Restaurant kitchens across the country are trying to manage customers while also managing labor shortages. This means it’s important to get new employees up and running faster.
Josh Sharkey, chef, founder and CEO of meez, a recipe management app for chefs, started the company in 2020 so that food and beverage professionals could digitally manage and execute recipe workflow, from creation and cost to organization and training. That training pain point is one that Sharkey has continued to hear from kitchens.
“Right away we can see the impact of how they can train much faster than before to make sure that when someone new comes on board, it doesn't take them a month, but for some, only a couple of days,” Sharkey told TechCrunch. “Anecdotally, we have several case studies where there's almost like an 80% decrease in the time it takes to train a new employee because they embedded meez in their organization and can now just hand off things that they need to execute on.”
Sharkey is not alone: other startups, like Galley, a food data company, are lending their approach to helping this industry. For Galley, it raised $14.2 million in Series A funding earlier this year to help kitchens with predictive purchasing, smart inventory and accurate food production planning.
We previously profiled meez last January when the company announced a $6.5 million seed round. At the time, the company was working with around 750 customers and has increased that to 1,200 kitchens worldwide, including fine dining and fast casual restaurants, culinary schools, ghost kitchens and catering companies. It also now has tens of thousands of active users.
Now meez is back with new funding, $11.5 million in Series A capital, led by Craft Ventures. Joining Craft is Struck Capital, FJ Labs, AME Cloud Ventures, Moving Capital, Max Mullen, Lenny Rachitsky, Mike Montero, Bobby Lo, Austin Rief, Louis Beryl, James Beshara, Allison Pickens and the Todd & Rahul Fund.
The new investment gives meez $18 million in total funding. The company wasn’t planning to raise as soon as it did, but while working on a partnership that accelerated growth, meez began hitting milestones befitting a Series A company, and Craft Ventures preempted the round, Sharkey notes.
“It was really just a smart move,” he added. “We were growing fast, had a lot more customers and felt a responsibility to make sure we could serve them.”
Along with an increased customer base, meez nearly tripled its revenue since the beginning of the year and has 41 employees. It is also now offering a free version of its platform for individuals who get unlimited recipes and recipe books, recipe sharing and publishing to the web. It also has two other paid tiers for kitchen teams that start at $49 per month.
Sharkey intends to deploy the new funds into product and engineering teams, marketing and new premium features. For example, chefs will be able to assess how their recipes contribute to the profitability and success of the business and then be able to adjust their menu items based on sales, demand and margin data. In addition, meez is working on a new component targeting bakers (and chefs who do a lot of R&D) that will help with percentages of ingredients.
“The short term is still creating a universal recipe language that everybody in the world can use in the medium to store, create, organize and share your recipes,” he added. “The long-term vision is growth and adding more value to holistically what happens in the business to help them generate more revenue through the lens of their recipes.”