It’s not like there’s a shortage of lunch options for corporate employees, but that’s not stopping on-demand food startup Munchery from testing its luck with corporate lunch delivery. Today, Munchery will start delivering lunch to office employees in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle and New York. This is an extension of Munchery’s @Work initiative, which already delivers dinner to over 50 companies.
As on-demand companies have started to struggle, including Munchery, the company has been trying out different approaches the food market in the last year or so. Last October, Munchery started delivering meal recipes and ingredients for people who want to cook. Then in April, Munchery launched an $8.95 a month subscription plan for people who order several times a month. Unlike Munchery’s core consumer offering, most of Munchery’s lunch meals will be ready to eat, Munchery CEO Tri Tran (pictured above) told me.
“We will have a mix of both foods that are ready to eat and items that could use heating up,” Tran said.
As I previously mentioned, tech companies have been tackling corporate lunch for a while. That includes startups like ZeroCater and Zesty, which TechCrunch’s uses for lunch on Tuesdays and Thursdays. What makes Munchery’s offering from the rest, Tran says, is the absence of aluminum trays and the addition of choice.
With Zesty, for example, the pre-selected food shows up usually around 11:45am in a few aluminum trays. You have no say over what you’re going to eat that day, so you just have to hope it’s good and that you’re not allergic to it. Oh, and if your co-workers are vultures, it’ll all be gone by the time you get out of your meeting.
With Munchery, employees can select what they want to eat for lunch the night before. Or, an office manager can place an order on behalf of a few people or on behalf of everyone. Unlike Zesty, all of the food is individually packaged.
“Unlike restaurant catering, that portion you ordered will still be there for you,” Tran said.
The default membership enables employers to order once a month, but the offering is flexible, Tran said. Munchery has been testing the program since April with a handful of beta customers. On average, employers are ordering lunch for their employees once a week.
“We will be satisfied if an office gets us on average once a week,” Tran said.