Featured Startup Pitch: Pop-Up Pantry is bringing gourmet meals from celebrity chefs to doorsteps across the U.S.

By Editor January 14, 2013
Pop-Up Pantry logo

Pop-Up Pantry logoCompany: Pop-Up Pantry

Website: www.popuppantry.com

Founders: David Hauslaib and Tom Balamaci

Headquarters: Los Angeles

Year Founded: 2011

Investors: GRP Partners, Crosscut Ventures, Launchpad LA

Twitter: @popuppantry

Facebook: facebook.com/popuppantry

Brief Company Description: Pop-Up Pantry is the nationwide subscription club for food lovers delivering three-course gourmet dinners crafted by top chefs delivered right to one’s doorstep that requires minimal preparation—often just boiling water—for just $12.50 per person.

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By David Hauslaib, co-founder and CCO

Product Overview

Pop-Up Pantry is a food subscription service delivering three-course restaurant-quality dinners to customers’ homes and offices every month. Every meal is fully cooked, vacuum sealed in BPA-free bags, flash frozen, and shipped to your doorstep, and can be prepped and plated in 30 minutes or less. All chef-crafted meals utilize fresh, premium ingredients that have not been augmented with preservatives or excess salt. The company sources organic products whenever possible, while all the proteins are hormone-free and humanely raised or sustainably caught. Pop-Up Pantry features around twenty complete menus every month, with selections changing depending on what’s in season, and inspires the chefs.

Founders’ Story

The idea for a gourmet food delivery service was born over a wine and flatbread-fueled lunch by the pool, where co-founders Tom Balamaci and David Hauslaib realized there was a huge gap in food ecommerce, which filled only high-end niches with specialty items or barely edible diet food. Both ravenous eaters, Tom and David wanted to create a service that solved a problem they both had: they love great food, enjoy dining out but don’t always have the time, and often work long hours that cooking a meal at home is more stressful than enjoyable. With Pop-Up Pantry—which both founders eat multiple times per week—they get to enjoy restaurant-quality cuisine at a takeout price. And while Tom is a talented home cook accustomed to throwing dinner parties for a dozen, David is a novice in the kitchen—yet Pop-Up Pantry serves both their appetites.

Marketing/Promotion Strategy

Pop-Up Pantry became the first service to take the same food you see on television and deliver it to your door when it partnered with Fox’s MasterChef, America’s most-watched cooking reality show, and delivered winning dishes to homes all across the country. The company continues to attract scores of new customers through this TV partnership while also generating rave reviews on local television programs, online outlets like The Huffington Post and Delish.com, influential food, parenting, and lifestyle blogs and YouTube channels, and a rabid fan base among the tech startup community. Customers also join Pop-Up Pantry through paid acquisition efforts, targeted SEO, and via co-marketing relationships with top etailers.

Market Opportunity

We’re serving a $40 billion market, calculated by capturing a share of frozen grocery (excluding ice cream), restaurants, and prepared food. Unlike other subscription commerce companies serving specific and limited audiences, we benefit from a simple fact: Every single person in the United States eats—that’s a lot of potential customers! And because Pop-Up Pantry is the only food startup that ships complete dinners nationwide, we have an opportunity to capture a large share of that market, which includes busy professionals, food-savvy singles, new parents, and seniors. Whether living in a major city with an abundance of dining-out options (where Pop-Up Pantry offers competitive prices and convenience) or in a ‘food desert’ where big box retailers are the only place to shop for produce and dining out means another chain restaurant (and Pop-Up Pantry offers access to elevated cuisine), our growing customer base turns to Pop-Up Pantry because no other service fills their food void like we do. Anyone who puts food in your mouth is a competitor. But nobody else is crafting, preparing and delivering food the way we are.

How We Differentiate from the Competition 

Pop-Up Pantry delivers three-course meals nationwide that are created by certified professional chefs. Just as in a customer’s favorite restaurant, a team of talented sous chefs and line cooks prepare the meals under direction of the chef who designed the menu, and dishes are delivered only after meeting the discerning chef’s approval. Each menu is accompanied by the name of the chef who designed it. Current chef collaborators include Chef David Yeo (Asia de Cuba, Straits Restaurants) and Chef Rodelio Aglibot (Koi, BLT). In addition, Pop-Up Pantry also partnered with FOX’s hit show ‘MasterChef’ wherein guests from around the country can order meals from the two finalists. This unprecedented collaboration allows what viewers see on TV to be seamlessly recreated in their own homes, bringing reality TV to new heights.

Business Model

We sell food directly to customers, bypassing traditional retail outlets and passing on the savings to customers. Customers enjoy the benefits of a membership program but never have an obligation to purchase.

Current Needs

Pop-Up Pantry is always hiring qualified talent as we build out our engineering, culinary, customer service and marketing teams.

Pop-Up Pantry – www.popuppantry.com