Good Eggs Scrambles to Reinvent Itself

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Multiple farmers markets dot San Francisco throughout the week. From the epic Saturday morning Ferry Building Plaza, to sleepier Fort Mason, it’s possible to find nearly any kind of fruit or vegetable, as well as arrays of cheeses, chocolates, and cakes, in these perennial souks.

San Francisco has long been a leader in the food movement. More recently, the City emerged as a center of the high technology universe. It was no surprise, then, when Good Eggs combined venture capital-driven innovation with dry-farmed, sustainable and local.

Good Eggs has received considerable media attention over the past two years, not all of it positive. After raising nearly $53 million in two funding rounds, the company entered multiple markets within a year of its San Francisco launch. With leases on massive warehouses in San Francisco and Brooklyn, Good Eggs blogged its success. But last year the company announced a 15 percent staff layoff nationwide, part of an internal reorganization orchestrated by the new director of operations, Andy Rendich. Service was interrupted temporarily in Los Angeles in the spring; shortly thereafter the company reported expansion plans in New York City, with service growing to include Manhattan.

On August 5, Good Eggs announced a near complete downsizing, effective immediately. Rob Spiro, cofounder and chief executive officer, expressed regret and humility, and offered an apology to purveyors, employees and customers. He promised to do whatever it took to make Good Eggs a scalable enterprise, one that could expand again someday, better prepared for the inevitable challenges. The company has retained its offices near the San Francisco Wholesale Produce Mart, and continues to maintain nearly 100 employees in the City.

In mid-September, Good Eggs unveiled a next day delivery option for groceries ordered before 10 p.m. The company’s original model was based on freshness, an implicit goal of having an empty warehouse at the end of each day. Orders were fulfilled precisely, with each item earmarked for a delivery before it reached Good Eggs’ premises. Now, the company has thousands of square feet in its Bayview warehouse to fill up. More space combined with shorter turnaround times indicates that Good Eggs has decided to keep greater stocks on hand, possibly in preparation for higher demand and a larger customer base.

In late September Good Eggs unveiled a new homepage, “This Week,” which reflected a step away from being an online delivery service focused on just-in-time farm freshness, trying to bend demand towards its will. Two new self-proclaimed home cooks introduced themselves as Good Eggs’ food editors. Their stated goal is to offer easy to make home recipes, and let readers know what produce looks best that week.

The recipes are well laid out, easy to follow and display the price per serving for the budget conscious. This approach places Good Eggs closer to the direction of other delivery services, such as Blue Apron and Hello Fresh, which offer weekly subscriptions with specific ingredients for preplanned meals. With more guidance on the website directing customers what to purchase, the company is hoping to steer demand towards “peak of season” produce and ingredients listed in the recipes.

Good Eggs is now focusing on the busy consumer who needs guidance when it comes to the kitchen. Its target customer is someone who isn’t always up for a huge project, yet still wants home cooked meals, and has cash to spare for a premium delivery service. While many San Franciscans frequent the farmers markets for a leisurely shopping experience, Good Eggs is catering to those who don’t have the time or inclination to do that.

With convenience in mind, Good Eggs released a new app for IOS mobile devices. While the app is great for reordering, changing delivery windows and adding items to a basket, it lacks the benefits of the desktop website, such as the “This Week” homepage. According to Good Eggs’ Ally Khantzie, integration is “…definitely high on our list! You’ll start seeing content integrated into the app soon”. She also mentioned that the company is “rounding out the Good Eggs mobile experience by offering inspiration as well as shopping”.

“This is a different world than Instacart; the food is much fresher, tastier, and better for you,” said one Good Eggs customer, Rickover. “And it supports local farmers in your area! The app itself is gorgeous; fast, nice pictures, easy to use.”

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