This coming Friday we have the team from UCOOK at the agency hosting their very first How To Friday session. The idea behind the brand is for you to select your preferred meal of choice, the team then handpicks the ingredients from local farmers and suppliers, perfectly portions and packages them in a box, and delivers it straight to your door with all the necessary step-by-step instructions and recipe cards. Sounds good, right? But before we get carried away, let’s get to know them and what the road to success has been like. This is what co-founder Chris Verster Cohen had to say:
The idea for UCOOK came about when “a bunch of aimless youths, with dreams of independence and tech grandeur stumbled upon, ‘one of the most convoluted and multi-faceted business models to date’. The model had done exceptionally well overseas, harnessed by an amalgamation of Ivy league graduates, with real expertise and serious IQs”
“Our team, with the courage only found in ignorance, thought they could replicate the success of the dinner-kit giants abroad. To date, we have made more mistakes than excel could compute, learnt more than we ever thought and, for the first time, look to be making a success of things”
Well, nobody said starting your own business would be easy. What have been some of the high’s and low’s?
- Moving out of one of the founding member’s parents’ garage
- Hitting 1000 meals delivered monthly
- Securing our first successful investment round
- Delivering our first batch of boxes without any recipe cards…the customer confusion was rampant
- Our website was deleted whilst trying to upload new functionality…. it was a long two days of sleepless activity before it went live again
- An early investment presentation was going brilliantly until one of the prospective investors who seemed ready, check book in hand, asked how many customers we had…. the answer at the time being 25.This setback made for a short presentation.
What does the future look like for UCOOK, let’s say, in the next five years?
“UCOOK would like to be up into Africa, disrupting the traditional grocery environment and pushing the farm to fork philosophy, with the help of rural farmers and local communities.”
And lastly, how would you rate the teams cooking skills?
“The teams cooking skills are varied, but the cooking environment in the office is one of heated competition. We all take turns to test the dishes curated by the chefs to make sure that they do not require serious kitchen aptitude.”