A product to connect people to culinary students/chefs/skilled home cooks, to help them plan/cook exciting, fresh & affordable meals.
How might we improve access to a variety of exciting, fresh and tasty meals at an affordable price for people who can’t or are not able to cook for themselves or a small group.
People are bored with their daily meals and don’t enjoy the process of planning and cooking their food.
The target audience here includes busy professionals, families with varying dietary needs, people looking to cater a small gathering and people who would like more variety in their daily meals. In-depth user interviews show that people are eager to have someone they trust suggest, develop and even make personalized meals for them based on their tastes and needs, as long as it is affordable.
The greatest consideration for most people when deciding what to make for the week is how much time they have to cook. Survey results show that people mainly don’t like to decide what to cook and don’t like preparing the ingredients for a meal. Surprisingly (given the number of grocery delivery services), grocery shopping was the least pain point for people in the entire meal planning process.
Right now, the main alternative to making your own food is ordering in (e.g. Uber Eats). People like the variety and that the meals are quick and tasty, but feel that the costs can add up quickly.
Regardless of the cons of ordering in, most people haven’t tried a meal prep service. Of those that have, they feel that the costs are too high for what’s offered, and they have varying issues with the fixed menus - poor variety, fixed set of cuisines they don’t like, flavours they find bland and they have no say in the options provided.
There is a gap here to provide an affordable alternative to having exciting and tasty meals where some/all parts of the preparation is outsourced to make the process easier.
Using a survey of 26 people and 2 user interviews, we identified a few categories of prospective users based on specific pain points in the meal planning/preparation process.
All groups of people felt that deciding on meals to cook that satisfy all their criteria without being boring was the most difficult part of the entire meal preparation process. Criteria included dietary restrictions, bulk meals, time & ease of recipe, cravings etc. Most people were willing to outsource some/all of the process if it was available to them at an affordable price.
Based on our target users’ pain points, we knew we wanted to work on the following features:
After reviewing the research and pain points, we decided to create a product that will connect users to culinary students/chefs/home cooks (“cooks”) to support/ carry out some/all of the meal planning/preparation at a reasonable cost to the person (“user”) or to cater a small gathering.
The product will allow for users to create a profile, indicating their general location, types of food they like and main reason for using the app (e.g. daily/weekly meal preparation for a single person vs family, catering an event etc)
The product will allow cooks to create profiles to market themselves - show off their personality, experience/background, specialty dishes, cuisines they would like to work on, their home cooking station, any food handling certifications and what services they offer (e.g. meal planning based on needs, grocery shopping, cooking in their own station, cooking in user’s homes, catering for groups).
The product will then connect both groups by allowing the user to browse the chef profiles, or search by the type of food and quantity required.
Users can connect with a chef to request services, including any specific needs and the chef can accept a service request. The product will allow for a rating system based on key metrics to build user credibility.
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