Feeding Busy Workers Becomes Big Business for New California Company

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A well-know perk of working in Silicon Valley is the food spreads that companies provide for employees. Private chefs at the large organizations assure that meals are available so workers don’t have to leave the corporate campus. A smaller startup operation can’t afford a chef on staff, but still must attract employees by offering the same free food benefit. ZeroCater has arrived to conquer this problem.

Arram Sabeti started the business two years ago. ZeroCater now provides meals to around 250 companies every month in Silicon Valley. The enterprise delivers meals prepared by over 130 restaurants, food trucks, and private chefs.

Sabeti was struck by the idea when he worked at web company Justin.tv, where one of his assignments was arranging lunch for the team. He hated the task because it was so much trouble. From this experience, Sabeti realized that others must have the same stressful endeavor. Locating a satisfying meal of tasty food while dealing with individual food allergies and dietary restrictions is a big challenge. ZeroCater provides a solution by addressing these matters for its clients.

In his first three months of operation, Sabeti balanced his new business with his job at Justin.tv. He then devoted his full-time effort to ZeroCater. The new venture really took off when it joined the famous Y Combinator, which helped launch such tech entities as Dropbox, Reddit, Airbnb, and Justin.tv. Sabeti not only gained insights from the entrepreneurial mentors, but he connected with new startup clientele.

The mission of ZeroCater entails more than just eliminating the burden of ordering food. Sabeti also understands that his business is helping other companies provide superior work environments. He is selling the concept of a strong corporate culture. Tech startups benefit by having employees congregate over lunch. ZeroCater also serves some of the legal firms in Silicon Valley plus established organizations, such as Sony, eBay, Foursquare, and Zipcar.

ZeroCater has rivals, but Sabeti considers that a testament to the sound business concept. With $1.5 million of outside capital funding, ZeroCater is positioned for future expansion to remain competitive.