Aussie-founded meal subscription Make-Out Meals plans to take on Hello Fresh and Marley Spoon

make out meals

Billy Green and Timothy Menger. Source: supplied.

An Australian startup with an ambitious plan to take on foreign-owned meal subscription companies Hello Fresh and Marley Spoon has raised over $550,000 in equity crowdfunding.

Make-Out Meals, founded in September 2020, by Melbourne single father Billy Green, has won the support of over 190 investors via equity crowdfunding platform Birchal, thanks to partnerships with some of Sydney and Melbourne’s most popular restaurants and its rapid growth in the nation’s $500 million meal-subscription market.

Make-Out Meals’ website resembles the likes of a menu at a modern Australian restaurant far more than it does a subscription service.

Vegetarian kofta in tahini with fattoush and zaatar crisps, Sicilian busiate pasta with vegetable sugo, and beef pinchos with chimichurri and flatbread are but three of the dishes on this week’s menu, ready to be dished out in partnership with popular restaurants.

Green says the idea for his business came to light during the first series of lockdowns in 2020.

“Like many dads with a limited repertoire in the kitchen, your fall back is to go out for dinner,” he tells SmartCompany

“Except my eight-year-old son and I couldn’t do that during lockdown, which is when I tested out a bunch of meal kit subscription services. Put simply — they were terrible. They were bland and the produce was not fresh.”

Somewhere between homeschooling his son, juggling work and a pandemic, Green grew bored with dull dinners. The icing on the cake, however, was spoiled fruit.

“The straw that broke the camel’s back was when I opened a box and staring back at me was a rotten lemon,” he said.

The light bulb flashed over a casual conversation with a friend running an Indonesian restaurant.

“Given my terrible experience with the rotten lemon, I casually said he could easily give these guys a run for their money … and that’s when my lightbulb moment happened: imagine if the top chefs took on these poor excuses for food businesses with restaurant quality meals that taste great, using ingredients from top quality providers.”

Some 18 months later, the startup dished up over 1000 plates of food in March, with business up more than three times the same month last year.

The startup’s growth now sees Green employ just shy of 20 staff who have helped the recent expansion into New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, with Queensland and South Australia are next in line.

The expansion saw new partnerships with Sydney restaurants Fei Jai in Potts Point, D.O.C. Pizza in Surry Hills, Zigi’s Wine Bar in Chippendale, I Maccheroni in Woollahra and Foodie del Mar in Randwick who will help to plan meals.

In Victoria, Gilson, Coda, Hotel Jesus and Mahjong are set to join Entrecot, Tipico, Cecconis, Lady Boy, La Tortilleria, Ish, Mamasita, Fancy Hanks, Uncle, Bomba, Eazy Peazy, Oasis Bakery, Simply Spanish and Lello Artisan Pasta.

“These guys and girls know flavour better than anyone — and they wouldn’t risk their restaurant’s reputation by lending their name to a project unless it was up to their high standards,” Green says on the partnerships.

“Each box has been carefully prepared by leading chefs who are all extremely passionate about their craft.”

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