It’s a natural fit, because this is the startup that has been connecting many of those individual street vendors – people with a food stand or cart in the Mission, a truck, a pop-up café, or a stand at the Farmers Market – with the businesses downtown ordering meals for their employees.
Cater2.me has been growing rapidly this year, to the point that it has now served over 800,000 meals in the Bay Area. Recently, it started expanding into New York City as well.
The company makes money by charging commissions to the vendors, who are licensed chefs with access to commercial kitchens.
“We’ve been profitable since Day One,” says co-founder Zach Yungst. “And there’s a very different mentality building a company based on the money you’re earning vs. using external resources.”
(Such as funding from venture capitalists.)
In order to open the New York operation, Yungst’s co-founder, Alex Lorton, relocated there. Within a month, the company had signed up 50 local food vendors in Manhattan.
The two founders, who've known each other since they were freshmen in college, update each other daily with cross-country calls on Skype.
Cater2.me automates the ordering and billing procedures between the vendors and the offices ordering food, and also handles any customer service issues that arise.
The service has a ratings/feedback system with a 5-star scale to ensure that the vendors maintain both high quality dishes and hands-on service to those purchasing their food.
The vendors handle their own deliveries, but Cater2.me helps them schedule around events such as Giants games, etc., that could otherwise make them arrive late.
The service started out concentrating on the San Francisco market and early companies trying it out were other tech startups. Lately it has added some big-name firms, including Genentech and Apple.