Terrific story in the Philadelphia Inquirer about a new pizza delivery service there called Muncho, founded by an investment banker who got frustrated when he couldn't get a pizza delivered at 10 pm on a Sunday. Adam Chain decided the answer was "tricking out a van with an oven to bake pizzas en route to a customer and developing an app that allows ordering and payment."
He got a chef to design "a pizza that could be par-baked, refrigerated, and heated," and then "persuaded four Philadelphia-area investors to put up $150,000 for the beta version of what he calls 'the dream of pressing the button and next thing you know, food shows up at your door.'
"Muncho took shape quickly over the last year, Chain said. With the first round of funding, he acquired a Dodge Ram van and had it wrapped in a red and yellow logo, and bought an oven and a fridge. He had the mobile app built."
According to the story, "Chain leased kitchen space at the Arsenal, a business center in the city’s Bridesburg section, and began handing out fliers in the Fairmount and Spring Garden neighborhoods — specifically, the 19130 zip code — to drum up business for his first test, which launched in August.
"After that, Chain went back to tinker. The second Muncho pilot launched Thanksgiving weekend, with the van starting each day at 5 p.m. with a fridge full of pizzas from the commissary and roaming the streets till 10 p.m. or sellout.
"Chain said he was developing robotics to help automate some steps, which should smooth the process. When an order arrives on the app, the driver must pull over and climb into the back to put the chilling pizza into the oven for its six-minute bake. Once at the customer’s door, the driver must find a parking spot, pull the pizza from the oven, cut it and box it, and deliver … Chain said he was working on another round of funding ($2 million to $3 million) to expand throughout Philadelphia in 2022. He is looking to franchise zip codes, similar to how FedEx uses contractors to operate its 'pickup-and-delivery' routes, and expand Muncho offerings to salads and desserts. After that, he wants to open in other cities."
- KC's View:
Another example of how innovation can emerge in the food space … and how, if the project is appropriately funded and the test well executed, it might have legs.
The question is, does this idea prompt traditional retailers to think differently about how to grow their businesses?