London-based City Pantry, which operates an office catering platform to make it easier to order in food for staff and company meetings, has raised £1.1 million in new funding. The investment comes from Angel Co Fund, and The London Co Investment fund (both of which are part-funded by tax-payer money), and various angels and existing investors.
A graduate of retail startup accelerator TrueStart, City Pantry says it will use the injection of cash to consolidate its strong position in London and to expand to other cities, both in the U.K. and elsewhere in Europe. It also plans to invest in sales, marketing and engineering.
In a call, the startup’s founder and CEO Stuart Sunderland told me that competitors to City Pantry include traditional corporate caterers, sandwich retailers, pizza delivery places, and to a lesser extent, the newer breed of restaurant delivery companies such as Deliveroo and Uber’s UberEATs.
In terms of direct competitors operating a similar office catering platform/marketplace, there’s also Rocket Internet’s CaterWings. However, Sunderland says he’s barely noticed any impact on City Pantry since CaterWings opened its doors in London. And besides, he says, the corporate or events-based catering market is huge. Specifically, he cites estimates that the European catering market is worth £48 billion alone.
To that end, City Pantry currently offers two products: a simple per event ordering system for one-off catering, and a “meal plan” subscription service for office managers who have to organise regular staff meetings and company events where food is to be provided.
The food itself is prepared by the catering companies — including independent chefs, restaurants, and street-food vendors — that City Pantry partners with, while the startup itself organises delivery. Sunderland says that the average group size City Pantry is asked to cater for is 34 people.
And should Deliveroo et al. begin to eat more of the corporate catering lunch, City Pantry could always expand into other group catering markets, such as parties or other recreational and social events. Just like office food, its order-ahead-of-time, rather than on-demand delivery, is well suited.