Say goodbye to the custom private dining services of Kitchit's Chef Marketplace, which will shut down in mid-September. Don't fret too much, however, as the company's less expensive service, Kitchit Tonight, is not going anywhere.
Kitchit launched their Chef Marketplace, a service for people who wanted to entertain without doing any of the work (prep, cooking, or cleaning), four years ago in San Francisco and quickly expanded to Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago. With just a few clicks, people could arrange to have a private chef come to their homes to prepare custom meals ranging from a whole-hot spit roast to small bites for a swanky cocktail party.
It didn't take long, however, for Kitchit to receive a flood of requests from people who wanted the fancy chef-prepared meal, but didn't want to plan it a week or more in advance. (After all, who waits for anything these days?) In an attempt not to leave any "business on the table," they launched Kitchit Tonight in San Francisco last October, a similar concept, but without the menu freedom of Chef Marketplace. Instead, Kitchit Tonight asks guests to choose from one of several set three-course menus for $39/person. Everything after that, however, is just like Chef Marketplace with the chef doing all of the cooking and cleaning in the comfort of the guest's home.
Kitchit Tonight was such a success that the company has decided to focus exclusively on that service and close the Chef Marketplace as of September 14th.
In an email to Chef Marketplace chefs, Kitchit explained:
"After just 9 months, the volume of Kitchit Tonight bookings is nearly double that of the Marketplace in San Francisco, and Kitchit Tonight customers repeat at nearly 4x the rate we've seen in the Marketplace over the past 3.5 years. Against this backdrop, there is only one sound decision for Kitchit as a growing technology business. Rather than give short shrift to the Marketplace, we must move forward without it."
These changes will not affect Kitchit Tonight or the chefs who do business through the service, but it is obviously bad news for chefs who relied on the more high-end clients who used Chef Marketplace. It's a notable move on the heels of last week's Good Eggs news, in which the company cut operations in Brooklyn, L.A. and New Orleans to focus on their SF operations, leaving many vendors in the lurch.
For diners who want to use Kitchit Tonight, chefs may be booked until 1 p.m. for the same night or up to a month in advance.