David Chang’s Maple Expands Delivery Zone

As of today, workers in midtown now have the option to order there lunch from Maple – the streamlined food delivery competitor of Seamless and Grubhub backed by Momofuku’s David Chang. The Maple app launched last spring, and has since then allowed users downtown to order lunch or dinner from a rotating selection of menus (roughly 5 a day) to be delivered to their work or home. What separates Maple from other delivery apps is that there is no restaurant or selection of restaurants you are ordering from; instead, their small staff operates out of a commissary kitchen testing, preparing, and packaging the recipes each day (although Chang describes the operation as a “real restaurant,” with the app and delivery logistics taking the place of typical front of house operations).

Maple is a favorite of downtown 9-to-5’ers for it’s focus on presentation, affordability, and simple, healthy options. Chang originally invested in the project because he believed that “no one [had] ever taken the time to really do delivery food well.” They are expanding slowly for now, and still have all the trappings of a service-focused start-up: they have a small team of well-paid employees with a high attention to detail, and if you contact them with any problems (like a food order that arrives after 30 minutes), you’re likely to get emails back from a real person whose top priority is keeping you as a customer. Orders even include a free sugar cookie to set them apart. So far all thi has worked to Maple’s advantage, and press has been consistently good. We’ll know soon whether they can build the momentum necessary to compete with top delivery apps on a larger scale.

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The $100 Donut You Probably Don’t Need

manila-social-club-100-dollar-donut-101.jpgThe New York Lottery has been running subway ads recently which feature allegedly true stories of egregious displays of wealth – thousands of dollars spent on dead bats or caviar that never gets eaten, for example – with the tagline “You’d make a much better rich person.” The idea is a catchy one, and it’s easy to find examples of people who will pay a little (or a lot) more to get the most luxe versions of everyday items, and businesses willing to provide them. The latest example is Williamsburg’s Manila Social Club, where you can now buy a $100 donut coated in 24-karat gold and Cristal champagne icing.

The donut was originally conceived by chef Björn DelaCruz to pair with Braven Brewery‘s IPA. The recipe has morphed over time, although Manila was already known for other donuts featuring the same ube filling. So far the steep price tag and over-the-top execution have generated plenty of publicity, and according to Business Insider some guests have even paid 1,200 and gotten a full dozen. All of which raises the question – can any of us really be sure we would make better rich people than the dead-bat collectors and caviar-forgetters of the world?

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