Hardworking e‑commerce managers – anyone with a demanding day-job, in fact – will share something in common with the co-founders of New York startup Plated. You might have liked cooking the evening meal with your friends as graduate students but the whole idea of prepping ingredients and cooking a meal after a hard day’s grind just isn’t appetizing. A measure of Plated’s success in solving this problem has just emerged: it’s announced plans to expand into San Francisco.
Cooking without labor
For those who want to cook nutritious, delicious food but find themselves wearily reaching for the frozen meal or the take-out, Plated delivers ready-prepared, meticulously proportioned gourmet ingredients – cut, measured, and chilled — in cooled boxes (“dinner kits”) to your door, along with step-by-step recipes. All you have to do is cook them. Pan-seared chicken with mushroom sauce and blackened shrimp tacos with grilled Mexican corn – two of Plated’s current offerings – aren’t only more tempting than pizza or hamburger and fries, they’re a lot better for you. If you’re an e‑commerce manager fighting an expanding post-college waistline, you’ll probably agree without much of a fight.
Restaurant food at home
The company, co-founded by 28-year old Harvard graduate and former Marine Nick Taranto and his fellow Harvard alum, 31-year-old Josh Hix, ensures that consumer savings can be made by minimizing waste. Because the ingredients are all carefully measured, there’s no need to go out and buy a jar of curry paste when only a spoonful or two is needed for the recipe. $10 — $15 may seem above average for a home-cooked meal, but the true comparison, the company believes, is with restaurant food, not take-out or other competitors in the niche: these are premium quality gourmet meals designed to be healthy as well as delicious.
Seasoned e‑commerce managers will know that a measure of a startup’s potential is the amount of seed funding it has raised; and Plated comes out of that measure strongly, having raised $1.4 million in May this year in a round led by Venture Capital. It’s also attempting to distinguish itself from more established competitors like Blue Apron by offering gluten-free options as well as, shortly, vegetarian choices.
If you’re an e‑commerce manager living in SF, you no longer have to visit New York to give Plated a try.