Current food delivery experience
Before analyzing Maple, I think it’s instructive to first take a step back and examine the model of a brick and mortar restaurant. One would typically think that the business model of a restaurant is to sell food and drink, but in reality, they offer many other things, including entertainment, service, and a place to socialize. With the introduction of delivery services such as Seamless and DoorDash, brick and mortar restaurants have started delivering food, but the customer experience isn’t always positive (cold food, slow delivery times, etc.). (Source 5)
In comes Maple
Maple is a kitchen that delivers lunch and dinner ($12 and $15, respectively) to customers in under 30 minutes (Sources 1 & 2). Maple’s business model is selling food and their operating model is tightly aligned – selling quality food for a low price with fast delivery times.
Existing restaurants aren’t optimized to offer a quality delivery experience
It all starts with the business model – Maple realized that most restaurants actually have the business model of selling an experience, which includes food, service and atmosphere (Source 4). The delivery customer pays for all of this (via the menu price), but actually only receives the food, which is also likely worse than in-restaurant if it doesn’t travel well or has delivery delays (Source 5). After enduring four years in finance and eating hundreds of delivery meals, I can certainly attest to the poor quality of this dining experience (Source 5).
Maple has strong alignment between its business model and operating model
Maple’s business model is selling and delivering food to your door. Maple’s operating model closely aligns with this business model from when the order is placed through to when the food is delivered. It all starts with the order – a key decision for any takeout eater. Unlike the confusing myriad of choices via Seamless, Maple has a very simple menu – drinks and a handful of carefully crafted meals, influenced by top chefs (Source 1). Maple includes photos and all ingredients, so customers know what they’re getting and can adjust for any allergies (Source 1). Meals are priced consistently and comprehensively – $12 for lunch and $15 for dinner ALL IN – no more tip + tax + delivery fee, which can inflate the price of a delivery meal by 20-100%+ (Source 1, 5). This allows the customer to know exactly how much it will cost ahead of time, which makes budgeting, etc. very easy. After the customer orders his or her meal, Maple’s commissary kitchen gets to work (Source 2). The kitchen is optimized to produce meals that are quick and travel well (Source 2). Delivery people bring the food (via bike or foot) to the customer based on Maple’s technology, which “maps out the fastest route, factoring in things like traffic and even the time it takes to get to a sixth floor walk-up” (Source 2). The food reaches the customer within 30 minutes, which is much faster than typical delivery times of 30-60 minutes (Source 2, 5). Maple’s operating model of easy search, quality food, lower prices and quick delivery ties very well with its business model and this alignment should allow it to gain market share as it competes against traditional brick and mortar restaurants supplemented by an on-demand delivery service. Maple launched in April 2015 and is off to a good start, but only time will tell if this strategy pays off (Source 2). (Sources 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
- Personal experience