Home Bistro produces high-quality celebrity chef meals, skin-packed for freshness and delivered across the US to give you and your family the ultimate dining experience. In this interview, CEO Zalmi Duchman explains the concept behind Home Bistro and invites food lovers to give it a try.
I've been in the meal delivery industry for over 16 years. In 2005, I started my first company, The Fresh Diet, which delivered meal and snack kits every day in cooler bags and became the leader in the industry.
In 2018, four years after selling The Fresh Diet, I got involved with Home Bistro. The company was struggling and I came in to turn it around.
Home Bistro is very different from all the other meal delivery companies out there. It’s focused on the very high end of the market. We work with Celebrity chefs to produce restaurant-quality dinners that make up a five-star dining experience at your home.
All the meals are cooked fresh and skin-packed to give the fresh food a shelf life of over three weeks in the refrigerator. It's an amazing option for people that are looking for convenience and quality. We’re one of the only publicly-traded Heat & Eat companies in this industry.
Last year, we acquired a company called Model Meals, which is much more diet-focused. They were shipping in California, Nevada, and Arizona, and we launched them nationally with the same skin pack technology that we use. They have some amazing organic meals and Whole30® dishes and are much more focused on cage-free, sustainable types of meals. It's another option for a customer who’s looking to eat healthy, high-quality meals.
We have all different types of dishes and cuisines because we have different celebrity chefs: Claudia Sandoval who makes Mexican dishes; Richard Blaze, a top chef currently doing a show with Gordon Ramsay; Cat Cora, a famous Iron Chef; and Dana Falk, whose father was Michael Jordan’s sports agent, so she's very sports-focused and offers special game day foods.
As we add more chefs, we add an array of cuisines, which is very different from the other companies out there who all offer the same food.
We have an extremely expensive machine which allows us to skin-pack the food. It's very similar to a vacuum pack but it looks more appealing. It’s a very thin film that goes over the meals and when it arrives at your house, it almost looks like plastic, so it keeps all the ingredients in place.
When you order from some of the bigger companies out there, your food often gets squashed together in a tray and is moved around in transit because the courier hasn’t handled it right.
This machine keeps everything in place and keeps it extremely tight. It looks very appealing when you get it and at the same time, it has a scientific way of vacuum packing that keeps the meals fresh. If you opened up our products even seven days after purchase, you wouldn’t be able to tell that they were cooked two weeks prior, because it tastes as though it was just cooked for you right then and there.
Of course, all the nutrients stay inside. We’ve listed the calories and nutritional facts on every single meal, so you can see what's in every ingredient: the sodium, cholesterol, total fat, everything’s on there. It tastes just as if it was cooked for you at a restaurant.
We work on a B2C model, meaning we're serving customers directly. Eventually, we'll probably go into retail stores.
Right now, the majority of our customers are of a higher age demographic, but our typical customer is someone that’s looking for a high-end, high-quality meal combined with the convenience of eating it at home.
Cooking at home becomes a burden if you do it every day, especially if you’re a single person or have a small family. It also generates a lot of waste. You can go to a restaurant, but most people don't do that every day. You can use apps like UberEat and DoorDash, which are extremely time-consuming. A lot of people are fatigued from ordering on these apps because there are so many different options and the fees are expensive. It's a great option for an office lunch, but not for dinner at home.
We find that our customers are looking for that convenience and quality but don't want to do a lot of decision-making. They go online and they order 10-20 meals at a time. The meals arrive at their home, they leave them in their fridge. On nights when they just want to grab something that they know is good, they can quickly select a meal, heat it up, and eat it.
I've been in the industry for a very long time, so I've seen it evolve. The industry is very segmented. There are a lot of small companies out there and most of them, if not all, are focused on diet and fitness subscriptions. We feel that that's not the future.
The future is the common people who just want to eat healthily and have something convenient. We feel that what we're doing is catching on. We already see other companies bringing in celebrity chefs as their guests. Given the pandemic and the state of the world, Heat & Eat meal delivery is just becoming more and more popular and will continue to grow.
Our model will definitely be something that other companies look to. We feel that the DoorDash’s and UberEats of the world are losing so much money and they just can’t figure out a way to be profitable without charging hefty delivery costs. I think there’s going to be a reckoning when it comes to those apps. It’ll be interesting to see how everything falls and what survives.