A Final Goodbye & Thank You!

Dear Bento’ers,

As of Friday December 9th, Bento has closed down our kitchen, and is no longer open for business. We had hoped to find a new home and a new owner, but we were unable to do so.

Vincent and I wanted to send one final thank you for being a Bento customer. It was truly an honor to have served you a meal (or multiple meals!) – thank you for being with us! We have more information below regarding what happened during the last few months that led to our closure.

But first, we wanted to take a moment to recommend a few amazing food options. All of these I have personally tried and can truly vouch for.

Sun Basket – Proudly using the best organic & non-GMO ingredients from the country’s best farms.  Choose any three recipes each week from Chef Curated, Paleo, Gluten Free, Vegetarian, and Breakfast options!
Use code BENTO for three free meals off your first box!
Order Now: http://www.sunbasket.com

Thistle – Kick start the new year with nutritionally designed, plant based meals – delivered fresh and fully prepared each week. Use code BENTO for up to $50 off your first order!
Order now: http://thistle.co

Mealmade – Delivering high quality, made-to-order, healthy meals on-demand to all of San Francisco, and they’re really good. All of their dishes are gluten/grain-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and they never use unhealthy oils.
Order for lunch or dinner and get 20% off with code BENTO (https://www.mealmade.com).

As always, in the spirit of our full transparency: Each company has offered Bento a small bonus if you choose to sign up for these services.

Thank you again!
Jason Demant & Vincent Cardillo (Bento cofounders)

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And now some more info on why we shut down…

To give context it will be helpful to first read why we shut down on-demand and then why we shut down our direct sales app.

Looking back with hindsight, shutting down our direct to consumer sales channel (our app) was an excellent decision.

Over the last few months we have seen incredible growth. Going from serving only 100 meals per day in May, to 700 meals per day in December. This was incredible growth in such a short time. We worked with EAT Club, Zesty, Caviar Fastbite, and many others to serve these meals with great success.

With this growth, we began to hit profitability as well. In October and November, our business hit full net profitability.

Despite these successes, there were a few major issues with the business:

  1. Low gross margin dollars — We were now wholesaling our meals which meant that we were selling meals for much less. Despite the lower sales price we were still making a healthy margin on each meal, however, the total margin dollars were low. In order to finance research & development and a more robust management team, we needed to sell a LOT more meals, which was becoming increasingly difficult.
  2. Growing further was going to be challenging — We were starting to run into major issues around our kitchen size, the timing of meals, and other logistical challenges.
  3. Personal financial challenges — While the business was profitable, I was unable to pay myself a sustainable salary.

During the last few weeks, we worked hard to find a solution other than shutting down. There were several promising discussions to sell Bento to a new owner, but it is with great sadness that I say that despite my hardest efforts, none of those conversations came to fruition.

Again, I wanted to thank you for being a Bento customer and taking the time to read this far!

As always, if you have questions or comments please write to me at jason@bentonow.com.