The post arrives, the lights are dimmed, the music is soft. In the delivered parcel, the highlight of the evening makes its entrance: a perfect 3-course meal from an award-winning restaurant. How can even the most inexperienced amateur chef conjure up a culinary masterpiece in their kitchen at home? voilà simply delivers it to your door. The online platform has gathered together over 80 restaurants and “tastemakers” – small manufacturers of pasta, empanadas or ice cream. Whether you prefer Michelin stars or authentic international cuisine, you’ll find the perfect menu for every palate on the website. In August 2021, the idea came about to develop a delivery service especially for a high-quality range, with a particular focus on sustainability. The plan – regardless of the pandemic – was to enable a larger number of customers outside of the large cities to experience fine dining.
voilà’s business model also won over Arne Anker, owner and chef at BRIKZ in Berlin. During the pandemic, he had already taken the initiative and set up a delivery service for his fine dining restaurant. Cooperation with voilà not only relieves the pressure on him but also enables him to reach out to gourmets throughout the German-speaking nations. “Not everyone can simply come to us in Berlin. Using the voilà delivery service, people from southern Germany can also enjoy a meal from us.” Having once enjoyed a meal from BRIKZ, some guests then even come to the restaurant itself. “We’ve had several guests who knew us from the delivery service and found the food so delicious, they absolutely had to experience it in the restaurant itself,” he explains.
Sustainable delivery service – a challenge
Sustainability is a challenge for any delivery service because mountains of packaging waste quickly build up. But the voilà team has kept this in mind from the very start. “We plan routes using a digital tool that keeps delivery journeys as short and efficient as possible,” explains Julius Wiesenhütter, co-founder of voilà. “We also continually develop the packaging so that we can offer our partners the most sustainable solutions possible. Currently, we’re dealing with transport boxes, inlays and coolants, and we are advising restaurants on the platform about how they can package their products in a more environmentally friendly way.”
Delivering award-winning cuisine as sustainably as possible is a principle also followed by Stefan Fäth, owner and chef at Hamburg restaurant Jellyfish. “Besides the 100% recyclable packaging supplied by voilà and the reusable ice packs, we also ensure environmentally-friendly storage and safe transportation for every meal with suitable containers made from corn starch.” To make the fine dining delivery service as green as possible, voilà is also working with start-up company Vaayu. The CO2 emissions generated during transportation are calculated and various projects fighting climate change are supported in return. For example, voilà supports programmes for saving ecosystems in Peru, Cambodia and Kenya.
When the kitchen table becomes a restaurant
Both voilà and these two restaurateurs know that the delivery concept can’t replace the restaurant experience. “We bring together connoisseurs and restaurateurs in Germany and Austria – regardless of their locations,” says Wiesenhütter. When selecting the menus, careful attention is paid to ensuring that, despite the delivery process, the meals arrive with full flavour and, once cooked, bear almost no resemblance to delivered food. The restaurants have even come up with something so the finishing touches that make for award-winning cuisine aren’t forgotten: “We give our guests not only a detailed description of how to cook the meal but also instructions on how to serve the food beautifully,” explains Fäth.
Award-winning cuisine at home is going down a treat. The number of guests and participating restaurants is continually increasing. And via its Tastehunter, voilà is seeking new catering businesses to expand the range on its platform. In future, voilà wants to bring more businesses from regional and more rural areas onto the platform. “There are culinary treasures waiting to be discovered in the countryside,” says Wiesenhütter. “It would be lovely if we could offer this regional variety to our customers really soon.”