In the realm of laziness that brought us on-demand dinner businesses like Munchery and Sprig, SF-based Kitchit has occupied a more expensive realm that allowed people to bring private chefs to their homes to prep, cook, and clean up after full dinner parties. They've been like the Munchery or Blue Apron for rich show-offs who don't want to cook themselves, but providing a needed service for those who like the idea of dinner parties more than they do the execution of one. The price point, though, kept the chef and custom meal service out of reach of many who can barely afford the rent they're paying as it is, but then Kitchit launched a less expensive service dubbed Kitchit Tonight, which brings you a similar, less custom, pre-prepared dinner service by a chef for $39 per person and a minimum of two people. How could they make money on this, you ask? Well, the hope is that mostly people are catering larger parties, because the company must lose money on two-person dinners.
Now, Kitchit announced today that they're eliminating the high-end custom Chef Marketplace altogether to focus on Kitchit Tonight, describing it as a runaway hit in its first nine months. And it's no wonder, since $39 a person for a three-course meal that's heated and plated for you, and cleaned up for you, is pretty nice.
From the company's statement:
We launched Kitchit Tonight with the expectation that it would complement the higher-end service of the Chef Marketplace. This has indeed proven to be true, and we continue to believe in the merits of both businesses.
However, the market response to Kitchit Tonight has so outpaced our expectations that we find our team wholly consumed by that half of the business. After just 9 months, the volume of Kitchit Tonight bookings is nearly double that of the Marketplace in San Francisco, and Kitchit Tonight customers repeat at nearly 4 [times] the rate we’ve seen in the Marketplace over the past 3.5 years. Reviews from diners have been as outstanding as we’ve always seen in the Marketplace, and chefs report high levels of satisfaction with the flexible schedule and predictable hourly pay that Kitchit Tonight provides.
Against this backdrop, there is only one sound decision for Kitchit as a growing technology business. Rather than give short shrift to the Marketplace, we must move forward without it.
This is bad news from the chefs on their roster who've been depending on these gigs the last few years. But it's good news for everybody who's learned to love Kitchit Tonight, since it looks like it won't be going anywhere anytime soon.