Editor’s Note: Full Fridge is no longer in business.
What happens when you combine two tech experts, two Austrian restauranteurs and a cardboard box? The answer may surprise you. It isn’t the punch line to a cringeworthy dad joke. It’s Full Fridge, Austin’s newest tech-savvy meal delivery service.
Full Fridge = Time, Health, Happiness
Full Fridge is based on the principle that everyone deserves the opportunity to eat delicious and nutritious food without spending an arm and a leg, or expending precious free time chopping and stirring. You no longer have to fly home to mom or take the day off in order to enjoy a gourmet, home-cooked meal.
Since its launch in July 2016, Full Fridge customers across Austin have been opening their doors each Sunday to find a cardboard box brimming with pre-prepared meals that last five days. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all included. The real kicker: the price tag of these lovingly made fridge fillers is only $5 a meal.
Let’s be clear; $5 buys you a lot when it comes to Full Fridge. With a rotating catalog that grows each week, customers are served meals that put similarly priced microwave dinners and fast food to shame. To understand how the mission of creating five days of $5 meals blossomed into a city-wide meal delivery service, you have to meet the team behind the box.
Who Keeps This Fridge Full?
When I sat down with the Full Fridge team, I felt like I was meeting with a family and a think tank wrapped into one. All four members of this small but mighty startup agree their success is attributed to the diversity of backgrounds they bring to the table. Unlike other food businesses, Full Fridge prides itself on the marriage of tech and restaurant management.
Mokshika Sharma and Federico Galarraga make up the tech side of this endeavor. They’re engineers by trade, but growing up on the flavors of India and Spain (respectively), they’re also fully formed food aficionados.
With 18 years of experience in the hospitality business under their apron straps, Florian and Romana Prelog hold up the business side of Full Fridge. If the name Prelog sounds familiar, it’s because this Austrian power couple used to own a self-titled restaurant nestled downtown, known for sharing the rich flavors of Eastern Europe.
A need for change and a love of good food brought the group together. One night, over a bottle of wine and with a clever name suggestion from Romana Prelog, Full Fridge was born.
Batch Cooking With Individuals in Mind
Chef Florian Prelog admits that in order to make the recipes for Full Fridge fit with the team’s values, he had to adjust his fine dining mindset. Instead of striving for complexity in his dishes, Prelog focused on authenticity, crafting recipes that highlighted quality ingredients that would taste delicious even after being reheated.
Instead of cooking every day for new diners as he did at Prelog’s, he fills each week with the same process: one day for planning, another for shopping and a final day for cooking. Full Fridge prides itself on responsible sourcing and cooking. All meals are made from scratch with in-season ingredients, cooked in large batches to increase efficiency.
Chef Florian Prelog bases each week’s unique menu on meals and ingredients he and the rest of the team have encountered in their own lives. From childhood meals to tastes from travels abroad, Prelog is willing to try anything as long as he can keep his recipes accessible.
By subscribing to Full Fridge, customers get the chance to try new ingredients and flavor combinations in their own homes, without the intimation factor. Recipes air on the side of familiarity, with gourmet flair. From carrot and zucchini pancakes, to tortilla Espanola, to poppy seed brownies, the box has something to excite every palate.
Beyond Appliances: Tech in the Kitchen
The Prelogs admit one of the biggest challenges restaurants face, especially in a foodie paradise like Austin, is exposure. It isn’t enough to have mouth-watering food if no one knows about it!
Sharma and Galarraga have gone above and beyond to create a presence for the company online and in the Austin community. All orders happen through the business website. Once orders are placed, the team creates a plan for delivery using one important rule: they will only deliver to a location if it falls within a 30-minute travel time radius. The team has learned to read Austin traffic like the back of their hands, picking particular hours to deliver to the farthest reaches.
Smaller Boxes for Foodies on the Go
After taking the time to understand the needs of customers and the Austin population as a whole, Full Fridge has added a new option to their delivery service: the 3-Day Box. The team understands that five days of meals can be overwhelming, especially for millennials who like to live on the cusp. One week you may go out to eat each night, and the next you may have grown weary of tacos for every meal. Three days of Full Fridge can fill in the gaps and amp up your culinary variety during the week.
Although Full Fridge meals are prepared to taste just as good on the fifth day as the first, the team knows flexibility is key. With this new box comes a slightly higher price point, $6 a meal. But that’s still far below what you would ever spend for a meal hand-prepared by a gourmet chef at a restaurant.
Thinking Outside the Box
So what’s in store for this foodie foursome? As interest grows, the team hopes to make more connections with local growers to maintain their goal of responsible and local sourcing. They also hope to build in a feature for different diets. Vegetarian will be next (though nearly 80% of the meals currently offered by Full Fridge are already gluten-free).
As the team grows, they know one thing for sure. They will never stop making their food with love, believing everyone deserves a full fridge they are excited to come home to.
If you want a Full Fridge of your own, check out fullfridge.com.
@theAustinot wants to know:
Which Austin meal delivery services have you tried?
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