I love burritos, but I just wish they weren’t so big. You order one and a sizeable log smothered in (delicious) molé sauce shows up on your plate. It’s great, but it’s just too much, especially at lunchtime, because after I finish it I feel all bloated and unproductive.
This is why startup HalfPosh has created a lunch delivery service that serves only half portions of restaurant meals. “People are more productive when they eat less,” Ema Chuku, Founder of HalfPosh told me by phone. But it’s not just about being able to finish the PowerPoint presentation, with nearly 40 percent of US adults classified as obese, it’s also about being healthy.
Chuku, who previously lived in Italy, was baffled by the size of American meals, and so he started HalfPosh at the end of summer last year with tests in Chicago and LA. He’s had to do some convincing to get restaurants on board with creating what are essentially new menu items. “They always thought it would cost them more,” said Chuku “But it doesn’t really cost them more, it helps them move their product more.” Or, at least, that what’s he’s trying to prove out to them.
In LA, the company’s main base of operations, HalfPosh has 34 restaurant partners, mostly small regional chains, and delivers to the downtown and West LA areas. HalfPosh’s main target audience is freelancers, entrepreneurs and people working from home offices. The company just does lunches, deliverying only from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
HalfPosh only offers one menu per week, rotating each week. Access to the service itself costs $14.95 a month and there is no delivery fee for orders. From there people can pay as they go, or choose to pre-pay a certain amount, like say $100, and have their order amounts automatically debited as they go. Orders are placed via text messaging system inside the app, with menu items typically costing $7 per meal and food arriving within 45 minutes of ordering. Chuku says the company has 1,500 customers with the average user placing three orders per week.
In and of itself, $7 for a single-serve lunch isn’t cheap, but it seems about right in terms of value and perceived value. If it were much less, people probably would think it was too low and what they’d get for it wouldn’t be substantial.
Right now HalfPosh is self-funded by Chuku, has six employees and a small fleet of electric scooters and an electric Smart car. (Chuku himself does some of the deliveries.)
As someone who works from home, the idea of getting half-portions of restaurant meals delivered to me during the day is intriguing. As noted, not only do I not need to eat a full sit down meal at lunch every day, I also don’t want to throw away (or forget about) the half a burrito I don’t eat, so HalfPosh also seems like a pretty good way to combat food waste as well.
My biggest concern with HalfPosh is that if this concept gains traction, there’s no reason that a larger player couldn’t step in and offer the same thing. The likes of Uber Eats and GrubHub have more customers and therefore more leverage and incentive to get restaurants to either create half-portions of existing menus, or entirely new virtual kitchens that only does lunch and half-portions. Uber and GrubHub also have the logistical know-how, technology and infrastructure to efficiently bunch together a bunch of smaller orders into a single route.
But, there’s also a good chance that the onesie-twosie size of the freelancer/individual market that HalfPosh is going after isn’t on the scale a company like Uber or GrubHub needs in order to make it worth their while.
If you’re in LA and work from home, or just don’t want to eat as much for lunch, and want to try HalfPosh out, we’d love to hear what you think. Drop a comment or send us an email to tell us if it was satisfying, and if you get a burrito, let us know how big it was.