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New York gourmet ‘dinner kit’ e‑commerce startup Plated expands to San Francisco

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.

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