South Africa’s most popular meal-kit delivery service, UCook, plans on launching brick-and-mortar stores towards the end of 2019, David Torr, its CEO and co-founder, says.
It follows in the footsteps of online kitchen and homeware group Yuppiechef, which recently open its first brick-and-mortar store in the Cape Town.
Torr says after three years in business delivering recipes and ingredients, UCook has a wealth of valuable consumer food preferences data it plans to use to develop the stores.
“Two stores are being planned with an offering that extends across other ready-made meal categories as well as condiments and sauces, all curated user insight and purchase data,” Torr told Business Insider South Africa.
More detail about the stores’ locations will be released closer to their launch.
Torr, expelled from some of South Africa’s top school and voted "most likely to end up in prison" by his copywriting peers at Red and Yellow creative school, founded UCook alongside Chris Verster Cohen in 2015.
“I figured the commercial opportunity was interesting with factors like Woolworths strength in a period of relative economic decline and the success of brands like Yuppiechef selling ‘cooking utensils’,” Torr, now 28, says.
Woolworths and Yuppiechef’s success, Torr says, showed that people are willing to spend money on good quality food – and that the early adopters of e-commerce in South Africa enjoyed cooking.
Three years after launching with 21 meal kits made in a garage in Cape Town, UCook is now close to delivering 100,000 meals a month.
That should see it hit R79.5 million in turnover by the end of the year.
“Considering running revenues at the start of this year were around R3 million, we consider this a great achievement,” Torr says.
But, he says UCook made some mistakes along the way.
“On our first day in 2015, for example, we delivered all of our meal boxes, but failed to deliver any recipe cards. We went from 21 orders of mainly family and friends, to zero.”
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