Silicon Chef: A Half-Baked Guide to Food Startups

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Objective Logistics—Tracking employee work habits to boost sales in restaurants.

One Green Planet—A guide to plant-based food, recipes, trends, recipes, health and nutrition

OpenTable—online restaurant reservations.

Own—Customized point of sale systems for restaurants and coffee shops.

Plummelo—Online storage for recipes, with automated shopping list feature.

Punchfork—Uses social data from Twitter and Facebook to discover the most-shared recipes on the Web.

ReadyPing—Text-message based restaurant table paging.

RealMealz—Quickly discover 30-minute, plant-based recipes using ingredients you have on hand.

Real Time Farms—A crowdsourced directory of farms and farmers’ markets around the country.

RouxBe—Online cooking school with video lessons and video recipes.—The nation’s largest online and mobile food ordering site, with 7,500 restaurants in its network.

Serious Eats—A network of blogs focused on “celebrating and sharing food enthusiasm.”

Shopwell—Personalized nutrition ratings for supermarket items, via the Web and mobile apps.

Spoondate—A dating site for people who want to meet over good meals.

SproutRobot—Personalized planting calendars and seeds for gardeners.

Tasted Menu—Beta-testing a system for restaurant and dish ratings, reviews, and picture sharing.

Textaurant—Mobile notifications for people waiting for restaurant tables.

The Daily Meal—Articles and reviews on restaurants, chefs, food trends, wine, and cooking.

Thryve—A “mobile food coach” designed to help you find the best foods for your body.

TipCity—Exclusive restaurant deals for members in 20 cities.

Urban Remedy—Selling a line of cleansing, nutrient-rich drinks and snacks online.

Urbanspoon—Mobile restaurant reviews. Owned by IAC.

Velvet Aroma—Online tool for tracking food bloggers and the recipes they share.

Venuetastic—Searching and booking restaurant spaces for group meals and events.

VillageVines—Members-only discounted pricing on restaurant meals.

Vmeals—Online ordering of restaurant and catered food for events.

Yelp—Crowdsourced restaurant reviews via the Web and mobile apps.

Yummly—A semantic search and recommendation engine for recipes.

Yummy Plants—An online community where vegetarians and vegans can share recipes, restaurant recommendations, nutrition information, and practical tips.

ZeroCater—An angel-funded startup that delivers food from 90 restaurants, caterers, and private chefs to more than 100 Silicon Valley companies.

ZipList—Online recipe box and digital shopping list.

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Wade Roush is a freelance science and technology journalist and the producer and host of the podcast Soonish. Follow @soonishpodcast

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15 responses to “Silicon Chef: A Half-Baked Guide to Food Startups”

  1. Josh Bob says:

    Interesting stuff, Wade, but I disagree with your assessment that there isn’t enough space for multiple players in the restaurant market.

    Just looking at casual restaurants alone, there are over 150,000 potential customers – only about 25% of which are part of the top 200 largest chains. So unless one victor emerges by being able to acquire a huge number of independent / small group restaurants, there will be plenty of space in the market for multiple players.

    Not to say that we wouldn’t prefer for Textaurant to be the only player. :)

  2. Owen Wright says:

    Checkout Nice use of the daily-deal model to introduce foodies to new foods.

  3. Tim says:

    This is quite a list. You mentioned that the market is getting a little ‘frothy’. I’ll respectively disagree and say it is great consumers have a variety of food related resources.

  4. Joe says: has a much more full-featured app for paging guests when their table is ready than any of the 3 you listed.

  5. Sunil says:

    Great article Wade. There are definitely a lot of players in this space but I think its great to see innovation in the restaurant industry that has for a long time had very traditional and outdated methods.

    I’d like to throw our hat in there as well as a new discovery engine for urban diners. Our focus is on the details around dishes so you can find dishes by cuisine, price, meal type and lifestyle like vegetarian or gluten free.

    TopDish for Iphone

  6. Conrad Chu says:

    You missed one:

    The only food startup that actually serves up food … and not send you to a restaurant :)

    It’s a marketplace that connects personal chefs to individuals, delivering healthy, locally-source gourmet meals on-demand with an hour’s notice.

  7. Wade RoushWade Roush says:

    @Conrad Chu: Actually, Munchery is already on the list – near the bottom of page 2.

  8. Marco Flavio says:

    For those interested in continuing the conversation, I did start a Linkedin Group: Food Startups – USA. Do come and join us.

  9. Please include DeliciousNutritious in your list. We sell fresh, healthy food online in partnership with employers, with delivery directly into break room refrigerators before the start of each work day. Thanks!

  10. Rajesh K says:

    How can be the largest ordering service (with 7,500 menus) when GrubHub has 13,000?

  11. If you were to update this article, what would you write? Curious how food tech has changed – I feel like I’m just now hearing about food tech startups.

  12. Wade Roush says:

    Hey Kevin. This article boils down to a big list, and I do try to keep it up to date by adding a listing whenever I hear about new food startups. I think the trend I was highlighting has only expanded since this piece first appeared. The FoodStartups group in San Francisco, for example, keeps growing — it seems like every meetup they have attractes about 50% more people than the one before.