Connecting the kitchens and the workers leads to eliminating expensive waste. Yay. Predictable incremental revenue streams for restaurants on weekdays are amazing from their perspective. After having customers and data, a couple iterations down the line I think they can probably offer something as compelling to the food customer -- e.g., fixed pricing, which could make this very competitive with business catering. That is almost certainly a 9 figure a year business in NYC alone.
[Edit: Someday, I want to hear the story of the early days of this company. I'm having visions of the MVP involving 0 lines of code, one cell phone, one inbox, and a whole lot of hustling. "Hiya skeptical restaurant manager, I'm calling to place $1,800 worth of food orders for next Thursday. Also, I want to do it twice a week for the next six months. Do I have your attention? Great, here's what we're going to do..." Repeat a couple of times while becoming the Official Food Logistics guy for the YC mafia, and suddenly you have side of the two-sided market bootstrapped from zero to "You are their favorite person ever", plus you've got a very good understanding of what sucks about ordering food for a large number of people. Then you start coding.]
The YC connection is a great way to get started (incidentally, the YC company I'm currently at (Greplin) has been using them for a few months, and I have no complaints).
Hustle + code = greatness.
Previous to ZeroCater, I was the first engineering hire at Justin.TV: http://abstractnonsense.com/life-at-a-startup
If that sounds like the kind of experience you would enjoy, email me (email@example.com) - we're currently looking for our first engineering hire.
(Sorry, Bill, I just couldn't help myself)
We've been using them for a couple of months now.
They have great variety. We had a controversial lunch at the beginning (some people loved it, some people hated it), but overall the quality has been great, the food yummy, and they've been responsive about customizing the menus to our needs.
If you want to eat ZeroCater, but not work there, you should come work with us!
Arram, do you have your Wave of Food image handy?
Illustration by Julie Kang. Email me if you'd like an introduction.
I've moved to Paris now where (in the traditional parisian style, I guess) at least a few times a week it's group meals at nearby restaurants.
Nowhere I've been do people "order in" food - unless it's a late night pizza run. What's the reason that it's so common in the US that it can support a (cool looking) service to do so?
Saw this in action in SF. It's like set it and forget it.
The great thing was, though, that I was able to just tell ZeroCater that we didn't want as much rice, and they fixed it. They're super responsive. We've been using them for about 2 months now, and are pretty happy.
RTP (where I work) has a huge set of companies who collectively do tons of team lunches, etc. We all get pretty tired of going to the same places in the vicinity every day, so please, add us to your queue!
(Incidentally, I feel like so many interesting startups are optimized for their locality - Bay Area or NYC. What opportunities are there for the rest of us to convince these services to come to our towns?)
Bigger deliveries to larger groups is the obvious solution to that. Good luck :)
Zerocater: remove the option to log in with facebook. When people use it, they do log in, but they aren't connected with the account their company admin set up, and if they're as bad as me, they just give up and end up with food they don't really like.
Done. We've removed it. Thanks for the feedback.
I wish the UK was more like this