Meal delivery services can save time and often money, but imagine having a Michelin-starred meal delivered to your home.
Enter the Entrée meal delivery home. Jon Bell and Jason Weingarten launched in Chicago last July with a Michelin-trained culinary team, led by Alex Carnovale of The French Laundry, preparing restaurant-quality meals that are packaged in recyclable, plastic-free packaging so food doesn’t I arrive soaked. or cold. Most items are ready to eat in minutes.
Bell and Weingarten aren’t your typical meal delivery startup founders. Both have software backgrounds; Bell previously worked at Netflix as a global product leader, while Weingarten created education-related software.
They have designed the Entrée menu to have between 30 and 50 items in any given month including global cuisines in the categories of breakfast, meals for two, desserts, and a beverage program that includes craft cocktails. The Entrée app is currently on the App Store.
It adds about two new deals a week and they are priced 30-50% lower than restaurant equivalents. The company throws in some atmosphere, too, including curated playlists, a virtual maître d’, and kid-friendly coloring sheets.
Eight months after the company launched, the concept is taking hold, Bell told TechCrunch. Entrée has over 1,000 users and generates tens of thousands of revenue each month. In addition, the average order volume is more than $60 and the repeat order rate is more than 40% in 30 days, Weingarten said in an interview.
“Constant average order volume above $60, which is pretty high from what we’ve seen for other delivery services,” Weingarten said. “It’s been really exciting for us to see people not just necessarily order the same thing, but order something different each time and post ratings and comments subtly. We have several clients who have asked us more than 20 times”.
Entrée is operating in a crowded US convenience market that was valued at $156.3 billion in 2022. And there are plenty of corporate-backed players. For example, Daily Harvest, Instacart, Positive Foods, Splendid Spoon, Prado, DishDivvy, and Shef have all raised funds in recent years for their meal delivery approaches, from plant-based to home-cooked meals.
Now, Entrée is announcing $2.5 million in pre-seed funding led by M25 with participation from investors including Hustle Fund, Pillar VC and The Community Fund.
The new financing, closed last month, will help the 14-employee company expand outside of Chicago, starting in 2024, said Bell, who did not say anything about upcoming locations. It will also go towards technology development as Entrée works to add an Android app and new features like “coming soon” and referral programs.
Also, the company is working on the speed and pace with which it comes out with new items to meet the demand of users who often ask what new dishes will be available in the coming weeks.
“We’ve felt that it’s really important to build a differentiated experience,” Bell said. “We own the full stack and continue to develop there. We continue to invest in world-class culinary and increase the pace of our menu development, as well as experiment with different finishing methods, including new distribution channels and approaches that we are experimenting with.”