Regalis Foods supplies caviar, truffles, Wagyu beef, and other gourmet products to Michelin-starred restaurants including Eleven Madison Park and Le Bernardin in New York City.
As restaurants shutter across the country due to the coronavirus pandemic, the company has pivoted to delivering straight to people’s homes — at wholesale prices.
You can get a live king crab for $395, American Wagyu beef bavette for $17 a pound, and a quarter pound of wild black truffles for $130.
Founder Ian Purkayastha says the company has “a few hundred thousand dollars worth of caviar” to sell in the next several months before it expires.
“Since we’re basically offering wholesale prices on everything, we’re not too much more expensive on a lot of items than it would be to go to the grocery store,” he told Business Insider.
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Two weeks ago, Regalis Foods was delivering caviar, truffles, live king crabs, and Wagyu beef to the country’s top Michelin-starred restaurants, including Eleven Madison Park and Le Bernardin in New York City.
Then, in under a week, the company lost 99% of its customers as restaurants across the US shut down by government mandate to slow the spread of the coronavirus, according to founder Ian Purkayastha. Now, his company is sitting on hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of caviar and other gourmet products that it needs to sell.
So Purkayastha decided to make a “dramatic pivot”: delivering gourmet goods straight to people’s homes.
Think jars of caviar, boxes of mushrooms, wild black truffles, French white asparagus, Australian tiger prawns, live king crab, Heritage Berkshire Pork, American Wagyu beef, and truffle oil — FedEx-ed in ice-packed boxes right to your door.
“Since we’re basically offering wholesale prices on everything, we’re not too much more expensive on a lot of items than it would be to go to the grocery store,” Purkayastha told Business Insider.
Purkayastha said he hopes home delivery will keep his business afloat until restaurants can reopen.
The National Restaurant Association estimates that the restaurant industry will sustain a $225 billion hit over the next three months and that between 5 and 7 million restaurant workers will lose their jobs. Many establishments have already been forced to turn to mass layoffs.
Purkayastha says he has personally taken a 70% pay cut, and of Regalis Foods’ nearly 50 employees, only four have been laid off so far. But like many others in the industry, the company is facing an uncertain future as it sits on a surplus of pricey, perishable products and more than $1 million in outstanding receivables owed by restaurants.
“We can’t be insensitive and be demanding with our customers to try to collect on that money, especially when restaurants are shut down,” Purkayastha said. “But at the same time, we fear when all this goes away that we’re going to be screwed long term because we have so much money that is probably not going to be paid back to us.”
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Source:: Business Insider