Our Biggest Hurdle in An On-Demand Culture
It seems that everything has now become accessible with a click of a button. But when it comes to food, we know that it’s never that simple. As competitors started making their way into the lunch delivery realm, their main focus was convenience and cheap cost. When we started Sifted, our main focus was providing an alternative to what lunch had become in most offices - unhealthy, rushed, microwaveable. We started this company in Nashville, a city with a rapidly growing tech industry and clients who wanted recognizable, yet creative lunch options.
When interest was building for us to expand, we started to recognize the enormous responsibility that we would have to undertake if we wanted to keep control of food quality and onsite experience. Other similar concepts ran away from the idea of offering a holistic, fully-managed service. They resorted to being a courier, or a middleman between offices and nearby restaurants.
The courier model provides cost benefits to the company because they don’t have to run a kitchen or employ professionally-trained chefs and personable account managers. But it falls apart when the food is late or the order is wrong. There’s nobody to be held accountable and there’s no path for improvement.
At Sifted, our design is unique. We’re serving lunch in Nashville, Austin, Atlanta, Denver, Boulder and Seattle, which means we have a full culinary staff in each city and a local management team. Our clients have a dedicated account manager who is communicating their needs to their chef and hosts that are ensuring that lunch is, for once, healthful, nourishing and rejuvenating. Yes, it’s extremely complicated to coordinate lunch between 6+ cities, but to us, it’s worth it. We know where our food starts, from regional farmers, and we get to stay connected with it at every step of the process - from menu planning, sourcing, prepping, cooking, delivery and service.
Menu planning is a collaborative effort between our chefs and those that are client-facing. We work to incorporate seasonal ingredients and create menus that are fresh and exciting and give eaters the power to build their own plates. We evaluate each menu to make sure it’s meeting healthy dietary requirements, with a focus on local produce. After the menus are tweaked, we work on sourcing and prep plans because we don’t keep produce in our hands for longer than 72 hours. Our chefs prepare the food with a variety of methods so that our eaters and clients never grow bored. Hosts keep tight instructions on delivery with respect to health code and overall eating quality. Once onsite, our presentation is focused on self empowerment and ease so that the lunch hour is lively and simple.
We’ve dug into this process because it’s the only way we really think you can offer the kind of lunch that changes offices for the better. It’s the only way to respect the people that make the food and those that eat it. It means taking bigger risks and fixing things when we make mistakes. Choosing this design is what makes us Sifted and what keeps us taking on new cities and new challenges.