How Munchery Created the Perfect Recipe for Startup Success
Elisabeth Brier and Mike Blank

Amongst life’s many simple pleasures from sleeping to laughing to Netflix and beyond, eating is by far the best.

Yet all too often this “simple” pleasure actually becomes quite a debacle. Cooking can be a hassle, and delivery services are either alarmingly expensive, or worse, just plain gross.

Munchery, however is aiming to change this.

Founded in 2010, Munchery is an online food ordering and meal delivery service that is both reasonably priced and delicious.

Mike Blank, the company’s East Coast General Manager explains how Munchery has been able to rise above the noise, and emphasizes what it takes to thrive in an increasingly saturated market.

How does the modern prevalence and familiarity with on demand apps from Uber, Postmates etc function to bolster your own on-demand food delivery system?

Munchery is unique in the market. Our business model is often conflated with on-demand food providers and other types of food delivery offerings. To clarify, Munchery is not in the on-demand food business. We offer same-day or ‘schedule-ahead’ delivery, depending on the customer’s location and the time at which they place their order. Same-day deliveries should be ordered before cut-off times, which again vary by location. Prepared meals are made by our chefs, chilled to preserve freshness, then delivered within hours of preparation to customers, who simply heat (if applicable) and eat. Overall, our cook-and-chill approach is a much higher quality experience on all levels - taste, delivery, service and value.

In regards to other on demand food delivery apps, how does Munchery rise above the noise in terms of its tech?

In the food delivery business, food quality plus delivery efficiency are the most important aspects.

In terms of food quality, Munchery is distinctive for several reasons. First, all of our meals are made by trained chefs with classical culinary training – just like the chefs at any notable restaurant. Customers tell us repeatedly how wowed they are by the taste of our food. Additionally, several months ago, we launched a new food vision, driven by our new CEO, James Beriker. Our new food vision has driven the transformation of menu offerings – from sourcing to ingredients. Our menu is now 100% all natural, and we source ingredients from local producers and farmers. Increasingly, we are moving towards all organic, as well.

Munchery’s delivery efficiency is driven by the combination of our schedule-ahead model, as well as technology. The schedule-ahead model enables us to batch orders so that we can achieve many deliveries in a single hour from one courier. On-demand services often send couriers point to point, which means that single deliveries can often take an hour or more. That’s food delivery services like Eat24 and GrubHub charge hefty sums for delivery.

On the technology side, we use special tracking software to keep track of every order so we can easily locate and see where specific orders are in their journey to the customer. This allows us to minimize order errors and lost deliveries.

What about the food itself? How is it different and how does Munchery successfully convey via it's the best option?

Munchery’s food also stands apart from other food delivery services. First, we produce all the food in-house fresh every day. Our award-winning chefs prepare more than just healthy meals, but also create delicious desserts and appetizers. We have a daily rotating menu that provides a wide range of cuisines and is responsive to seasonality, customer preferences and feedback. Second, our food is fully cooked and then chilled for delivery. Items like salads and sushi are ready to eat. Other dishes can be reheated in a few minutes at home. Chilling the food preserves its freshness and allows us to deliver throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn, Long Island City, Westchester, New Jersey and Long Island from one single production facility.

As described above, we have also transformed our ingredient sourcing and standards: we buy from local producers and farmers, and we only cook with all-natural ingredients. Increasingly, we are moving towards an all-organic menu.

Platforms like Seamless, Postmates and Uber EATS deliver food from restaurants. There’s no control over food quality. Even companies that produce their own food can’t compete with our quality. Delivering hot food is problematic, whether you cook it yourself or provide delivery for others. To keep proteins from breaking down, restaurants and hot meal delivery services use a ton of oil to preserve freshness, which is unhealthy. Our chilled format preserves the freshness of the food without dousing it in grease. Not to mention, we all know that “hot” food ends up arriving lukewarm and in disorder.

Are there other value propositions that allow Munchery to stand apart from the plethora of competitors?

Our customer service is best in class. We have an outstanding in-house team of friendly and helpful professionals, who truly care about our customers and their experience - and do whatever it takes to address any issues that come up.

Munchery is also about quality and freshness, which is evident in the taste of our food. Everything is chef-crafted and made with the freshest ingredients on the day of delivery.

What would you advise budding entrepreneurs who are struggling to stand out within a saturated market?

Identify the one thing that differentiates you from your competitors, and own it. We constantly look for ways to communicate our position in the market. Munchery’s goal is to put our chilled format front and center in every single communication we make. The chilled format is what enables us to deliver the best possible product (highest quality food) and best possible service (timely delivery reaching far and wide markets). And it’s truly what sets us apart from other offerings.

Any new innovations we can expect to see from Munchery in the near future?

We just announced a major expansion in three regions--DC metro area, Seattle suburbs and new areas of Southern California. Munchery is now available in over 1,000 cities across the U.S. in a total of 25 million households.

We have two big product launches on the roadmap. At long last, we will be launching lunch in Manhattan in April. It will include a whole new menu, customized for lunch: salads, grain bowls and sushi, all served chilled and ready to eat without reheating. We have opened the service to a limited group of VIP customers, and have received overwhelmingly positive feedback on it. We can’t wait to launch it publicly.

Soon we will also be bringing our plaid-box cooking kit product to the East Coast. More details to come on that...