It’s the ultimate culinary dilemma — tired of eating out, but too tired to cook. But fear no longer, weary gourmands, for the startup world has an answer for you, and its name is Menu Next Door. Think of it as the Airbnb of food — the European startup lets you “explore what’s cooking in your neighborhood,” relying upon your community to prepare delicious, self-prepared meals for a reasonable price.
Fresh off a $2 million round of funding from Index Ventures, Local Globe, Kima Ventures, and TheFamily, the company is looking to introduce a new model for food startups. Sure, the delivery space is saturated — there’s a new meal kit at every corner, and recipe sites abound — but there seems to be less competition when it comes to building a community of cooks willing to prepare food for one another.
Despite the fact that Menu Next Door is currently available only in Brussels and Paris, it boasts an impressive 900 home cooks — 600 in Belgium and another 300 in France. With London the next stop, 110,000 people are already making use of this food-sharing platform. Each meal costs users around 10 euros, or about $11 U.S.
At the core of Menu Next Door is its reliance upon community, the startup notes. “Meeting your chef and getting the chance to talk to them about the dish they’ve prepared is what makes this something more than just a takeaway,” reads the company website.
And yes, you do have to meet them — this isn’t a delivery service. If you want to try someone else’s cooking, you’ll have to physically go to their abode to collect it.
Of course, this isn’t necessarily the most convenient of experiences. After all, the distinctly humanizing touch of having a neighbor prepare food for you means that you’ll have to plan ahead rather than deciding what you’re craving on the fly.
But because there are no associated delivery fees and you’re effectively giving money straight to your home cook, costs are relatively low (both for you and Menu Next Door). And of course, as the startup grows, so too will its community of cooks, which may make the whole experience a bit more seamless.