Jeff Grass, co-founder and CEO of HUNGRY, reveals more about his food-tech company that provides exciting office and event catering by providing exclusive access to top chefs.
HUNGRY originally started out as a platform to connect companies with top local chefs to provide an office-catering service. It was actually one of our co-founder’s ideas, who I used to work with before the company launched.
Our office at the time was a little like a food desert – there really weren't many food choices available. My colleague (and now co-founder), Eman, came up with the concept of connecting local chefs with office workers to give them access to more variety, better quality, and more authentic food. A marketplace to bring all of those aspects together.
We started out like that, but we quickly pivoted to catering as our primary focus for the first couple of years.
There are three core parts to our business: our food delivery and logistics platform has grown incredibly fast and we work with companies like Good Eggs, Sakara Life, and others.
The second is our business catering and office lunch program, which is picking up as people return to the office.
Lastly, the third part of our business is focused on events and virtual experiences, which includes high-end virtual experiences with top chefs, mixologists, and more. We mail experience kits ahead of time so people can get really involved alongside the chefs.
Yes, absolutely. We were hit quite badly, but we decided to innovate our way through it. We created a powerful platform with amazing chefs all over the country and it was then that we built our very sophisticated delivery and logistics capability as part of our marketplace.
On the whole, I would say that this industry remains a very challenging environment with the likes of supply chain issues and rapidly rising food costs. However, it also creates opportunity – as shown by our delivery logistics business. Companies are struggling to get whatever they supply to their customers on time, especially if it’s food-related.
There has been a mass movement of companies looking for alternatives to FedEx or UPS, who have been struggling with food delivery of late. HUNGRY provides a more reliable solution and a much better customer experience, and all for a lower cost.
Firstly, we’re a purpose-driven and value-centric company. We want to improve the lives of everyone we work with, with a special focus on four key groups: the chefs who are our partners on the platform, the clients that we serve, the communities where we operate (with a huge focus on environmental sustainability), and the team – we try to foster an environment where people are excited to be. Our core values shape and define all of the above.
Before the pandemic, companies were investing in food more than ever before: for events, for meetings, for boosting morale, and bringing people together. However, the industry became quite complex with the emergence of dietary restrictions and allergies, for example. It made it very challenging for the company providing food to the office to manage all of these criteria.
The $60 billion pre-pandemic industry was entirely served by restaurants and traditional caterers, neither of whom were designed to deliver food for an office. HUNGRY partners with great local chefs and cooks out of ghost kitchens, we also own delivery and invest heavily in service.
This kind of system is transforming how offices get food and provides high-quality, healthy meals for their teams. There’s definitely a shift away from the traditional packaged goods companies, such as FedEx.
We’ve just closed a CVC funding and have raised about $55 million in venture funding from top-tier venture funds, several global celebrities, and food industry heavyweights. We have an amazing group of supporters so it’s about growing as aggressively as we can and taking advantage of these opportunities.
The plan is to be in a position to go public in the next couple of years.
Yes, I think we have on many levels. We’ve created a platform that fosters chef entrepreneurship and we have close to 200 chefs who have started their own businesses. This has the potential to grow into the thousands over the next few years.
Our team has really risen to the occasion, especially during the pandemic. We were supplying meals to the elderly, the vulnerable, and schools. We’ve also provided 600,000 meals through our two-for-one meal program.
These actions align with our overall philosophy of giving back to local communities and trying to make a difference. We’re just trying to do our part as best we can while creating a successful and thriving business.