Finding a path to product/market fit, investment, and growth.
Every business inevitably faces various challenges and re-routes. And nowhere is finding the right path more critical than in the early stages of a startup like HUNGRY.
To gain traction, HUNGRY needed to understand product / market fit, how to attract profitable users, and secure a next round of funding to continue product refinement and market expansion. But with 70% of tech startups failing within the first 20 months, and only 20% achieving their projected return on investment, making HUNGRY a desirable and viable business would require a smart strategy.
HUNGRY launched their platform in 2016 as a home-cooked meal delivery service. Their core mission was to help chefs supplement their income and build their brand while giving people healthier and tastier meal options. Similar to Uber and AirBNB’s business model, HUNGRY served a two-sided market (chefs & consumers) and made a percentage on each meal sold through their platform.
HUNGRY made the choice to enter the $3.5 billion dollar meal delivery space— a highly competitive and crowded market with a number of well-funded platforms that already held significant market share (e.g. Munchery, Sprig, Caviar, Homemade, GrubHub, UberEats).
While HUNGRY originally asked us to help with a go-to market strategy, we identified the need to immediately reframe the challenge. Faced with increasing competitive pressures, rising logistics costs that squeezed margins, delivery inconsistencies that impacted user experience, low traction among consumers and prospective investors, and a lack of clarity around a path to profitability and scale, HUNGRY needed to reevaluate their product positioning, and overall consumer value proposition to find a viable path forward.
“Does HUNGRY address an unmet need in a way that is better than any of the alternatives?”
This was the first question we asked ourselves and what we aimed to validate with our solution for HUNGRY.
Over the course of 8 months, we worked closely with HUNGRY’s executive leadership team to develop a comprehensive view of their brand and product in the market, and better understand the perception and experience it had among target audiences.
“You must first understand where you exist today to know where you need to exist in the future. It’s today’s insights that lead to tomorrow’s breakthroughs.”
– BRINKism #7
After conducting a thorough competitive analysis and a series of hands-on workshops, focus groups, audience surveys, and interviews, we identified key insights around user needs and discovered untapped “white space” opportunity for brand and product differentiation.
We used our insights and learnings to develop and deliver a product sequencing plan that included a revised pricing structure along with a brand and marketing strategy that would drive user adoption and growth.
Key deliverables over the course of the engagement:
Through our research, it was evident that a “local chef” preparing your meal was not enough of a value-add to shift user behavior away from other quick and cheap meal delivery options. However, there was tremendous value in the idea of a “chef-prepared” meal and the direct correlation it had to quality, freshness, and uniqueness.
Therefore, offering another commoditized single meal delivery service was not going to be sustainable. In order to be profitable and scale, we determined that HUNGRY needed to shift its business model from delivering individual meals to multiple locations to delivering a larger quantity of meals to a single location while also infusing the chef’s story into the overall customer experience.
As a result of our insights and strategic recommendations, HUNGRY found product/market fit, pivoting from a home-cooked meal delivery service to a chef-prepared office catering experience, all while staying true to their original mission and purpose — to help chefs supplement their income and build their brand while giving users healthier and tastier options.
“[BRINK] uncovered a critical pivot we needed to make to our business model in the early stages and position in the market. Their hands-on approach discovered unexpected insights that helped us to clarify a long-term vision and more impactful value proposition.”
– Shy Pahlevani, Co Founder HUNGRY
Today, HUNGRY is using their technology and service to disrupt the $25 billion dollar business and events catering market. They have a vast network of independent chefs using their platform to sell their cuisines to corporate customers and hundreds of leading organizations using their platform to give their employees better lunch options.
Since working with us, they have expanded into new markets including Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Boston and raised $8 million in Series A and $20 million in Series B funding from celebrity investors.
Let’s see if we are the right fit.