Lifestyle

What’s for dinner? Munchery delivers chef-made meals to your door

Salivating yet?

Above: Salivating yet?

Image Credit: Munchery

It’s Tuesday night, and you are going to eat one of those Trader Joe’s microwave meals when you could be savoring grilled five-spice skirt steak or roasted chicken with pistou sauce.

What’s wrong with you? Life is too short to eat bad food.

Perhaps you are not familiar with Munchery.

The popular startup underwent something of a makeover and debuted its new and improved self to the world today.

“About five months ago, Munchery was at a bit of a crossroads, weighing options from expanding into artisanal groceries, to lunches, to meal kits,” director of marketing Michael Schaecher told VentureBeat. “But we decided to double down on our core goal of reinventing the weeknight dinner. This is basically Munchery 2.0, with upgrades and new services that make it even easier for busy people to put high-quality dinners on the table.”

“What’s for dinner?” is an eternal and perpetual question. Buying and preparing food is time-consuming, and while restaurants and takeout are nice on occasion, the costs and calories rack up.

Munchery is a great way for people who are busy to get a “home-cooked” meal and/or who don’t have the time, energy, or motivation to cook their own dinner,

Every day, Munchery features newly designed menus from local chefs. Each dish has a profile of sorts, listing the ingredients, any dietary restrictions, the cost, the background of the chef, and heating/preparation instructions.

The prices are mostly between $10 and $15 for a meal. Once you have made your selection, you place the order, and the meal is delivered to you when and where you want it.

The redesigned site features bigger pictures and more filters. Diners now have the option to buy beverages, including beer and wine, and choose from kids menus.

Munchery also released native apps for iPhones and iPads today.

Another new focus for the startup is sustainability. Its new trays are compostable and biodegradable, and Munchery is working with the Conservation Fund’s GoZero program to offset the carbon footprint of its deliveries by donating money to plant trees.

Now for every order placed, Munchery will also provide a meal to someone in need through a partnership with the San Francisco and Marin Food Banks and donate unsold meals to SF Food Runners.

Munchery launched in 2010 after founders Tri Tran and Conrad Chu were “desperate” for a family dinner solution. As of September 2013, it was serving one dish per minute and began hiring in-house chefs to supplement its existing marketplace of independent, personal chefs.

Munchery is useful for helping chefs who don’t work for restaurants find work. It gives them a channel to find a business while also helping us plebeians feel like we have a personal chef.

Dinner happens every night, and Munchery is not the only company that sees an opportunity to somehow improve the way we eat it. Other companies like Hello Fresh, Square Meals, Hungry Globetrotter, DineWise, Family Chef, and Magic Kitchen have some sort of unique take on the same idea — delivering chef-prepared weeknight dinners.

It’s not an easy task, though.

In addition to onboarding local chefs and customers, these companies have built efficient systems that can process a high volume of diverse orders and ensure they are prepared and delivered to the right place at the right time.

It’s not the most scaleable approach, but then again, well-prepared food isn’t about scaleability. McDonald’s is.

Munchery is backed by $4.21 million in venture capital and is currently active in the San Francisco Bay Area.

What are you eating for dinner tonight?