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Review my startup Munchery, solving "What's for dinner?"
48 points by tt on March 21, 2011 | hide | past | favorite | 26 comments
Link to sign up: http://gomunchery.com/via/yc

We want to help busy people not having to stress about planning for dinner on a daily basis.

We are going with the less-is-more approach: instead of having to make decisions about what to order from a menu, chefs decide for you.

You subscribe to chefs and specify the number of meals for the days of the week you want (you can change or cancel anytime). Each chef has a fixed price per meal. Once subscribed, the chef selects the ingredients, decides the menu, prepares and delivers the meals to your home/office.

We are still making a lot of enhancements, but the gist of it is there and you can definitely place a subscription order. To encourage you to give us a test run, we are giving out $10 credit for new sign-ups (until we go broke!)

We lined up a few independent chefs and restaurants to start. Just launched our beta this past Friday and would love to get your feedback.

Thank you

I've been on HN for years, but hardly comment due to a busy day job. Three weeks ago, I decided to quit the day job and focus on Munchery full time. It's super exciting to say the least!

I like this. Your model has a long history - the no-choice "prix fixe" dinner at the neighbourhood eatery in many European cities. The delivery option seems a neat way to transport it to the (generally) non-walkable US environment - I suspect you will have even better luck in other urban markets.

Consider offering a discount for 4+ portions per order. There are a lot of families who have a "delivery" night to ease the planning/cooking/washing-up burden and would also subscribe to something like this, instead of resorting to pizza. No need to pitch the whole thing around lone office workers, even if that is the obvious market. In general families are pickier about what they eat, and would more strongly care about getting something better than a microwave meal as convenience food.

Well that's an inspiration. Keep a journal/blog - some of us out here would love to know more about the journey from the safety-net of a job to the freefall of doing a startup.

Great work and wish you all the best moving forward.

Let me know if any of the following could be of any help to your startup; will be happy to do what we can:



(BTW, the Dinner Planner banners you can see running at both the sites above are of another startup announced here on HN about a month ago; we're running these as a courtesy.)

I lol'd when I read "you're now a Muncher!" South Park episode of Catman's mom comes to mind.

Interesting idea, I'd probably try it if it was available in Miami. Down here, something really popular is the concept of Food by the Pound (Blue Sky comes to mind) or prepared dinner-type places for people too busy to cook for their family. You pay by the week and you can select from a menu what dinner you'll have for each day of the week. This would be a great high-end alternative as those places I mentioned are already crazy cheap (usually Cuban or other Latin foods/cuisines).

I can't seem to find out much about delivery on the site - is that a service you're going to provide to the chefs or do they have to cook/deliver the food themselves?

Either way, great work guys!

Each chef does his/her own delivery at the moment. The availability schedule sets the day/time that you would likely get your meals.

We definitely imagine offering a delivery service for chefs in the future!

I know it's hard to build out into other markets with a biz model like this, but would totally give you money for something like this in South Florida. :) (And could even hook you up with a few local chefs that I've tried this with on a one-on-one basis.)

The biggest problem I've had solving this on my own is agreeing on the menu ahead of time so I don't get blindsided with the bill afterward. Would love to see how you solve this without signing up.

Hi Mike. The way we solve that problem is by having fixed price per meal for each chef.

Give us some time and we'll open it up to other areas too. Meanwhile we've love any chef leads you have. What's your email? (Mine is in my HN profile)

Mike, your issue is exactly what we want to solve. We thought about the current assumptions of how people order today:

1) Figure out what to eat 2) Determine if it's worth the money

On Munchery, we flip it entirely around:

1) A chef figures out what you eat based on the best ingredients of the season 2) The meal always costs the same

Or in foodie terms, Munchery is French prix fixe + Japanese omakase. We think that not only brings great value to customers, but it's just plain exciting.

It'd be great to have a signup waiting list for other areas (I passed the link around to a handful of friends and it's something we'd all be interested in trying out but we're all out in NYC).

Sounds like an excellent idea. will you be expanding to the valley any time soon? This sounds perfect for me, but I'm in Sunnyvale.

We currently have one chef who delivers to Sunnyvale: https://gomunchery.com/chefs/evolution-catering

Definitely. We're continually signing up new chefs and try to get the Bay Area covered soon. I'll keep you posted.

Also, if you know any chefs, do refer them to us, we'll get them up and running.

Thanks for the props as to why this is a good idea. But I'm actually very interested to hear why you think Munchery WILL NOT work. Why it will suck? If you have signed up thus far, and you live/work on SF, what prevents you from placing a subscription order?

I'm eager to iterate on our approach based on everyone's feedback!

Although Im not in SF, I still think you have an interesting idea. My concern for you would be the actual product the chef's produce once you start getting some traction. The more a chef cooks in larger scale, the quality of the product goes down.

As a side night on your business model, I would have the chefs use ingredients that are readily cheap. This way your decreasing your startup costs and at the same time still increasing customers willingness to pay. Just a thought...goodluck. Im in Chicago and I would try it, if it were here.

Quality is one of the top priorities in our mind as we roll out beta. That's why we select professional chefs to start with. Some of the chefs want to specify a max number of subscriber, so we know they also want to ensure high quality and not have to prepare too many meals.

Our chefs and restaurants vary a bit when it comes to pricing. With this omakase style, it's true they can get in-season ingredients and that helps lower the cost (and also increase the quality of the food). But if they are a all-or-mostly-organic meal provider, it's still hard to get the price really low.

Am I right in thinking this is a subscription takeaway services ?

So existing takeaways get to mass produce a particular dish and do delivery, presumably at a lower-than-normal price in exchange for the reliable revenue streams that a subscription model provides?

Checked out the site. An hour I later tried to remember name to tell a friend but couldn't remember it. You don't have munchery.com, so I don't know why you're going with that name. You might want to get a better one. IMHO.

Adding a prefix or suffix to your domain is a reasonable approach. Dropbox was originally getdropbox.com for example.

Two major differences:

1) Dropbox is/was not a webapp. The site is just a place to download the app once or twice (for most users).

2) Dropbox is an extremely good name, so living with getdropbox.com at first is understandable. The equivalent in quality would be something like munch.com, in which case gomunch.com would be reasonable at first. The domain gomunchery.com is a double compromise.

Agreed. It's on the todo list. :)

Great looking design! Interesting idea, and a cool way to try new things. Will keep an ear to the rail for when you guys start moving North (way North in this case, I'm in Canada :)

I really like the idea! I wish I lived in SF to join and participate.

Great UI design and very easy to use!!

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