Food-tech startup CHEFIN has just been nominated as a finalist for the Awards for Excellence – Restaurant & Catering Australia. They’re more than just a catering company, however.
CHEFIN is an Australian food technology startup that’s interrupting traditional methods of catering with a new focus on social dining. Started by self-confessed ‘social foodies’, Petko Petkov and Sukey Xu, CHEFIN connects private party hosts and business event managers with Private Chefs. The aim is to enhance the social aspect of group dining, reintroducing the chef as ‘director of the show’. With CHEFIN, the chef is just as important as the guests in contributing to the creation of a unique and memorable event.
Co-founder Petko recalls how he first noticed an opportunity for disruption within the hospitality industry, “I started paying more attention… and I noticed issues like overcrowding, long waiting times, group booking surcharges, and poor facilities for children and people with limited mobility”. After some further research, Petko found that many Australians felt time-poor to pull up a huge group meal and spend good time with guests in the meanwhile. That food delivery services like Uber Eats don’t really hit the mark when it comes to sharing positive experiences over food.
After consulting with chefs, Petko discovered they were feeling just as dissatisfied with the current state of hospitality. “Many chefs told us the existing model was far from perfect. They were overworked, underpaid, and unhappy”. Chefs revealed a desire to cook their own recipes and create their own menus, a desire to engage with the people eating their food. “The interaction with diners is very important to chefs” says Petko. “They like to see people enjoying their culinary creations and they like to receive direct feedback”.
The ultimate goal of CHEFIN is to create a community where friends, families, and businesses could easily access authentic food experiences prepared by private chefs, anywhere they want – in their own kitchens, in their office spaces, event halls, parks, beaches, virtually anywhere. At the same time, CHEFIN was looking to provide a refreshing new experience to hardworking chefs, giving them a new way to earn a second income without being confined to the kitchen. It’s a win-win for both consumers and chefs.
Since opening its digital doors in December 2015, CHEFIN has grown to a team of 145 talented local chefs that have served over 14, 580 customers – and that’s with a satisfaction rate of 91%. The service goes beyond just connecting consumers and businesses with passionate chefs, with CHEFIN providing a holistic experience to an ultimate event, including venue hire (from their Secret Venues database), professional waitstaff service, equipment rental, table decoration, and more.
CHEFIN is now operating from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Beijing, and Shanghai, serving social dining options to over 50 corporate clients including KPMG, TESLA, Microsoft, Heworth Construction. It has also attached seed-round funding from private venture capital firms and individual angel investors. Watch this space to see how CHEFIN continues to redefine the concept of catering.