"There's plenty of room to grow in a dining market where everyone needs to eat, everyone likes convenience and everyone appreciates good value," Dempsey said. But he cautions that Munchery faces fierce competition, high labor and distribution costs and a fickle consumer base.
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Venture capitalist Pravin Vazirani at Menlo Ventures was a believer from the seed round. "What Munchery is trying to do is to be everyday solution for dinner at a price point that makes sense for people to use weekly if not daily," he said. "The closest competitor, as odd as it sounds, isn't other delivery services but rather grocery stores and cooking for yourself."
What distinguishes Munchery are the chefs it partners with, including alums of fine dining establishments, such as Le Bernardin, Daniel, Michael Mina, Chez Panisse and more. Last month, L.A.'s Roy Choi, whose food-truck success inspired the movie "Chef," signed on.
"Chefs are using Munchery as a platform to reach people in a way they couldn't do at even the busiest restaurants," Tran said. "If you have 30 seats or 50 seats, that puts a cap on how many people you can serve. For us, the limit is literally the city population itself."
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