Many have tried and few have succeeded. The home food industry trying to replace the daily menu or the sandwich maker has a lot of good intentions and it’s also a lot complicated. The pandemic, unlike other sectors, has complicated the bet. ApetEat is one of those who, with work, it managed to get ahead even by changing its business model.
Founded by Pablo Samaranch on November 20, 2015, the story of the homemade food company for companies begins like so many others: in a consulting firm and with endless working days. Working for one of the biggest in the industry and moved to Barcelona for personal reasons, the entrepreneurial sector has arrived without wanting it and without asking for it.
After leaving a position in Madrid and being poorly chosen in Barcelona, there was nothing to lose by trying something new. He didn’t do it alone. Antonio Samaranch, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had been behind his cousin, Pablo Samaranch, for some time to take the idea to the next level. And not everyone has a cousin like that. His idea was to develop a business that would serve as a substitute – or democratizer, if we use the buzzword – for office canteens. A way to offer home cooking to company employees without having to resort to buffets, daily menus or machines. Also so that they could invest their restaurant tickets.
With little or no investment, Samaranch has achieved good results. It was a win-win for everyone: companies had a system to control the flow of their employees’ expenses without investing in facilities, and the employees had food. Everyone happy. Except catering, of course.
It was a good idea that few had explored. Wetaca, which is also part of home delivery, has focused on the private sector. Cocopí, which dealt with commercial estates, also addressed individuals. ApetEat, for its part, negotiated directly with the companies. This would be one more offer in the catalog of benefits for employees.
“I saw the numbers from my cousin, who was also not an expert in the matter, and I saw that it worked. People appreciated having homemade and healthy food. We spent time collaborating and I made him an association proposal. I came from a world consulting firm for what my bet was very aggressive, I wanted to set it up as a high-growth startup, with a lot of funding, without salary for a moment, lifeless for two years… After careful consideration, he made the decision not to do so. approach aggressive, he didn’t like it and there was also a big risk”.
Finally, and back in Madrid, the idea took shape again with a new partner and without the cousin. At the same time, the idea was to grow this aggressive version of ApetEat in the capital. And it went well.
Launched after the summer of 2016, and having created all the operations and technology, the homemade food business for businesses was running. With little investment in marketing, since it depended on the companies themselves, the results were good. With outsourced kitchens in different parts of the peninsula –so if one failed, the other could get back to work–, concluding agreements with large multinational companies, and having raised 500,000 euros from family and friends and nearly 2 million funds, technology has reached quite solvent numbers.
Until the pandemic comes and everything is wasted. From a bill of 130,000 euros it rose to 30,000 in just a few days. The home-made office kitchen business model made no sense without the most logical: employees in their workplace.
ApetEat’s daunting task of moving from office to home
Unlike Cocopí, which we have already talked about in hypertextual, the registry change pleased ApetEat. For the former, the change in business model, which went from distribution to a single point – companies – to each of the homes of those who request it, was a mortal blow. It was different logistics with totally different expenses. ApetEat, with a business model in which the customers are the companies themselves and the users are the employees, has been looking for the loophole in which to grow.
They had to hire delivery people from companies in the sector. “In this, we want to comply with current regulations and not have any problems with them,” Samaranch points out to hypertextual. They also had to change the way they sell themselves. It wasn’t just food delivered to homes, it was also “a service, food and wellness business, a SaaS for the business so anyone could have a canteen, even if it is numeric”.
And he was right. During the months of confinement, certain social benefits have been limited. The canceled catering services or the famous restaurant tickets, all to realize that after all, food could be made at home. Nothing could be further from the truth, there are companies that, months later, had to return to their employees the benefits limited at that time.
But what is happening in the era of telecommuting? Companies like ApetEat have had to convert. Closer to the Wetaca model, but retaining its relationship with the company, the idea is that – whether at work or at home – the employee can always benefit from home-cooked food. In this way, and always trying to adapt to reality, They deliver where the employee is. In other words: the food follows the employee wherever he goes.
“We are making this benefit also for those who are at home, for telecommuting, so that they do not lose this facility. It is something that we cover, despite all that we have been through.”
Now they continue to try to grow under a hybrid work model that seems to be starting to take hold, permanently, in big city companies. They have a total of 15,000 meals per month, a lot considering the situation and few compared to the pre-pandemic period. With all, ApetEat wants to keep growing and grow the business. Its founder specifies that they are in the midst of a financing round. 1.5 million euros to take it to the next level and, if they can, forget that everything changed in March 2020.