Sodexo, a French publicly listed food services and facilities management company, has acquired a majority stake in Paris-based online restaurant and food delivery startup FoodChéri. Terms of the deal remain undisclosed, though François Paulus of Breega Capital, which backed the company’s €6 million Series A, tells me he is “happy with the return”.
Founded in 2015 and operating an online only restaurant along the lines of EatFirst in the U.K. or Munchery’s original model in the U.S., FoodChéri lets you order fresh chef-prepared meals that are chilled and ready to reheat and consume upon delivery.
It’s a model that avoids some of the pitfalls faced by restaurant delivery services, such as UberEATs and Deliveroo, in that orders can be pooled for delivery as food doesn’t need to be delivered hot.
In terms of customer base, FoodChéri targets both individuals and, increasingly, companies who don’t have their own kitchens but want to provide meals for employees. This is where Sodexo’s acquisition fits in.
“Sodexo [is a] world leader in corporate catering and will help FoodChéri consolidate its positioning as a virtual cafeteria/canteen for small and medium-sized businesses,” FoodChéri co-founder and CEO Patrick Asdaghi says. The SME market is currently one that players like Sodexo don’t currently address with their “physical” on-site model.
Investment from Sodexo will also be used to help FoodChéri expand nationally beyond Paris and its surrounding suburbs over the next two years. With 70 staff, the startup currently delivers over 12,000 fresh meals prepared by its professional chefs every week, including serving 200 businesses.
In addition, it plans to invest in a new 20,000 square foot production facility. I’m also told that post-acquisition FoodChéri will continue to be run autonomously by the startup’s co-founders.