OneFineMeal: Daniel Kaplansky

With Just Eat and Pret A Manger experts behind him, this serial entrepreneur plans to make his angel funded start-up London's first 'proper' delivery service

Name: Daniel Kaplansky
Company name: OneFineMeal
Location: Greater London
Number of Employees: 4
Date launched: 01/09/14
Website: www.onefinemeal.co.uk

Tell us what your business does:

OneFineMeal is London’s first proper dinner delivery service; it’s chef service at takeaway cost. You can order wholesome gourmet dinners personally prepared by London’s top up-and-coming chefs for takeaway prices; plus we strive for organic and ethically-grown whenever possible so produce is sourced from local British growers within 100 miles of London.

Where did the idea for your business come from?

My vision has always been to bring awesome food back into Londoners’ homes. With my previous startup eatro.com, I was able to connect thousands of Londoners with their neighbours and let them share a homemade meal. This didn’t work out. We ended up micro-managing hundreds of different kitchens all across London. We knew we had to bring them all under one roof and that realisation was the birth of OneFineMeal.

How did you know there was a market for it?

I entered into a pre-accelerator programme Fast Forward London and that helped my team validate the proposition and prove that Londoners really were interested in ordering a proper affordable dinner.

What were you doing before starting up?

Running Eatro, a peer-to-peer marketplace for sharing homemade food between neighbours. The business united thousands of foodies across London and over 200 of their neighbour chefs to cook and share delicious homemade food.

Have you always wanted to run your own business?

Coming from a family entrepreneurs, the answer is absolutely yes. It’s the only thing I truly know: Find a business opportunity and to create value where there was none before.

How did you raise the money?

The company raised £50,000 from two business angels. We are looking for a further £150,000 of Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) funding.

Describe your business model and how you make money:

We sell delicious dinners online via our website and deliver it directly to customers around London. With funding we aim to expand to a retail location too.

What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?

Building a team without a product. It’s one thing to build a prototype, and then recruit team and raise funding. It’s another thing to have a vision of how dinner should be and to convince amazing people to join you and work with you. We were able to recruit the marketing director of Just Eat to sit on the board, as well as the ex-marketing director for Pret A Manger. We also recruited a first class chef to join us as co-founder. I think we overcame this challenge with passion and persistence.

What was your first big breakthrough?

Since none of us have ever worked in a restaurant before, the first day of launch was a hectic one. It was an amazing feeling to prepare, pack and deliver (without errors) over 10 separate orders on the first night of operations. Next milestone: 100 orders a night.

What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?

Don’t stop believin’!

Where do you want to be in five years’ time?

Where Just Eat is today.

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