Kitchit had served 100,000 meals.

In the last several months, there have been a bevy of food startups experiencing rocky waters. SpoonRocket shut down its operations in March due to a lack of funding and Munchery recently lost its chief experience officer after only a few months. Earlier this month, Kitchit competitor Dinner Lab shut down after it couldn’t find a sustainable business model. Just one day later, Kitchit’s closest competitor, Kitchensurfing, shut down.

Here’s the email Kitchit sent to customers today:

After five years of cooking up great meals and even greater memories, Kitchit has closed.

We’re honored to have been invited into our customers’ homes, and we’re so proud of the many accomplishments of our team and our chefs. Just recently, we served our 100,000th meal. While we’re hungry for more, the realities of our business leave us no choice but to conclude this chapter.

Thank you to our customers, chefs, partners, and supporters for your love and appetite along the way.

For ongoing inquiries, please email support@kitchit.com