During a dinner with friends, with dishes ordered through a delivery application, Guilherme Parente and kitchen chef Fernanda Kanitz commented on the idea of an application in which chefs could offer their dishes made at home. The dinner conversation didn’t last until dessert. In six months, Parente designed the startup project and launched, in 2016, Apptite, an application similar to the conversation with Kanitz. “We want to solve the food problem on a daily basis, from a dish made wonderful at lunch to a more sophisticated dinner during the week”, comments the CEO.
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In the last five years, the marketplace present only in São Paulo has already had more than 6 thousand chefs registered on the platform. Today there are 900 active cooks, called authorial chefs, who cook more than one hundred thousand dishes inside their homes per month. Calls from dark kitchens (kitchens dedicated only to preparing meals for delivery), this sales model was already growing even before the pandemic. For Euromonitor, the market could be worth up to $ 1 trillion worldwide by 2030.
The growth of dark kitchens and delivery meal orders also impacted amateur cooks, who decided to venture between the pans to earn extra income. Thus, last year the application doubled its turnover and grew 130% in sales of dishes.
However, to increase revenue, at the end of last year the startup decided to boost its customers by franchising the brand. “Some of our chefs even earn up to R $ 40 thousand reais per month, while others do not exceed R $ 2 thousand. This does not mean that the quality of the meal is inferior, but that they need a change in the menu ”, comments Parente.
Following a trend survey commissioned by the brand, it was established that pasta and hamburgers are the most sought after dishes by customers. Thus, with an initial investment of R $ 15,000 in the franchise, cooks receive R $ 5,000 in inputs, including pasta, meat, already portioned and deep-frozen sauces, to follow the recipes on the established menu and maintain the brand standard. Of the sales, cooks keep 75% of the value. The return on investment in the franchise happens in up to 6 months, according to Parente.
In return, the startup offers marketing support, disclosure, delivery made with third-party motorcycle couriers, financial management and items like bags, tags and seals. In addition, franchisees must purchase ingredients for recipes through the Apptite Shop, online store of suppliers selected by the startup.
Through the application or website, it is possible to search for meals by the name of the dish or the chef. The menu ranges from tapioca stuffed with eggs and cheese to pumpkin risotto with prawns. It is also possible to buy frozen dishes, from individual portions to portioned meals for 14 days, in addition to sweets, drinks and emporium items such as breads, pies and fresh pasta.
But in times of pandemic, how to trust the quality of the products? “Cooks need to prove that they participated in Anvisa’s course on good food handling practices. In addition, we do an inspection of the kitchen ”, comments Parente. To sell meals through the app, “cooks also need to be an Individual Microentrepreneur (MEI) and like to cook”, he adds. To stay on the platform, chefs need to maintain a minimum score of 4.7 on a scale of 0 to 5.
With a positive year for the brand, Parente expects to double revenue by 2021 and register up to 40% new chefs on the platform, whether franchisees or authors. “We were born as a marketplace. Our ambition is to become a great food chain for home chefs, who sell on any channel ”, comments Parente about the entry of dishes in the Uber Eats app. “We want to be the largest food chain in Brazil”, he concludes.