By: Justin Taubman ’16 MBA Candidate
As we prepare for the Pitch Dingman Competition Finals on Tuesday, February 16 at 6 p.m. in Stamp’s Colony Ballroom, I will introduce the competitors who have not yet been featured in the blog this year. Today I will introduce you to WeCook.
When I asked Ryan Pillai, Founder of WeCook, to describe to me in a nutshell what service their company provided, he explained “We send a professional chef once a week to bulk cook meals for your week.” He went on to describe how it works. A chef arrives with all of the required groceries and cooking utensils to your home. The chef then prepares up to a week’s worth of food in a short appointment and packages the meals in individual containers for future consumption.
A while back when Ryan got off the University of Maryland’s student dining plan, he found it very difficult to eat healthy all week, so he began preparing all of his meals at the beginning of each week. Some of Ryan’s friends started following suit and eventually they decided to turn their habit into a business. They eventually realized they could hire professional chefs to deliver this service to individual’s homes.
Today, WeCook is operating in DC, MD, and VA and their chefs are cooking 220 meals per week. Their growth was achieved through several marketing strategies. Through online marketing, the startup targeted their primary customers, working mothers. The team at WeCook have also been very active by attending conferences and networking events, engaging in as many opportunities to speak about their product as possible. Ryan told me that they have also begun performing demonstrations in organic grocery stores and farmer’s markets, which should help them with their word-of-mouth campaign strategy.
I found it very interesting to hear what Ryan thought his biggest hurdle has been. “In the sales process, it can be very difficult to convince someone that they need a personal chef,” said Ryan. “It is going to require people’s behaviors to change. But I always make sure to use the line that our service is as low as $7.99 per meal, which is less than a Chipotle burrito.” I am sure Uber’s customers felt the same way about having a private driver until they realized the convenience and ease of the service. Hopefully WeCook will be able to capitalize on the behavior transformation that Uber and other services have initiated.
Check out WeCook’s Facebook page and make sure to come out and watch them pitch next Tuesday for a shot at the $15,000 Grand Prize.