Halifax-based personal chef service Easy Platter has joined the Seattle cohort of the prestigious TechStars accelerator, as it looks to cement its market position in Halifax, Vancouver and now Toronto.
Founded by CEO Mandhir Singh in 2020, Easy Platter matches customers with personal chefs to come to their homes and cook a supply of meals for them. The chefs’ cooking abilities are vetted by Easy Platter, and Singh said the company’s current policy is that any prospective chefs must have formal culinary training.
Singh said in an interview that Easy Platter is in the process of launching in the Greater Toronto Area via a series of localized “pop-up launches.” The expansion comes as rising food prices continue to leave restaurants and other food service companies grappling with rising input costs. Easy Platter's customers, though, choose and pay for the ingredients they want the chefs to use, offering them more control over factors like cost.
“If you are someone who wants to just go to Costco and pick up some ingredients, then the chef would come in and cook using those ingredients,” said Singh. “But if you’re someone who wants to be completely hands-off … we have more than 4,000 recipes on our website.”
The service costs $99.99 plus tax to have a chef visit for two or three hours per week and prepare nine meals, or $109.99 for a longer visit every two weeks. Customers can also request custom recipes, but if they want the chef to make a grocery-shopping trip, that costs an additional $29.99.
By comparison, Uber Eats charges 30 percent of an order's price in fees in Canada, in addition to the tip for the driver and the cost of the food, meaning habitual takeout customers could save money by switching to Easy Platter.
Singh said across the three cities where it is active, Easy Platter employs just under 20 chefs. The company itself has six staff, counting Singh, with plans to add another two or three operational and technical specialists. He added that his intention is to keep the team under 10 people.
“For now, the plan is to continue in the existing markets that we have,” said Singh. “Of course Halifax is home, so we continue to serve our customers here.
“For now, our active regions are going to be (Halifax, Toronto and Vancouver), but our prime focus of penetration is GTA.”
In Seattle, meanwhile, Singh said he is holding off on a capital raise until after the end of the TechStars program in January. Headquartered in Boulder, Colorado with branches in numerous American cities, the organization has a reputation for helping founders build strong fundraising networks.
“We were initially planning to do a fundraising round this side of the year, but based on the advisors, everybody said that we should wait for the TechStars program to get finished,” said Singh. “It’s going to add a lot of value to the business.
“The network that we’re getting here is just phenomenal. I’ve never seen so much inbound interest in the problem that we’re solving. This is literally day four of the program, and we have customers, investors and mentors knocking on our door.”