Square Meals, the fresh meal service that has shared a space with Batter Bakery since 2011, has closed its doors for good. The decision to close came as chef-owner Alison Mountford reevaluated her career and mission, which has always been to "help busy people eat well during the week." Now Mountford will do just that as she joins forces with meal delivery startup Munchery.
According to Mountford, Square Meals had largely shifted to corporate catering in the last two years, which left little room to focus on the retail side of business. And while she considered refocusing as a catering company, ultimately Mountford made the decision to return to her roots, which was "making weekday dinnertime easier." "What Munchery is doing, on a huge scale, is what I had started out doing at Square Meals in a bootstrapping way," said Mountford. "They've gone about in the SF tech startup way."At Munchery, Mountford's role will be as Purchasing Manager, working with vendors and small farms to source high-quality product. As for shifting out of the role of proprietor, the chef says it's bittersweet. "It's been so much more challenging to make the decision to close than it was to start it," said Mountford. "Now I won't have to spread myself so thin."
Mountford's move is the latest in a series of strategic hires for the delivery service, which recently acquired Pascal Rigo, founder of La Boulange, as it's Chief Experience Officer. And it's a move that takes Mountford full circle— Munchery's headquarters are located in the former Mission Creek Kitchen space, the commissary kitchen where Mountford got her start, and where she started her partnership with Batter Bakery's Jen Musty. "We had similar work ethic and standards," said Mountford. "When we left, Munchery was just starting to really grow." Now that Square Meals has departed their shared retail space, Batter Bakery is also on the move, with plans to open up shop just down Polk Street in late Spring 2016.