Foodservice giant Compass Group acquired the U.K. based office catering startup Feedr in March, according to TechCrunch, which reported the sale price at around $24 million. Feedr had previously raised $2.7 million in funding.
Pre-pandemic, Feedr provided office food delivery by connecting companies with restaurants. As we wrote previously:
Feedr works with local restaurants to create a rotating daily menu for office workers at participating companies. Employees can pay for lunches themselves or get a subsidy through their company. Feedr then coordinates the logistics and delivery of ordered food to the office.
Compass told TechCrunch that it plans to use Feedr’s tech to accelerate Compass’ digital transformation and become part of its “return to work” strategy.
What returning to work actually will look like is only just starting to become clear. Some companies have gone full-on remote work for the foreseeable future, while other offices will operate with staggered shifts and reduced capacity.
For companies that offered catered lunches pre-COVID, there is a question around if and what that particular perk will look like. First off, will companies have the money to fully cater meals for employees? If they can, what will those meals look like? With buffets banned at dine-in restaurants, it’s hard to imagine big troughs of food being brought out for people to rush and crowd around, all using the same serving utensils throughout lunchtime.
Given that the world is on fire, whether or not some people are able to get free lunches delivered to their workplace seems pretty trivial. But a lot of money was poured in office catering companies over the past couple of years: ZeroCater raised $17.6 million, eZCater raised $319.8 million, and DoorDash acquired Caviar from Square for $410 million. Will all that money disappear?
Since the future of work is so uncertain, there could be a lot of pivoting for these startups. In fact some smaller players already have. Ox Verte in NY switched to home office delivery, and Forkable added home delivery as well.
Feedr’s model, which offers a sliding scale of corporate subsidies for individually packaged restaurant meals, seems like it could mitigate some of the larger issues surrounding office catering. Even so, being acquired by a big company like Compass means Feedr at least doesn’t have to worry about surviving as a startup in this new world.