uKitchen Closing Letter
It is with a heavy heart that uKitchen's founders Josh and Dale have decided to close uKitchen down.
It's been a long two years with peaks and troughs, many adventures and even more lessons. We started out uKitchen
very broadly wanting to be the sharing economy of food. In this day and age technology has allowed individuals
with certain skill sets to cater to the public without having to be a part of a company or organisation.
Do you have a license and you can drive? Become a concierge on Uber. Do you have a spare room in your home?
Become a hotelier on Airbnb. What if you have a kitchen and can cook?
This was a market we had a goal of creating and filling. Restaurants are brick and mortar businesses that
have large overheads such as rent, electricity, furniture, staff etc. Patrons go to have good food albeit the
menu is always the same and if you don't have someone to take along you are eating alone. uKitchen would remove the barriers
between those that can and love to cook and the community.
Over time we refined the model to chefs specifically. This ensured quality and it was something
many chefs are looking for. Allowing them to deal directly with the public using their own homes
opened up big opportunities for creativity and experimentation. We had chef's taking guests up Lions
head for breakfast, setting up tables in their yards with decorations and fairy lights, catering in their high rise
apartments doing magic tricks between meals or simply laying out a long dining room table in their homes.
Guests were pleasantly surprised with the themed evenings, quality and creativity of the food, and the experience of
meeting many 'starngers' in one evening. We realised that all it takes for some people to go from
strangers, then aquantaces, and then the spark of a new friendship was a finely prepped dinner
and a few hours at a table together (the wine may have played a part).
The numbers worked well on paper. Less overheads for chefs would mean cheaper meals. Being
exclusively for chefs would mean guaranteed quality and a modern sleek platform (the uKitchen website)
creating profiles for chefs which included media, ratings and reviews and upcoming meals/events
would showcase chefs to the city and bring them guests.
A long story short, there are many tales of struggle in starting a new business, especially in the
food industry but our two stake's in the coffin were:
Our commission on every sale was similar to Airbnb, about 12% (from the chefs). Although if you are renting
your room out there are very little costs to you. 12% of your profit would not be a large margin.
When you are a chef cooking you are purchasing and providing a consumable. Our chefs were also
particular about there produce which would bring up costs. So 12% would usually be in addition
to around 40%.
Second, and this is probably the same reason restaurants go out of business, and that is satisfying
supply (chefs) in a timely manner. This meant filling events as they came out. With chefs funding
the costs they would usually require a minimum patronage to break even.
This is one way to sum up two years in a paragraph but we would like to thank all the chefs and all
our guests who joined in and loved the uKitchen experience. While any startup may be tough we have
truly enjoyed the experience and the small accomplishments along the way.
Are you an entrepreuner or foodie that is in love with the concept? Feel free to get in touch.
We have a state of the art website that we would be happy to put to good use.
In great food and wine,
Get in touch with us: