DropChef on a mission to make meals easier

AIB Start-Up Academy finalists: Roman Grogan, Ryan Scott and Sam O’Byrne of DropChef

 Ryan Scott, Roman Grogan, and Sam O’Byrne of DropChef. Photo: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Ryan Scott, Roman Grogan, and Sam O’Byrne of DropChef. Photo: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Roman GroganRyan Scott

In the space of a year, Grogan finished his degree in Marketing, Innovation and Technology and Scott completed a degree in Business Studies, all while working part-time on the idea that would become DropChef.

A couple of years later and after moving into a production facility in Dublin city centre, DropChef have a partnership with Google and are planning to take the next step in their business.

“We were always very interested in food and nutrition. Roman came out of it from a side of being big into his food and the likes of MasterChef and I was always quite athletic,” said Scott.

After a few months, they acquired a third member of the team, Sam O’Byrne, who Scott met while they were representing Ireland at the sailing world championships.

“He joined just a couple of months later. He studied Law in Trinity and is really switched on, so we really wanted to get him on board as soon as possible.”

DropChef is a service that combines the ingredients for a healthy dinner in exact quantities, along with a step-by-step recipe, delivered to your door.

The idea is that it saves time while cooking because there’s no need to measure ingredients or shop for food beforehand.

“We make the midweek meal easy,” said Scott.

“Two busy working parents can cook the dinner in about 30 minutes, and the menu changes every week, so they’re not getting sick of spaghetti Bolognese. It’s also nutritious,” he said.

DropChef deliver for free, at prices starting from €29.85 for three meals for one person. Customers sign up via the website and can skip any week it doesn’t suit them.

DropChef are planning a rapid expansion outside Dublin.

Scott said that they have been fortunate in the huge amount of support from customers they have received since DropChef launched, as well as getting guidance from the Local Enterprise Office and venture-backed accelerators.

The most recent milestone for the business was launching the DropChef Hub at Google’s EMEA headquarters in Dublin in December. “We’ve been very fortunate to work with Ireland’s best employer,” said Scott.

“The reason we were interested in working with them is because their values in terms of looking after their staff so closely align to how we want to look after and care for our customers,” he said.

For every meal that DropChef delivers to a customer, one meal is donated to Irish charity Valid Nutrition to feed a malnourished child. The charity makes ready-to-use therapeutic food in its factory in Malawi.

This means that for a family of four getting three meals a week, 12 meals are donated via Valid Nutrition. It’s all part of the feel-good experience behind DropChef.

“The best bit for me is that now, although I’m incredibly busy running a business, I still go home every evening and I’ve got DropChef there, ready to cook,” he said.

DropChef don’t underestimate their competitors. It’s not just the local takeaway they have fighting for their space on Dublin’s dinner tables.

“I look at any way people eat dinner as being competition, so it’s pretty fairly contested,” Scott said.