This article originally appeared on Built In Austin, here.
By: Kelly Jackson
A new startup is capitalizing on the popularity of catered lunches as a perk — and feeding many Austin tech startups along the way.
Sifted arrived in Austin last year after successfully launching in Nashville and Atlanta. The company partners with area tech companies to provide data-driven, office-sponsored lunches through a digital order and delivery process.
“Our job is to fuel [startup employees] with food that motivates creative thinking while understanding their high level of stress,” said co-founder Kimberly Lexow. “We don’t feel like a traditional catering company — we feel more like a professional service.”
By removing the responsibilities of the business in planning company lunches, Sifted says it saves about two hours a day for whoever is in charge of lunch coordination for an office of 100 people. That’s about $18,000 in savings a year — and 10 hours a week of an office admin’s time.
Through the platform, workers don’t have to spend time placing daily orders. Instead, whenever a company signs up, it designates the dates, delivery times and frequency of lunch delivery. Sifted also collects all employee nutritional requests at the start of the agreement to ensure every meal meets individual needs.
“Part of the service means that as we’re onboarding the client, we’re collecting all the dietary restrictions of the team,” said Lexow. “We accommodate all dietary needs.”
This dietary data also acts, in part, as inspiration for the menus. Their four Austin-based chefs collaborate on a menu based on user data and food trends, using local ingredients for every meal.
“I think our clients really appreciate that we embody a data-driven lunch,” said Lexow. “We know down to the ounce how much in raw ingredients to purchase. We know how much our clients eat.”
Here’s how it works: Every company is assigned a “host,” who delivers the food, sets up the eating space and stays for the entirety of lunch. During eating, they can answer any nutritional facts about the food and explain the inspiration for specific items on the menu.
When the company has cleared out after lunch, the host will clean up and pack up leftovers to either stack in the company fridge or donate to an Austin homeless shelter. All meals and leftovers are weighed to help track how much food is consumed on average.
“We’re able to really get to the know the staff and have an impact on the city as well,” said Jess Legge, co-founder.
Sifted currently partners locally with the teams at Aceable, Quantcast and Civitas Learning. Lexow said a big focus in 2017 will be to expand their Austin presence while opening their latest market in Denver.
Pricing begins with a 12-month partnership that varies between $12 to $16 per person based on the size of company and delivery frequency.