The membership-based social dining experiment is offering different options from one chef each week. Foodies can choose either hot delivered lunches and dinners or mostly prepared foods to make at home and learn from the chefs along the way.
The service launched with Chef Byron’s Neue Vienna cuisine. This week, New York City Chef Eric Bolyard will be serving up a tribute to Spain’s Basque Country with menu items such as lentil, leek and chorizo stew, “Piperrada” braised garbanzos and a roast king oyster mushroom dish.
CEO Brian Bordainick said the company wanted to keep it small before heading to other markets. Dinner Lab will revisit the logistics at the end of its delivery test run. They will look at how many pick-up and delivery orders they received over 30 days and so on.
“It’s a logistical challenge,” he continued. “We are learning what we’re going to learn through the process. Anything we touch will be harder than we thought.”
Typical labs include a five to eight course evening meal, enabling Dinner Lab to test a high-end concept and see if it can work in a traditional restaurant. The delivery service tests another vertical for chefs. Can they cater to quicker, ready-to-serve type restaurants?
“It helps us paint a better picture of what chefs should be doing,” Bordainick said. “People are realizing Dinner Lab is not really a pop-up thing. At its core, we are trying to put people in contact with emerging ideas and food.”
Dinner Lab is now in nine other markets outside of New Orleans, serving up 12 recipes per week per market and is still growing. They are finally getting to the point where they have a geographical breadth to utilize data and continue testing everything internally.
“We want to figure out how many markets we need to be in before our data becomes very powerful,” said Bordainick. “Everyone is looking but it has never existed before. No one has really tried to manipulate the data, and nobody has had the chess board that Dinner Lab has.”
“We’re trying to position ourselves as a company to be the first to tackle it,” Bordainick said about leveraging the data, including a more curated place of information, and the strong network of people on both the consumer and producer side. The company also has the potential to have accurate information about who opens restaurants and where.