The market these days is full of food related startups, especially those that are trying to deliver meals to the home. Nuances vary. Some bring in all the ingredients and a recipe to be cooked at home. Some bring ready-to-eat food.
Most are focused on scaling with gobs of venture capital.
I have a different thought.
Focus on the food.
Do you have a passion for cooking?
That’s really where the focus needs to be. On creating good food.
Not simple, boring, scalable food.
Good food. Sophisticated food.
Choose a cuisine in which you can excel. Go deep into its vocabulary. The recipes. The traditions. What did the mothers and grandmothers cook? How? What are the subtleties and deeper nuances of technique?
Come up with a menu that is yours. Your signature. Something a great cook like you will proudly stand behind.
Then, figure out the logistics of how to bring it to a broader set of families who appreciate good, home-cooked food.
Not scalable food.
Forget venture capital. You are doing a bootstrapped business. Your goal is to scale to $1 million, not $1 billion.
Yes, you will use technology to manage your business. Take orders. Manage logistics. Manage inventory. But all those are incidental. The heart and soul of your business is the quality of your cuisine.
Of course, the players around you who are trying to scale are also figuring out many growth hacks. Study those. Learn from them.
How do they structure their pricing? Their logistics? Their customer acquisition strategy?
If you price at $50 per meal for two, and assume that each family will order four times a month from you, you need 400 families to do ~$1M a year. Of course, there will be families of four, and single households in the mix that will introduce complexities, but your average is probably in that 400-family ballpark.
If the food is good, they will stay with you, so over time, once you’ve acquired 400 customers, you don’t have to put in any further work into customer acquisition. You don’t have to grow if you don’t want to either.
In fact, if you can get into specific communities where the word-of-mouth travels really fast – a school, for example, where all the parents talk and share notes constantly – you may be able to acquire your target number of customers really quickly and easily.
After that, you can relax and focus on the food and the cuisine.
I wish I knew a few such entrepreneurs right here in the Bay Area who specialize in specific types of cuisine … Italian, French, Bengali, Chinese, Vietnamese, Belgian … I would probably order from several of them for change of taste. I would probably also order for parties, larger orders, larger menus, 6-8 people, may be 3-4 times a month … we entertain all the time!
And very quickly, just through my network, you could acquire 20 families who would do the same.
This opportunity can be tailored to different parts of the world, focused on different cuisines, with different customer acquisition strategies.
I think it’s a very cool one!
If you want to discuss further, please come by to one of our free 1M/1M roundtables.
Photo credit: ? Nick/Flickr.com.