UK startup Yhangry wants to democratise access to private chefs by delivering home-cooked meals at the click of a button.
Launched in May this year by Siddhi Mittal and Heinin Zhang, who teamed up after spending five years in the finance industry with the likes of Barclays and Goldman Sachs, the idea of Yhangry was born out of a desire to reduce people's reliance on takeaways, fuelled by the rise of food delivery startups like Just Eat, Deliveroo and Uber Eats.
The web-based platform enables users to request meals alongside the services of a chef two days in advance. The chefs are then dispatched to the homes to prepare the meals in person. Yhangry provides all the groceries through a third-party provider.
The startup was initially launched to provide weekly meal-preps, but following feedback from test customers a shift was made to include a private chef.
“We recently pivoted and started focusing on social gatherings to really reinvent dining at home and democratising private chefs, just like Uber democratise taxi services,” Heinin Zhang, cofounder at Yhangry told Techworld during the AllBright Pitch Day in London last month.
“The thing is, private chefs have always existed but the stigma around them is that they’re very expensive, charging about £100 per person, which is a lot to spend. That’s why we want to change that and give people the opportunity to enjoy being at home with meaningful connections, without being interrupted in a public space.”
Yhangry charges between £8-£30 per person with a minimum spend of £90 for its service, meaning it is firmly aimed at the dinner party crowd. You can design your menu and the service caters to all sorts of dietary requirements, from vegan to keto.
Unlike Uber Eats, Yhangry places itself at the other end of the spectrum, as it seeks to diminish takeaway orders from well known restaurants.
“It’s very much an end-to-end service and we’re in the process of fully automating it on the customer end where you simply select the dishes, pay and you’re done. In the future we hope to deliver an app which may include features like split bill, inviting your friends over and making it a seamless process,” she added.
Yhangry hand picks chefs from a number of different online and physical venues such as Gumtree, Facebook and cooking schools. “These people are part of an early-stage startup, they represent our brand and they represent us, so we need to be very selective,” Zhang said.
After going through the required security Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), health and safety and hygiene checks, Yhangry are able to try out meals and test the chef's services, before advertising them on the platform.
“I wouldn’t describe it as a chef agency because of how we work. We take on the grocery part, so essentially it’s like a 360 degree service because chef agencies provide the chefs but not the groceries,” she explained.
“Another analogy is that we’re bringing the restaurant experience to the home from the beginning and with the selection of dishes, it will be something we embed into the platform using AI to modernise your preferences, but we are in the early stages of developing that algorithm.”