Daily Dish founders Diane de Villiers, 54, and Jo-Pierre Lerm, 33, are no strangers to digital start-ups. The pair were behind online lead generation service JustPlay and both worked at SA’s first online bank, 20twenty.
Their latest venture involves them packaging recipes and premium ingredients and delivering them to Cape Town professionals.
The site went live on Monday and offers customers a choice of three vegetarian and three meat dishes a week. These will be updated weekly. Daily Dish says it selects the best ingredients from local suppliers and delivers these to its customers, allowing them to make a meal for two, four or six people in about half an hour.
“We’re totally bootstrapping and self-funding Daily Dish,” says De Villiers. “Food is such a necessity and driver of wellbeing in your life. We were so tired of leaving work late at night and flying past Woolworths only to stand in the aisles trying to figure out what to buy.”
De Villiers says Daily Dish is aimed at people with a limited repertoire of cooking skills and who have limited time because they work long days. “We felt there were enough people like us who might use a service like this.”
Apart from removing the obstacle of finding time to shop, Daily Dish, which is aimed at “knowledge workers, agency people and other professionals”, also wants to remove the hassle of deciding what to cook. De Villiers says the website is positioning itself as a premium service. Meals cost between R140 and R220 for two portions.
“Often you want to try new things, but need a teaspoon of truffle oil, or a handful of mustard seeds, and you don’t want to have to buy those in bulk. Everything you need is in the box; the only thing we don’t supply is salt and pepper.”
While De Villiers is Cape Town based, co-founder Lerm lives in Turkey, having moved there with his Turkish wife.
Lerm is a self-taught developer and coded the site himself. His first major job in digital was at 20twenty. De Villiers’ background is in advertising. She was on the board of agency Ogilvy & Mather but moved to digital as soon as possible. “My direct marketing background meant I found digital fascinating, especially because the testing methodologies are similar.”
Daily Dish’s stock comes from people De Villiers says she trusts and knows, from local butchers and specialty suppliers to Asian supermarkets and large retailers like Woolworths. She says not only is she fussy about the food she eats and buys generally, but that this attitude towards quality is essential for a service like Daily Dish.
That’s also why the company is doing all of its own deliveries, at least to start with. De Villiers says it’s crucial ingredients are transported properly and that they arrive in the best condition possible. For now, deliveries occur between 6pm and 8pm, but this might be revised according to customer demand.
For now, the company only delivers to selected areas in Cape Town, from Bakoven and Bantry Bay to Woodstock and Zonnebloem.
Lerm says the pair wants to make sure the service is feasible before committing to anything broader.
If Daily Dish takes off, there are various options for expansion, including franchising or expanding to other regions. The first goal, however, is to look at “recurring revenue models” from weekly subscriptions. For now, Daily Dish encourages users to make purchases one at a time so they can try it.
De Villiers says the website is considering offering low-carb or other specialist options and may expand into items like wine or coffee or even essentials. “The most important thing is the convenience aspect,” she says. “We can’t rule out bread and milk or other basics if people keep asking for them.” — (c) 2012 NewsCentral Media