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Boston Startup Rolls Out Food App that Automates Takeout

The app taps into about 20 local restaurants that the company considers the best locally owned takeout joints.

by Jordan Graham, Boston Herald / April 7, 2015

(TNS) -- A new Boston startup — aiming at the on-the-go diner who doesn’t want to waste time even thinking about food orders — plans to make takeout an afterthought, with a personalized “chef” app that can figure out what you want, and when you want it.

“Chef Nightly is a personal chef in your pocket, who learns your daily schedule, who learns your likes and dislikes, all that so he can get you food,” said Michael Sheeley, chief executive of the company and a co-founder of RunKeeper. “You can just swipe down and press a button and it gets delivered to your door.”

Chef Nightly, available for iPhones and Android devices, launched yesterday. It is backed by a number of high-profile local investors and was founded out of Blade, a startup foundry created by KAYAK co-founder Paul English. Blade has vowed to turn Boston into a consumer technology powerhouse, and has produced companies including WiGO, an app for college students’ social lives, and Bevy, a small device designed to collect digital photos, no matter what device they were taken on. Sheeley declined to say how much money the company has raised.

Chef Nightly keeps food simple, offering half-a-dozen categories of common takeout food, from burritos to pizza to pasta, with options in each category.

As someone uses the app, the personal chef kicks in, offering to order similar items at the same time the user did before.

“It’s right at 6 o’clock and your stomach gets a little hungry ... the chef comes out right when your stomach starts to rumble,” Sheeley said.

For now, the app is available only in the Boston area. The app taps into about 20 local restaurants that the company considers the best locally owned takeout joints.

But users don’t pick food from a specific restaurant, or even find out where the food came from. That, Sheeley said, is exactly the point. This app is for the person who considers even that to be too much information.

“We do the curation for you. If you’re the type of person who knows the exact restaurant you want, you know the exact item you want. There are plenty of ways to do that. We wanted to do something very different,” he said.

Chef Nightly wants to take every last bit of hassle out of ordering takeout, Sheeley said. So every single meal costs $12, including tip. For items that cost less than $12, add-ons like a soda or a salad are included.

“We wanted to include everything, that $12 is also the tip. We wanted to remove all frustrations from ordering,” Sheeley said.

©2015 the Boston Herald. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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