When Stanford Business School graduate Kevin Yang was working for a business strategy consulting firm in Virginia, his lunch options at the office were limited to a nearby McDonald’s and a less-than-appetizing deli in the basement of his building.
Scott Lenhart/Daily Journal
Jennifer Llorente from My Eat Club delivers a hot lunch to the corporate offices of Quinn Emanuel in Redwood Shores.
Yang said lunch is a common problem for suburban office workers.
"People have an issue trying to find inexpensive, convenient food,” said Yang, adding that 75 percent of American office workers eat at their desk two to three times a week.
"And the trend is moving more in that direction,” he said. "Employees are working longer because there is more pressure to be productive.”
The lack of office lunch options inspired Yang and fellow Stanford Business School graduate Rodrigo Santibanez to start Eat Club one year ago.
Their new business now serves lunch to about 3,000 office workers per week from South San Francisco to northern San Jose.
Last year, suburban office workers spent $28 billion on lunch, said Yang, who hopes to expand Eat Club throughout the country.
"It’s exciting being first-time entrepreneurs and seeing a dream take hold and touch the lives of others,” he said.
When asked what sets their company apart from other meal delivery services such as waiter.com, Yang said the difference is price.
The real competition for Eat Club is not these up-and-coming delivery services, but what the majority of office workers are currently doing for lunch, he said.
"We’re trying to differentiate,” said Yang.
His previous experience in international distribution logistics helped him to solve the problem of costly delivery.
"We solve the delivery problem in an extremely economical way,” he said.
By only delivering lunch from one local restaurant each day, the delivery process remains simple and cheap.
Food production is streamlined for the restaurant by providing only three options from the local restaurant. Yang said restaurants profit from using Eat Club — unlike deal websites such as groupon.com, which charge restaurants large fees to use their service in an attempt to gain new customers.
"We are the restaurant’s customers at a discounted price,” he said. "We’re not charging restaurants anything.”
Eat Club has about 10 delivery drivers in the San Mateo region.
"I spend a lot of time eating at good local institutions,” said Yang. "I want to help out local businesses and employees by bringing them quality food at McDonald’s prices.”
Some of Yang’s favorite Eat Club restaurants in the San Mateo area are Saffron Indian Bistro, La Corneta and Aya Sushi.
Aya Sushi in San Carlos has been a weekly participating restaurant for more than five months, said owner Peter Chun. He said he has only been able to sell small quantities of his food so far through Eat Club.
"On average, we get a little more than breaking even,” he said, adding that he will continue to participate despite the minimal profits from using Eat Club. "Hopefully, we will get more orders and then we will get good business.”
Eat Club lunches are $7.50 and require no delivery fees or tips.
For more information visit: myeatclub.com.
Scott Lenhart/Daily Journal
Jennifer Llorente from My Eat Club delivers a hot lunch to employees at the corporate offices of Quinn Emanuel in Redwood Shores. The service allows employees to relax at the office and avoid rushing around to stand in long lines every day.