Launched last November, Sprig aims to deliver healthful and, whenever possible, organic and locally sourced, restaurant-quality lunches and dinners to San Francisco residents.
The concept is nothing new, with pizza and Chinese food delivery having been around for decades.
Where Sprig differs is in its focus on ingredient sources and chef-inspired and prepared menus, said Chantelle Darby, communications director.
The concept is the brainchild of Gagan Biyani and Neeraj Berry, working professionals who would come home after a hard day at the office to an empty refrigerator and no desire to cook, so they ended up ordering pizza far too often.
“One night Neeraj asked Gagan, ‘What if we could order a healthy, delicious and affordable meal in just a few taps on our phone and get it delivered wherever we might be — just like we can order a ride via Lyft?’” Darby said.
Three days later, co-founders Matt Kent and Morgan Springer joined the effort and began to test the concept with customers.
Nate Keller, a former Google executive chef, brought his culinary skills to the project.
Customers can order from three lunch choices five days per week and three dinner choices four nights per week. The menu changes daily.
Each of the meals is engineered backward within the kitchen to provide the best customer eating experience, Darby said.
“They look at the way we should be cooking our ingredients so when they’re delivered directly to the door, it’s a restaurant-quality meal,” she said.
Fresh, and, when available, locally sourced and organic produce plays a key role, Darby said.
Take broccoli, for example. During the past three to four months, the firm has gone through more than 8 tons of the green cruciferous vegetable, and that’s just one ingredient.
Trying to keep it local and organic also is a goal, Darby said, citing Keller’s experiences with Google.
Back then, he worked with small-scale local growers to help them provide the volumes needed to serve the nearby Google campus.
In his latest endeavor, Keller also draws from years working with Karen Salinger, co-owner of San Francisco-based Veritable Vegetable Inc. Both strive to source from a “150 list,” meaning the product comes from within a 150-mile radius.
Many of those same sources also supply high-end bay area restaurants, she said.
In addition, the meals typically fit at least one of the restricted diets, such as dairy-free, gluten fruit, vegan or paleo.
Although one might guess that the concept appeals mainly to tech workers, Darby said their core demographic is wide ranging “because anyone can relate to the fact that sometimes you go home and just don’t want to cook.”
“Our customer engagement is pretty insane, with 70% of our entire customer base being repeat and 60% having ordered from Sprig within the last 30 days alone.”
Sprig started small, offering only dinners within a 4-mile square area Monday-Friday. Since then, it has added lunches and widened delivery to include all of San Francisco.
The firm also has expanded its dinner delivery hours after parents started requesting earlier times.
Lunches run up to $9, while dinners cost up to $10, not including a $2 delivery fee on each. Although not guaranteed, Sprig tries to have the meal to customers within 20 minutes of ordering.
In September, Sprig launched a website, www.sprig.com, for customers who may not own smartphones. Until then, patrons could download a smartphone app to use to order.
“From farm to phone to table,” Darby said.