ChefDay: When a startup dies.

ChefDay: When a startup dies.

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While researching for another story we came across a startup called ChefDay which was launched invite only on July 10th, 2012. The startup promised to be “Fine-cooking made simple and fun”, it was compared as a way to get Bravo’s TopChef experience straight in your home.

The idea is pretty simple, ChefDay would come up with a few recipes each week which you allow your users to select from, based on which recipes they choose ChefDay would buy the ingredients in bulk and then package all the ingredients, in a few days you would end up with a box on your doorstep and each recipe came with a video of a chef actually cooking it.

July 10th 2012 – ChefDay launches.
Sept 2012 – Blue Apron launches with $8 million in funding.
July 2013 – ChefDay shuts down.
Sept 2013 – Plated launches with $3.5 million in funding.
March 2015 – Munchery launches with $7.92 million in funding.
(Source for funding numbers: Pando)

In June users were given a banner ad at the top of the screen to alert them to upcoming changes within the company.

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Dear Chefs,

You love our french recipes inspired by the motherland. Well, don’t act surprised when we tell you we’re doing our duty as diligent french patriots and taking the summer off!

Jokes.

Seriously though, we are temporarily refraining from providing deliveries, effective immediately.

As a fast-evolving startup, we are in a crucial phase of transition and are getting ready to announce very exciting news in the following months. We, therefore, have decided that in order to keep providing you with great recipes and high quality products, it was important that we dedicate all of our attention and energy to this transition.

However, in the meantime, you can continue to enjoy our delicious recipes by cooking them yourself and using our step-by-step videos and instructions. We’ll be back soon to deliver the ingredients to your door.

If you had purchased a certificate, please contact us at hello@chefday.com. We will get back to you within 1 business day.

We thank you for your dedicated support. Keep on cooking!

A bientot,

– The Chefday team

Now it’s been over a year and a half, and no sign that the company was able to turn anything around or come back to life.

 

They even had great press, on June 13th, 2013 they were talked about in a CNBC article “Bon Appetit! Start-Ups for Time-Pressed Chefs“.

 

What went wrong? And how did it go so wrong so quickly?  A startup that launched had spent all its money and was shutdown a meer year later in July.

Whats odd is that the entire website still remains, as if held in an eerie time capsule of itself. Their twitter account hasn’t been updated to even reflect the shutdown.

 

When users try to login or create an account, they are greeted with an error, “We’re sorry, but something went wrong.”
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It was actually pretty difficult to find any record of VC funding with the company, so we won’t know how much was wasted on this venture.  But based on the small amount of twitter followers, we’re going to guess that ChefDay was never able to grab the numbers that the heavy hitters in the startup world were able to get.

There seems to be a trend where startups that are bootstrapped need to be an instant success or other companies backed by serious bucks will use a combination of promo codes and gifts to price the industry out of the market.

These food startups all tend to start off the same way, launch with great press, give away the farm in free food and items to get customers hooked before another startup and competitor launches.  The problem is that the customers that they are targeting are extremely unloyal, and the second another company launches, we have no problem with changing our focus.

The people who are winning this startup battle aren’t really the startups, they tend to be the smart consumer that takes advantage of the competition.

So now it’s a question of Plated, Munchery, Blue Apron & others will follow the same fate.  I guess time will certainly tell.

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Tiffany Rush 113 posts

Tiffany Rush My background includes being a novelist and a non-fiction writer specializing in MBA thesis topics. Additionally I'm an investor and strategist for a few tech startups (which will not be written about here). Go ahead, challenge my wit!

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2 Comments

  1. Delivery Joy
    June 11, 13:33

    I came across this website too while doing research for our meal delivery service catalogue and thought it was so weird how it’s frozen in time. There is a new startup with a very similar business model (and name) called “Chef’d”…I wonder if there is any relation?

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