We are pleased to announce that we have completed our initial investment in Chewse, Inc. Based in San Francisco, CA, Chewse has created a platform that makes it easy for businesses to order and manage meals for their employees.
The U.S. market for corporate food delivery is over $30 billion a year. It’s not a new market, but it’s one that is rife with frustrations. The market is fragmented, with the three largest restaurant chains that supply the corporate market being Subway, Panera and Chipotle with market shares of 3%, 0.8% and 0.05%, respectively. There are over 11,000 caterers in the U.S. with the top 50 largest controlling less than 15% of the market.
The experience of food ordering is pitiful. Most of the options involve telephones and faxes. The person at the company who is responsible for ordering the food has almost no hope of getting everything correct when employees have dietary restrictions. Each time a food order is desired, the admin must either remember each person’s preferences or ask for the 100th time “are you the one who is allergic to onions, or the one who is gluten free?” In the end, this is a thankless job that rarely goes as expected, leaving at least some of the employees disappointed and the person who ordered left holding the bag.
Furthermore, there are many restaurants who have capacity and desire to reach corporate clients but don’t know how. They can sign up with a Restaurant Runners-type service, but then have no control over how their food is presented or delivered. As for timeliness, forget it. And this, again, is all run by phone calls and faxes.
Chewse is building a two-sided marketplace to connect corporate clients with restaurants. They have created a platform that allows administrators to easily and quickly order food based on the preferences of their employees. In addition, each restaurant is vetted by the company to ensure that the food is of high quality at each price point. This means that Chewse has direct relationships with these vendors which ensures that the Chewse menu always has a large list of options.
The company was founded by Tracy Lawrence and Jeff Schenck and we are stoked to work with them.