Pop Up Pantry Stocks Well In The Food Subscription Market
Instead of forcing me to do keg stands and turn stupidly drunk on my 21st birthday, three of my best friends took me to dinner at the legendary Chicago restaurant Charlie Trotter’s. We wore ill-fitting suits, couldn’t identify two-thirds of what we ate, but were instantly hooked as novice gourmands with a taste for multiple-course meals. I still love fine dining. I just can’t afford to eat out often. I have neither the time, equipment, nor expertise to treat my home like a five-star restaurant.
Pop-Up Pantry presents an interesting solution for those of us who appreciate delicious food but struggle to satisfy our cravings. This subscription food service offers doorstep delivery of 3-course gourmet meals. Nationwide. This is a great option of course for people who live far away from a gastronomic hub. The $17 per person cost makes it enticing even for the city dweller with Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods close at hand.
By filling out a TasteProfile, the company provides menus based on a customer’s culinary preferences. Fill up your “pantry” with the number of dinners you wish to receive each month (2 being the minimum). Dinners are designed to go from kitchen to table in under 30 minutes. How can they possibly be tasty at that speed and at that price? Meals are prepared sous vide (using vacuum sealed bags and cooked in temperature controlled water) before they’re flash-frozen. They come with instructions for preparation and printed menus for a restaurant-at-home experience. Having spent time working at the cutting-edge WD-50 in Manhattan, where amazing food was often cooked sous vide, Pop-Up Pantry’s platform makes my stomach rumble with hopeful approval.
Apparently, I’m not the only one with an appetite to sample. Since launching in April, the company secured a $1.7 million round of seed funding. The L.A. startup gained backing from GRP partners (investors in Starbucks, Costco, P.F. Changs, and PetSmart), Crosscut Ventures (investors in ShoeDazzle and Docstoc), Adam Goldenberg ( CEO of JustFab), and Michel Daher (of Daher Foods).
The Kitchen Crew
CEO and Co-founder Tom Balamaci previously worked at MySpace, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Credit Suisse, and Loud3r. Co-founder David Hauslaib turned on his first entrepreneurial stove in high school. His technology news site earned him a teenage-whopping hundreds of dollars in ad revenues. In college, he launched the web publishing outfit Jossip Initiatives that eventually grew into four major blog brands–Jossip, Mollygood, Stereohyped, and Queety. His mini media empire reached more than 5 million visitors a month and grossed seven-figure revenues. He sold his last blog in 2011 and assisted in the sale of the incredibly popular culture site Pink is The New Blog. Given his past ventures and now Pop-Up Pantry, it looks as though he can’t keep out of the kitchen.
In this instance, it seems fitting to mention another important team member. Chef David Yeo is the Director of Culinary Operations, responsible for cuisine development and production. He spent over 25 years working in venerable kitchens such as Jamin in Paris, Louis XV in Monte Carlo, Le Cirque, Tavern on the Green and Asia de Cuba.
If things go well, look for breakfast, lunch, and special occasion packages in the future. Featured chefs as well as brand lines of condiments and sauces may spring up as well… I’ll take the warm asparagus salad, chicken legs with succotash and leek potato gratin, and the olive oil and pistachio pound cake. Hurry!