Corporate lunch-delivery service EAT Club announced today it has acquired Bay Area-based meal delivery service Taro. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
EAT Club, who currently serves San Francisco, Silicon Valley, and Los Angeles, bills itself as a “virtual cafeteria” that delivers meals to offices, among them Facebook and Postmates. Workers can log onto the digital menu and choose from sandwiches, salads, wraps, and hot entrees which range between healthy (salmon salad) and hearty (turkey club). One person can input all the orders into EAT Club’s website or app, or invite individual employees to add to an order. Once an order is placed, Eat Club will then notify users when the food has arrived, and where it’s been set up (e.g., the conference room).
EAT Club previously had operations in NYC, too, but suspended those in August of 2018, seemingly due to how saturated the corporate catering space is in that city. Prior to that, the company acquired Farm Hill, another corporate catering service.
Taro, meanwhile, is best known for its “homestyle” Indian, Korean, and Chinese fare that also prioritize healthy, fresh ingredients. The company did a $2.8 million venture round in December of 2017.
For EAT Club, Taro brings its proprietary recipes as well as some new technology to the table with this acquisition. In particular, Taro’s distribution tech attracted EAT Club, though details are few and far between as to what exactly Taro has: “They’ve built some really interesting things we want to keep competitively secret on the equipment side,” EAT Club CEO Doug Leeds told TechCrunch.
As digital tech makes it easier to facilitate, ordering, payment, and delivery of corporate lunches, the number of startups popping up to serve this demand keeps growing. Besides EAT Club, Chewse, also in the Bay Area, recently raised $19 million for its “family-style” meals. ezCater just raised $100 million in a Series D round, and Hungry, which connects companies directly to the chef, raised $1.5 million and services areas like Virginia, Washington D.C., and Maryland.
According to the press release, EAT Club and Taro teams will integrate moving forward.
EAT Club also announced today, via a different press release, a Zero Carbon Initiative to invest in renewable energy and support carbon recapture projects. To do so, EAT Club is teamed up with sustainability consulting firm 3Degrees, with whom it’s building a “custom renewable energy and carbon offset program.” The program will match all of EAT Club’s electricity usage with renewable energy generation. It will also make its packaging recyclable or compostable. Leeds told TechCrunch that the company’s biggest environmental impact thus far is with transportation. Given that Taro has some technology secrets aimed at distribution up its sleeve, it’s possible some of the assets EAT Club just acquired could go towards helping lessen that footprint and find a more eco-friendly way to deliver lunches to the corporate world.