Sodexo, a French publicly-listed food services and facilities management company, has acquired a majority stake in Paris-based online restaurant and food delivery startup FoodChÃ©ri. Terms of the deal remain undisclosed, though FranÃ§ois Paulus of Breega Capital, which backed the companyâs â¬6 million Series A, tells me he is âhappy with the returnâ.
Founded in 2015 and operating an online only restaurant along the lines of EatFirst in the U.K. or Muncheryâs original model in the U.S., FoodChÃ©ri lets you order fresh chef-prepared meals that are chilled and ready to reheat and consume upon delivery.
Itâs a model that avoids some of the pitfalls faced by restaurant delivery services, such as UberEATs and Deliveroo, in that orders can be pooled for delivery as food doesnât need to be delivered hot.
In terms of customer base, FoodChÃ©ri targets both individuals and, increasingly, companies who donât have their own kitchens but want to provide meals for employees. This is where Sodexoâs acquisition fits in.
âSodexo [is a] world leader in corporate catering and will help FoodChÃ©ri consolidate its positioning as a virtual cafeteria/canteen for small and medium-sized businesses,â FoodChÃ©ri co-founder and CEO Patrick Asdaghi says. The SME market is currently one that players like Sodexo donât currently address with their âphysicalâ on-site model.
Investment from Sodexo will also be used to help FoodChÃ©ri expand nationally beyond Paris and its surrounding suburbs over the next two years. With 70 staff, the startup currently delivers over 12,000 fresh meals prepared by its professional chefs every week, including serving 200 businesses.
In addition, it plans to invest in a new 20,000 square foot production facility. Iâm also told that post-acquisition FoodChÃ©ri will continue to be run autonomously by the startupâs co-founders.