Entrepreneurs have been trying to figure out the home-cooked food delivery business for years, and the Hungry Hound says there's one Chicago company doing it pretty well.
The kitchen is a hive of activity pretty much all day long at Eat Purely. The West Town-based company spends each day building momentum, cooking, plating, packing and then getting ready to deliver its organic meals all over the city with an army of drivers.
"I was inspired by my father's deteriorating health and I wanted to get healthy, organic meals delivered to me by the time I could get an Uber home from work," said co-founder Jeremiah Green.
And like Uber, Eat Purely relies on its app. You simply flip through the pics of today's menu options - all around 10 to 12 bucks - then give them a one hour window of delivery that night. Unlike other healthy food delivery start-ups, they realized they couldn't deliver things hot.
"The only way for us to do that is to cook it to the perfect temperature, cool it down really quickly and then have it delivered so when you get it, it's exactly as the chef meant it," said Green.
And the chef is no amateur. For every chicken walnut wrap and turkey pot pie, there's an elegant beets and greens salad or Asian-inspired barbecued salmon with cold soba noodles tossed in a sesame-peanut sauce with pickled vegetables. Roasted chicken is plated over Swiss chard and white beans. The heating instructions are labeled clearly on each box, so getting it onto the table takes just a few minutes. They key to this operation though, is the network of drivers, based in various neighborhoods, who load up each night with a few different meals, then await instructions from the app.
"It's a big logistics play and figuring out how to make the food match the logistics system was key to what we do," he said.
The big issue with delivery services is, what is the range? They've got most of the city covered, but they're not limited to the city. Evanston came on line recently, and the plan is to add one area or neighborhood every couple of weeks.
In Steve's Extra Course, he shows that there is one other element from the Eat Purely kitchen: a free sweet that comes with each meal, also made on the premises.