Chefs who feed you and help the world as well
THERE is nothing worse than coming home from a long day at work to an empty fridge. DCU students Roman Grogan (22) and Ryan Scott (23), felt the same, and spotted a gap in the market. Now their company Drop Chef is helping Dublin residents who want to cook but can't face the shops. An ethical business model means every order feeds a malnourished child in the developing world. Mr Ryan tells Sarah McCabe how they built their company.
"People love to cook – you only have to look at the popularity of programmes like 'Masterchef' to realise it. And there's nothing like making a meal from scratch.
"That's where Drop Chef comes in. We provide the recipe and ingredients for a meal, delivered straight to your door. The dishes are all nutritionally balanced, and come in just the right amounts for one person, so there is no wastage. You order online – it's simple and straightforward. It costs €8 for one meal and €14 for two.
"I have been listening to a lot of TED talks in the past few years and really inspired by entrepreneurship, and this idea just felt right. It's a social venture, modelled on companies like TOM shoes, which operate a 'one for one' system. In our case this means that for every dish you buy, a high-nutrition meal is provided for a child in a developing country. We are working on this with another Irish business, Valid Nutrition, who develop products for kids with advanced malnutrition", says Mr Ryan.
"We both have a year still to go in college. We are going to plough straight into the business full time once we graduate. We started off developing our own recipes. Our dishes have to be easy to cook and be made within half an hour. But now 'Masterchef' winner Tamarin Blackmur, is developing them for us.
"We have completely funded the company ourselves until now, but are hoping to be accepted into a business accelerator fund. We have just finished a trial phase which helped us build an initial customer base, and are now fully operational taking orders through our website. We do everything ourselves, from sourcing ingredients to delivery, with a little help from brothers and dads. We deliver to most addresses in Dublin – D1 to D24 – and can deliver to offices too.
"At the moment we are operating at cost or slightly below, but this should change as we build up scale and can buy more bulk orders. I used to think the phrase "a recession is a great time to start a business" was nonsense – you want your customers to have money, don't you? – but in our case, it's true. We help people curb waste, we make their money meaningful in that it helps a good cause, and we provide value".