At meal-delivery startup Home Appetit, the chef's in charge

ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Chef Lee Wallach rents kitchen space at the Farm and Fisherman on Pine Street near 11th to run his business, Home Appetit. He cooks up and delivers fresh meals so that busy people can still dine well.
ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Chef Lee Wallach rents kitchen space at the Farm and Fisherman on Pine Street near 11th to run his business, Home Appetit. He cooks up and delivers fresh meals so that busy people can still dine well.
Posted: August 07, 2014

L EE WALLACH, 28, of Center City, is the chef and owner of the meal-delivery startup Home Appetit. Wallach worked behind the stoves of eateries in the Napa Valley and New York City before coming to Philadelphia. He rents the kitchen at the Farm and Fisherman, on Pine Street near 11th, where he prepares meals for delivery.

Q: How'd you come up with the idea for Home Appetit?

A: I moved to Philadelphia and started a personal-chef business in late 2012 and went to people's homes and prepared meals for the week. I was maxed out and wanted to scale this concept. That was in May 2013.

Q: How much startup money, and where did you get it?

A: I bootstrapped the business and it sort of morphed from the personal-chef business.

Q: How's the biz work?

A: It's a weekly fresh-meal delivery service with a unique menu, completely different each week. Clients log on to our website, make selections and choose a delivery time. They get four or five days of meals, which can be for lunch or dinner. The menus consist of greens, grains and entrees, which are composed dishes or just a roasted chicken.

Q: The biz model?

A: Orders are placed from Thursday to Saturday, and that dictates what I need to buy, prepare and where it needs to go. On Mondays, I and two other chefs come to the Farm and Fisherman at 6 a.m., prepare meals and deliver from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Q: What do meals cost?

A: They start at $100 per person for four to five meals. It's $50 for each additional person, so as you scale up with a family it's more cost-effective.

Q: Your customers?

A: I have CHOP doctors, retirees and empty-nesters who live in the city. I also have young families with moms and dads. They either don't want to cook or don't have time. We have 65 to 75 customers, which translates to 90 to 150 meals. A customer may be a person or family.

Q: What separates you from similar startups?

A: I have a business background and am also a chef. After graduating from college, I worked for [Hillstone] Restaurant Group and managed restaurant finances and became a chef. Most meal-delivery startups are run by [biz]-school grads. Being a chef helped me be more creative.

Q: The biggest challenge growing the business?

A: I'd really like to hit the ground and market to condo and office buildings and child-care centers. I'm hoping our new website frees up some of my time because it will do the work I used to do in front of a computer.

Q: How big a biz is this?

A: I'm full time, plus two part-time chefs. I've also hired a couple of chefs/sous-chefs to take on some personal-chef clients.


On Twitter: @MHinkelman

Online: ph.ly/YourBusiness

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|