Food delivery wars are heating up: A few weeks after restaurant delivery middleman Caviar announced it had received $13 million in funding, meals-on-demand service SpoonRocket has raised $11 million in Series A funding led by Foundation Capital. SpoonRocket, a service that started in the East Bay but plans to serve full lunch and dinner in S.F. by the end of June, follows the same model as Sprig : You order from a choice of a few entrees online or through the app, and then it's delivered hot to your door within 10 minutes, or so it claims.
I tried a salmon nicoise salad to SF Weekly headquarters a few days ago (SpoonRocket is now delivering lunch to most of the city). The driver was 12 minutes away, then 8, and then the app crashed, so I couldn't track him anymore -- but I got a robocall telling me that my driver was two minutes away, at which point I went out to the curb to wait. He showed up in a SpoonRocket-branded car and handed me my salad from an insulated bag, along with a bonus doughnut, and sped off.
The salad was kind of a disaster -- the green beans and potatoes were completely waterlogged and tasteless and I had to pick them out The salmon was overcooked and the black olives were the California Ripe variety, the kind that kids use to decorate their fingers, which was fine but not exactly French, or gourmet in any way. I haven't had a hot meal from the service yet, but I've heard from a few trusted sources that the quality has been found wanting.
But SpoonRocket CEO Steven Hsiao says that he plans to use his new capital to build out a better engineering team -- presumably so the app doesn't crash when you're trying to track your meal -- and, more importantly, hire a new executive chef. Barney Brown, formerly of the Rotunda, will head up the kitchen program, and will be aided by a few other chefs to improve the food quality.
The company also has a sense of social responsibility. For every meal purchased, SpoonRocket donates a meal to World Food Program, and also donate all leftover meals to Bay Area shelters by the end of the day.
So right now the fight to become the "Uber for food" is anyone's game. I've ordered dinner from Sprig a few times since I reviewed it for a story on the new wave of food delivery, and have been consistently impressed by the food quality and quickness of delivery. But, SpoonRocket is a few bucks cheaper (the meal price is the same at $8, but they don't charge the extra $2 delivery fee), and if they can use this money to improve quality and user experience, I might be ordering from them as often.