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The UK’s Deliverd launches ‘Chef Box’ to take food delivery service nation-wide

TechCrunch TechCrunch 25/05/2016 Steve O'Hear

Deliverd, the U.K. startup that sends you restaurant-prepared dishes that you reheat at home or work, is launching a new service today that will enable it to expand to most of the country.

In its original incarnation, the company only serviced a smart part of the North of England, relying on a network of restaurants utilising spare kitchen capacity and local bicycle couriers to get you your food.

However, following demand to expand its delivery area, Deliverd is trialling ‘Chef Box’, a new meal subscription service that will see it deliver chef-prepared meals from the kitchens it partners with to other parts of the U.K. via overnight delivery.

“The demand for our meals has been amazing, even outside of the Deliverd Local area,” co-founder Paul Rawlings tells me. “That’s why over the last few months we have been testing Chef Box, national overnight delivery of our meals. [Today] we are pushing the pre-order system live and starting to open more places on the system”.

Deliverd Chef Box is priced at £5.50 per dish, including delivery, but — based on a pre-order rather than purely on-demand model — there’s a minimum order of 6 dishes, though subscriptions can be weekly or fortnightly and paused (or canceled) at any time.

The food is delivered overnight by the startup’s partner courier and utilises refrigerated vehicles and ‘wool-cool’ packaging.

“This is a great way to also test new regions without having to set up new operations,” adds Rawlings. “We can do it at this price point as it is tightly integrated into Deliverd Local systems, this is already proving to be a cost convenient and sustainable way to truly address the mealtime challenges faced by busy people such as yourself”.

Yes, that’s right, I’m Deliverd’s exact target customer, apparently. Hungry, time poor and almost wholly reliant on take-out pizza and ready meals. And, thanks to a plethora of new food delivery startups, such as online restaurant EatFirst, nearly broke.

In that regard, Deliverd does look like a welcome option, and, by Rawlings’s own admission, is very much competing against the ready meal you’d pick up at your local supermarket.

“We often get compared to other premium delivery companies like Deliveroo but we believe that our major competitor is more the ready meal,” he told me back in January. “We believe that, as we are positioned as a Monday to Thursday product where customers want to eat great food but can’t afford the high ticket spend of a takeout, our repeat ordering is high in comparison to others.”

Meanwhile, Deliverd has also been testing what it’s calling a “Personal Chef” service where I’m told every customer is given their very own personal chef whose sole goal is to learn about their food preferences and lifestyle, make relevant menu suggestions, and send “friendly” text or email reminders.

“Local customers don’t even need to log into the website to order anymore, we have streamlined the process fully as they can just reply to their Personal Chef’s text reminder with a ‘Y’ to have the suggested dish delivered to their default delivery location at their default time – they don’t even need an internet connection,” explains Rawlings.

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