THE INC. LIFE

This Start-up Wants to Bring Private Chefs into Your Home

Plato PH is all about luxury in the comfort of your own space

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BY Ezra Ferraz - 10 Nov 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

With the surfeit of tech companies delivering food to consumers’ homes, Philippine start-up Plato PH turns that notion on its head: What if you had a private chef cook for you right in the comfort of your own home?

According to CFO Lawrence Espiritu, the idea came from his experiences hosting dinner parties at his house. On one occasion, he invited a friend who was also a chef, and he prepared a simple three-course meal for him and his guests.

“Ever since then, the idea of bringing people together through food became the launching point of Plato PH. What started as a platform for home cooks and chefs to host strangers in their homes, has now branched out to become a service where customers may avail of a personal chef for a night, and try out creative and innovative dining experiences through themed dinner events,” he says.

CEO Martti Uy says Plato PH targets locals who live in exclusive gated communities. They began their marketing efforts by trying to reach out to the household decision maker through a variety of digital channels, but later focused on Viber and word-of-mouth efforts like networking.

“Plato PH is all about luxury in the comfort of your own home. With a single call or inquiry, we can handle everything a dining experience needs, such as a chef, a proposed menu, and maybe even the wine pairing,” Uy says.

COO Jio Capinpin says they initially thought the most common use case would be couples looking for a romantic, change-of-pace evening at home. However, group dinner parties for business meetings and family reunions have been more popular.

Uy says that Plato PH categorizes experiences based on the number of people joining the dinner. They then book the experience by choosing a date, giving their contact details, and leaving a message for any special requests.

Capinpin adds that they also accept requests through the phone or Viber, essentially providing a more intimate concierge experience. “We feel like this still works best for the target market because of how much customization is involved with crafting the dining experience,” he says.

This customization is one of the ongoing challenges of Plato PH.

“With so much attention to detail needed to craft a dining experience, it’s difficult to rely on technology. Sometimes we feel like the good old fashioned phone call still beats newer technologies, however we believe that with the right technology, we could replicate that same experience through chatbots or other recent innovation,” Uy says, adding that this is on their product roadmap.

The second biggest challenge is curation. Capinpin says that Plato PH is strict when it comes to the quality of chefs they choose to onboard onto the platform, but this means they have to turn down chefs with great potential but are not yet ready for the service. “It really takes a lot of diligence to be able to find the right chef for the platform, but it’s worth the hard work,” he shares.

While the company is focused on being top-of-mind for their target market in the Philippines, they do plan to one day offer their service to other countries across Asia.