A Startup To Get You Cooking Healthy Meals: Cook-A-Box
“With Dubai’s busy lifestyle, Cook-a-Box offers residents the convenience of having all their groceries delivered, pre-measured to their doorstep. We deliver a convenient cooking experience in a box, and the result is healthy and delicious!”
Four months from ideation to execution, and launched in October 2013.
MAKING IT HAPPEN
Founded by 32-year-old Rasha Ismail, former Director of Operations at Groupon UAE, she is an INSEAD MBA graduate, and has extensive experience in management consultancy.
Adapting to the busy lifestyle of Dubai residents, Cook-a-Box offers the convenience of having all their fresh groceries delivered. It limits leftovers since they provide pre-measured ingredients, and also saves time in terms of meal planning and grocery shopping, as it comes with recipe cards for meals that can be prepared in less than 35 minutes. In addition, it helps people who want to stay off fast food and cook healthy meals at home.
HOW IT WORKS
Cook-a-Box currently offers two subscription options. The first is a 3-Meal Plan for two people, wherein customers will receive three boxes with three recipe cards and pre-measured ingredients to cook them. Each box is good for two people, at a cost of AED190. The second is a 3-Meal Plan for four people, wherein customers will receive three boxes with three recipe cards and pre-measured ingredients to cook them. Each box from this plan is adequate for four people, with a cost of AED330. Customers are able to pay through PayPal.
THE UNIQUE FACTOR
Customers can enjoy a convenient “cooking experience in a box.” There are flexible options available, such as being able to choose any three recipes from a weekly menu of nine recipes, with delivery options they can select from Sunday to Thursday. As a subscription service, they offer 3-Meal packages for two or four people. They provide weekly subscriptions, and users can suspend a subscription for one or more weeks applicable and with no minimum weeks/months required during sign up.
Though Ismail says she can’t comment on current number of subscribers, the founder says that Cook-a-Box has had “steady growth” since their launch.
REACHING THE PEOPLE
For its marketing strategy, the startup mainly focuses on online promotion.
The subscription service has long-term partnerships with ingredients suppliers, as well as shorter-term partnerships for its marketing activities, with Maggi having been one of its last partnerships.
“Growing your business when you are bootstrapping or on a limited budget,” says Ismail, adding how the small market in Dubai means that sales momentum takes longer to build.
On extending outside the UAE, Ismail says, “Yes, but in the short-medium term [plan], we plan to focus on the UAE.”
Pamella de Leon is the Startup Section Editor at Entrepreneur Middle East. She is keen on the MENA region’s entrepreneurship potential, with a specific interest to support enterprises and individuals creating an impact.