For companies, providing breakfast of lunch for employees is increasingly becoming a regular part of the perk package. But given the culinary talent that’s around, Eman Pahlevani saw fewer good, affordable places to turn in the catering space. With HUNGRY, Pahlevani and his brother Shy Pahlevani set out to improve what’s available.
“There’s a gap where there are a lot of independent chefs that are currently in the market and there’s nobody connecting them with corporate offices who are ordering food every day,” said the cofounder.
The Rosslyn, Va.–based startup provides a marketplace where businesses can order directly from chefs who run a business apart from a restaurant. The chefs may have a spot in a shared kitchen or food incubator space, or cater independently. HUNGRY provides tools for the chefs for business functions, but the chefs handle setting the menu and cooking in their own spots.
“A chef typically makes anything from 3-10x per hour as they would working in a restaurant, Pahlevani said.
For the companies, HUNGRY also provides the customer-facing interface for the office managers doing the ordering, and also delivers the food. The latter is led by an in-house team of “Catering Captains.” Pahlevani said the company also donates a meal for those in need for every two that are purchased on the platform.
While there are plenty of companies in the food delivery space, most deliver directly to people in their homes or office. Pahlevani said the corporate catering market is separate, $25 billion market.
The company launched in the D.C. area in 2017, and reports now having more than 300 companies on the platform, and more than 50 chefs. Pahlevani said the company made $1 million in revenue in 2017, and is on track to quadruple sales this year.
Earlier this month, the company closed on $1.5 million in seed funding, bringing its total raised to $4.5 million. Pahlevani said the plan is to expand to more cities, with Philadelphia or New York potentially coming first. The company is also looking to add to its current team of 17 full-time employees to continue building out the tech platform, Pahlevani said. More expansion outside the Mid-Altantic is likely to follow.
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