Chef’d Partners With Byte Foods To Bring Meal Kits To Hundreds Of Offices

Posted On: 5/16/2018

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LOS ANGELES -- Continuing its retail expansion, Chef’d has partnered with Byte Foods to bring its meal kits into the workplace. Whether employees are preparing their meals at work or with their friends and family at home, Byte will provide instant access to a variety of Chef’d meal kits.

DINNER TO GO:  Byte Foods customers in pilot locations in Bay Area and Sacramento can now forgo takeout or delivery and grab a Chef’d meal kit on their way home to whip up a gourmet dinner in a snap.

The partnership will debut Chef’d’s quick-and-easy recipes and premium ingredients in 100 Byte Foods smart fridges beginning May 16, with plans to expand to all of its 500 machines over the next six months.

The meal kits will be featured alongside the standard salads, sandwiches, beverages and other fresh foods typically sold through Byte’s machines, which operators of the machines source from local third-party eateries. Byte and Chef’d will also partner to bring stand-alone Chef’d-branded fridges merchandised exclusively with the meal kits to a select number of offices and residential apartment buildings throughout the Bay Area.  

Each kit contains two or more servings of ready-to-cook, pre-portioned ingredients, including leafy greens and herbs, and USDA Choice proteins. Initial varieties available in Byte fridges will include smoky maple pork loin with Swiss chard and mashed sweet potatoes; chicken pad Thai with carrots and sugar snap peas; and 20-clove garlic chicken with mashed purple potatoes and spinach. The meal kits will retail in Byte’s smart refrigerators for $15.99 to $19.99 and have a 10-to-15-day refrigerated shelf life.

WHAT’S COOKING?: Chef’d kits in Byte smart fridges include smoky maple pork loin with Swiss chard and mashed sweet potatoes; chicken pad Thai with carrots and sugar snap peas; and 20-clove garlic chicken with mashed purple potatoes and spinach. They serve two to three people and retail for $15.99 to $19.99, with a 10-to-15-day refrigerated shelf life.

Following the anticipated success of its pilot, Byte plans to expand availability of Chef’d meal kits to the growing network of licensed operators of its technology in other markets across the U.S. “Chef’d is a natural partner for Byte. Both companies share a goal to provide effortless access to fresh meals,” said Byte Foods cofounder and chief executive Megan Mokri. “At 4 p.m., 80% of people don’t know what they’re having for dinner that night. By offering meal kits available for purchase in the office, Byte and Chef’d directly meet that last-minute delivery need while still allowing people to cook at home. It’s a win-win. This partnership will support Byte’s ability to boost employee wellness and create workplaces that better support their employees, both at work and at home.”

HAVE A BYTE: Byte Foods’ Megan and Lee Mokri demonstrate how customers swipe, grab and go at their automated smart-shelf refrigerators during National Automatic Merchandising Association’s recent NAMA Show. The novel machine and licensed technology to support it are available directly from Byte Foods and from Carlstadt, NJ-based Betson Enterprises, the nation’s largest vending equipment distributor.

Byte Foods' husband-and-wife cofounders Lee and Megan Mokri began as licensees of the technology in 2016 and soon acquired Pantry Retail Inc., the hardware and software provider for the intelligent swipe, grab and go refrigerators that they operated in the San Francisco Bay Area. They continue to build their own local footprint operating the machines in workplaces, hospitals, apartments and gyms and are now licensing the technology to entrepreneurs in other markets. | READ MORE

Customers swipe their credit card to open the smart fridge door and simply take the items they want. Byte’s smart shelf technology automatically “knows” what they purchased and charges the customer accordingly once they close the door. Byte’s real-time data allow Byte to algorithmically customize the assortment at every location, offering just the right mix of salads, sandwiches, breakfast items, meal-kits, snacks and drinks.

Byte recently upgraded to a second-generation smart fridge that the Mokris describe as being taller and sleeker, with better lighting and more affordable for operators.

“We are where the customer is instead of hoping the customer comes to us, and adding Chef’d meal kits saves them the thought of ordering or stopping on the way home for dinner and grabs a whole new daypart,” said Lee Mokri. He added that a big bonus with Byte Foods machines is that employers have the ability to subsidize all or some of the cost.

“It can be by a percent, like 25% all day every day, or by time of day, like 50% if an employee stays late, or by individual,” he instanced. “You can reward your sales team; when they swipe, they get a discount.”

Launched in April 2015 and headquartered in Los Angeles, Chef’d is a non-subscription-based ecommerce supplier that delivers fresh, pre-portioned ingredients that make it fast and easy for home chefs to prepare a restaurant-quality meal. It partners with celebrity chefs to create a variety of recipe options available any time and delivered as often as they desire.

In addition to its ecommerce business, Chef’d recently expanded into retail distribution in partnership with Smithfield Foods in grocery stores, including Costco, Harris Teeter, Tops, and Gelson’s.

“At Chef’d, our goal is to provide a rotating assortment of high-quality meal kits to more consumers in more places,” said Chef’d chief executive Kyle Ransford. “By partnering with Byte Foods, we are able to bring our meal kits to a new channel, beyond our current direct to consumer and traditional retail distribution and provide an innovative solution for grabbing dinner just before you leave work.”  

Chef’d emphasized that beyond expanded distribution, its partnership with Smithfield Foods combines its ecommerce insights, product development expertise, manufacturing assembly, and culinary know-how with Smithfield’s unique knowledge of product development and in-store marketing, sourcing capabilities and distribution network, and understanding of retail customers.