Why meal delivery startup Vegetable and Butcher is really a labor of love - Technical.ly DC

Growth

Jan. 17, 2017 12:09 pm

Why meal delivery startup Vegetable and Butcher is really a labor of love

Vegetable and Butcher is a subscription-based meal delivery for the vegan, gluten-free or generally health-conscious. But it all starts with one couple.
Vegetable and Butcher’s food.

Vegetable and Butcher's food.

(Courtesy photo)

Turner Hoff explains it like this: Ariane Valle, his girlfriend, is vegan. And Hoff, well, “I’ve been … not vegan my whole life.” And while these differences in lifestyle didn’t stop the duo from hitting it off, they did make it difficult, or at least time-consuming, for them to eat together.

So Valle and Hoff decided to start a company (“We really just started the company for ourselves,” Hoff told Technical.ly) — a chef-prepared, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan- and paleo-friendly meal delivery service. Meet Vegetable and Butcher.

Ariane Valle and Turner Hoff. (Courtesy photo)

Ariane Valle and Turner Hoff. (Courtesy photo)

“It’s sort of a story of our relationship, or at least a play on our relationship,” Hoff said, of the name.

V+B works as a subscription-based, set menu service. The team plans a menu for the week, and then customers can order as many, or as few, of the breakfasts, lunches and dinners as they please. As such, “we’re appealing more to the ‘set it and forget it’ type mentality,” Hoff said, as opposed to an on-demand meal delivery service like Galley or, even more broadly, something like UberEats.

Want to eat gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan meals every day of the week but don’t want to do all the sourcing and cooking yourself? Vegetable and Butcher is here for you.

The duo has been working on V+B for the past year and a half, and officially launched with delivery in two D.C. zip codes in October (in 20002 or 20003? You’re in luck! Hoff said they’re following the Whole Foods demographic with these initial neighborhood choices). The company is still really small — an executive chef works out of Union Kitchen in Ivy City and Hoff and Valle do all deliveries themselves. V+B also works with a registered dietician on all menu items, because being a vegan and getting the right amount of all kinds of nutrients can be hard.

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A Vegetable and Butcher menu. (Screenshot)

A Vegetable and Butcher menu. (Screenshot)

V+B is operating in a crowded meal-delivery space. There are local companies like Galley and Power Supply (the company Hoff considers his biggest competition because of its similar focus on specific dietary restrictions) and then out-of-towners like Munchery. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. “The more of these companies there are, the more awareness there is,” Hoff said.

For the moment, the company’s biggest challenge is growth — in terms of delivery capacity, especially. “We’re grown every single week that we’ve been live,” Hoff said, and it’s getting to the point where he and Valle can’t do all those deliveries themselves. So they need to hire, but in order to make that sustainable they also have to have the right level of demand. It’s a balancing act that Hoff thinks about every day — how to expand thoughtfully.

And at the end of the day, both Hoff and Valle love their new entrepreneurial lives. “We’re having a lot of fun,” Hoff said.

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