- Claudia Grisales American-Statesman Staff
Snap Kitchen, the Austin-based company that calls itself the “one-stop healthy meal shop,” is ramping up its business and changing its look.
Since last summer, the company has nearly doubled its store count, boosted its workforce by 43 percent and seen its venture funding grow by more than 60 percent. Snap Kitchen on Monday also debuted a new look for its brand, logo and stores.
It’s all part of an explosive growth spurt for the company, which was founded in 2010 as a food retailer selling healthy prepared meals. Snap Kitchen says it sells meals made from scratch daily with locally-sourced ingredients that cater to a variety of dietary needs, including gluten free, vegetarian, vegan, paleo, dairy free and low sodium.
“We cater to busy people, helping them to get out and enjoy life instead of spending time at the grocery store and in the kitchen,” said Dave Kirchhoff, the new CEO of Snap Kitchen who previously led Weight Watchers International Inc. “Our new shop designs make it even easier to access our variety of meal solutions on the go.”
Snap Kitchen opened its first store in Austin’s Triangle development in April 2010, followed by a second location on West Sixth Street. A few months later, Snap Kitchen’s first Houston store followed as it moved into other markets.
As of last summer, the company had about 500 workers — including 25 at its Austin headquarters — and 22 stores in Austin, Houston, Dallas and Chicago. It had also raised about $30 million in funding by that time.
Now, the company has 716 workers — including more than 50 at its Austin headquarters — and 43 store locations in five cities, adding Philadelphia in February. The company raised $12.5 million in January as part of another fundraising round, as well as another $7.5 million in pending financial commitments.
Snap Kitchen also now has a partnership to operate kiosks in five Austin-based Whole Foods Market stores in Chicago, Dallas, Houston and Austin.
“The first time I went to Austin I was dropped to the floor — my reaction was, (Snap Kitchen co-founder Martin Berson) built the thing I have always wanted to see built,” said Kirchhoff, who went to work for the company in July. “I fell in love with Snap and wanted to help Snap get to its next level.”
The company’s success, Kirchhoff said, is because Snap Kitchen offers a reasonable option for customers on the run.
“We are dealing in a world of time-starved people. They don’t have time, they don’t have the head space” to cook, Kirchhoff said. “That is the beauty of Snap Kitchen. It eliminates friction from life.”
Snap Kitchen doesn’t disclose financial information, but has previously said that its revenue grew 60 percent from 2013 to 2014 and was expected to double in 2015.
In 2015, Snap sold 2.5 million meals, and this year, it’s poised to sell 5 million meals, Kirchhoff said.
“This company is growing like crazy,” he said.
The company is also in the process of developing a mobile app to make it easier to manage customer loyalty programs as well as place orders and make deliveries.
For its new look, Snap Kitchen hired London design studio Pentagram, the same company that developed the branding effort for the popular burger and shakes chain Shake Shack.
Snap Kitchen’s new packaging and labels will now be color-coded and easier to read, Kirchhoff said.
“It makes it easy to scan,” Kirchhoff said. “Most of this was to create a more user-friendly version of Snap Kitchen.”