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The food delivery space has become incredibly crowded in recent years, even as some companies have begun to fail. Just trying to list all of the companies who have raised funding would be a fool's errand.
One of the few that has been able to rise above the noise is Munchery. The company is now using that leverage to enter into new areas of the food delivery space. On Thursday, the company announced the launch of a new corporate lunch initiative.
Part of its Munchery@Work program, it allows employees and companies in Munchery's four core markets, which are San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle and New York, to place individualized lunchtime orders through a company account.
Companies interested in participating in the corporate program can learn more about how Munchery can best meet their corporate needs by visiting munchery.com/corporate. A Munchery representative will help get the company set up with a corporate account and then an administrator or individual employees can place orders.
To start, orders will need to be placed by midnight the night before delivery, to arrive in all together in time for lunch the next day. Similar to the company's dinner offering, the lunch meals will be delivered by Munchery drivers. Entreés will range between $7 to $10, but there is an option for companies to add a credit to their employees accounts, which is applied at checkout.
While the lunches will be delivered all at once, they will be ready to eat at each individual's convenience because, as we all know, employees don't all eat lunch at once.
"Munchery’s mission is to make real food accessible to everyone, everywhere and we knew that in order to make this a reality, we had to make our meals accessible more than just during dinner. We’ve actually had a corporate dinner program through Munchery@Work across our four core markets for several years now, and based on feedback from our customers we knew that corporate lunch was another opportunity to improve the office dining experience," Tri Tran, CEO and Co-Founder of Munchery, told me.
The new corporate lunch service will be in addition to the company's two existing offerings, which include its subscription-based membership, which was introduced earlier this year, and its cooking-kit line.
Munchery members pay $85 a year, or $8.95 per month, while dinners start at $7.95 each. The food arrives chilled, so all the user has to do is heat it up. Some areas offer on-demand delivery, and others only offer same-day delivery or users can schedule dinner delivery up to a week in advance.
For those not in the membership area, Munchery also offers a a weekly shipment of its cooking kits, which includes recipes and ingredients, which the user has to cook themselves.
Tran told me that the main thing different about the new offering is the time of day it is being offered.
"This is the same beloved Munchery menu now offered at a different time of the day. We have specifically designed the Munchery menu to be appetizing and suitable for both lunch and dinner – so if you’re ordering an extra, or you have leftovers, the meal carries over well. This program is differentiated from Munchery’s current dinner offering, as it is designed for an office or corporate environment, rather than the home," he said.
"Once a company has signed up for a Munchery@Work account, an admin or individual employees can order the food they want, and then eat it on their schedule. This group-ordering feature allows us to easily deliver multiple meals within a specific, more narrow window of time and ultimately optimize the customer experience."
While lunch is an entirely new time of day for Munchery, Tran told me that the company has been beta testing this program for several months with a few companies in its San Francisco market and that "the response has been very positive."
"This corporate lunch program marks Munchery’s first entry into the lunch market, and indicates the importance of growing smart, scaling quality, and ensuring the highest quality customer experience. At Munchery, we pride ourselves on putting the customer and high quality food first, and believe this corporate program is a step towards making real food accessible to everyone, everywhere," he said.
"At Munchery, we also donate a meal to the local food shelter for every meal purchased, and this is something we’re continuing to do with the corporate lunch program."
Munchery has raised over $120 million, including an $85 million round in 2015, at a $300 million valuation.
The food delivery space
There's a lot of competition in the food delivery space.
Currently, there are 39 US-based private companies that have raised $5 million or more in funding since 2011, according to CB Insights, including Blue Apron, Instacart, Plated, and Caviar, which was bought by Square in 2014.
Only a few days before that, news broke that Ola Cabs (Uber’s primary competitor in India) said it was shutting down Ola Café and Ola Store, its two food delivery apps that launched a year before as experiments.
On-demand private chef startup Kitchit shut down in April, as did Kitchensurfing, an on-demand chef service.
There are also a number companies doing lunch delivery, including Eat Club and Zesty. What separates Munchery is how it delivers those meals.
"The traditional corporate lunch delivery meal usually involves catering, metal disposable trays, and fake heating. Lunch arrives, the horde descends, and if you’re late to lunch, what little food is left can be soggy, cold, or not within your dietary restrictions. Unlike other corporate lunch delivery services, Munchery’s lunch program allows for mass personalization and convenience in ordering food. All our meals are delivered ready to eat, while others are crafted specifically to be reheated to avoid lukewarm temperatures or mushiness," said Tran.
"We have over 40 items on our menu to choose from including entrees, sides and desserts, and we are able to cater to a number of different taste preferences and dietary restrictions. Beyond our differentiated lunch product, Munchery itself is different from traditional meal delivery services, as a fully-integrated food company, rather than a platform or service for restaurant food to be delivered."