David Chang, the chef and entrepreneur behind the Momofuku restaurant chain, launched his new venture on Monday.
Ando is a Manhattan-based delivery-only restaurant service which lets users order their meals via a mobile app, with the food couriered to their location via UberRush.
The company has been built in partnership with Expa, the startup lab which counts Uber cofounder Garrett Camp, Foursquare cofounder Naveen Selvadurai, and former AddThis CEO Hooman Radfar among its partners.
Radfar has assumed the position of Ando CEO.
From Monday, Ando began its delivery service in the Midtown East area of New York City, which is where Chang’s new restaurant/production house will be based. There are plans to expand delivery locations in the coming months.
The food on the menu has been created by Chang and chef J.J. Basil. The launch lunch service includes Chang’s signature cheesesteak, an “Ernesto” sandwich, and a hibiscus doughnut, all sold at a “fast-casual” price-range, plus a delivery charge.
To order, users just need to download the Ando app — although the company is carefully building out its userbase to ensure the service is not over-saturated, so they may need to wait in line before they can try their first meal.
However, the first 200 people signing up via the website on Monday will be able to skip the queue.
Speaking to Business Insider, Radfar said Ando’s aim in its first year isn’t to build out a huge userbase right away, but to focus on creating a “quality experience.”
The success metric will be “more about customer time,” he said.
“The pace of growth will be determined strictly by quality.”
Unlike other food delivery services like Seamless or Deliveroo — which partner with restaurants to provide a home delivery option — Ando’s menu has been “designed for delivery,” meaning the dishes are likely to cope with being out of the kitchen for a long period, Radfar explained. Ando plans to rotate the menu regularly to keep users coming back to the app.
Radfar teased that there will be a number of “secret features” within the app for its loyal customers.
He added that another differentiation from other services is that Ando prides itself in providing untouched photos of the food on offer, rather than the Photoshopped versions you can sometimes stumble across on restaurant websites.
The app has also been designed to help Ando’s kitchen staff determine which menu items its home diners are enjoying the most.
The company currently has just under 20 full-time employees, split roughly half-and-half between kitchen staff and an operations team.
The Expa startup studio has been in operation since 2013, backed with more than $100 million in funding. In March, Expa announced Expa Labs, a six-month program that offers New York and San Francisco-based startups $500,000 in financing, office space, and mentoring from a five-person team, The New York Times reported.
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