Chef on Call

Gourmet Twist on Food Delivery

Based on the credo of ‘by the students, for the students’, Montreal-based Chef on Call was co-founded by a group of Concordia University graduates led by Robert Kauffman and Gabriel Malbogat. Seeing how the hectic student schedule often forced them to make meal choices that sacrificed quality for convenience, they decided to take action even as they completed their final year of undergraduate studies. The status quo of student gastronomy simply could not stand.

Frustrated with delivery services that were limited and unimaginative, the founders of Chef on Call decided to channel their culinary passion into the latest innovation in campus dining. Despite having no experience in the food service industry, they saw an opportunity to carve out their own niche.  It all began as a small operation of creating and delivering healthy meals from their small college apartment.

Growth and Development

Kauffman and Malbogat’s faith in the potential of this market was quickly realized when they began handling more than 70 orders within days of opening up shop. Their concept proved so popular that within the first week of their experimental foray into food delivery, their operation outgrew the tiny kitchen that was its birthplace.

“I believe Chef on Call took off so quickly not only because of the quality of the food itself, but also because at the time of its founding, we were students ourselves – ingrained in the student community and in tune with the tastes of the customers we wanted to serve,” Malbogat told The Canadian Business Journal. “We knew we were on the right track every time a satisfied customer told us, ‘you guys keep me fed when I’m up late studying – I’m recommending you to all my friends!’ That type of customer satisfaction is what Chef on Call strives for.”

The new operation continued to grow, expanding its menu offerings to include a selection which now covers the gamut, from pastas, to hot sandwiches, to healthy salads and wraps – and let’s not forget about their signature chicken tenders. The menu offers a variety of tasty, freshly prepared, homemade choices, distinguishing Chef on Call from a typical quick service food.

Chef on Call’s target market includes college and university students and young professionals. “We’re focusing our efforts in areas where there is a high concentration of students and executives working late into the night,” Malbogat explained. “Our consumers generally do not live the traditional, family lifestyle.

They’re up late, they don’t have the time to cook and that’s where we come in.  Our delivery brings the best food selection up to 4 a.m.”  As such, Chef on Call has planned to grow its concept across Canada with the goal of 20 new units for 2013 and to eventually expand its concept into the United States.

Franchising Model

Chef on Call combines a unique concept with an entrepreneurial spirit that has filled a void in the traditional model of quick service food delivery. For Kauffman and Malbogat, who made the leap into starting their own business three years ago, at the height of the recession, there was no guarantee that their business would ever turn a profit. Many people say that an economic slump is the best time to consider opening a business; but to do so successfully, requires both capital and courage – two things that are in short supply when times are tough.

Developing its franchising plan alongside M-Four International, Chef on Call offers an attractive option for new entrepreneurs and franchises interested in starting a small business of their own.

Kauffman concludes, “Everything at Chef on Call is built on a foundation of simplicity and practicality, from our menu to our corporate vision. It is a demanding business at times, but the rewards are incredible. We are confident that the tools we provide will lead other young student entrepreneurs to the same success we have enjoyed.”