There’s no shortage of food delivery startups out there, but
wants to tap into something more than nourishment:
The 4-year-old startup ships dishes from some of the best-known
restaurants in the nation, like Joe’s Pizza in New York, Prantl’s
Bakery in Pittsburgh, and Honolulu Fish Company in Hawaii. The
food arrives chilled in just a couple of days, ready pop in the
oven or eat straight out of the box.
‘Democratizing the food industry’
Goldbely was founded by Joe Ariel, a serial entrepreneur who
previously headed up Eats.com and Delivery.com. He founded
Goldbely in 2013 inspired by what he experienced during college:
While attending school at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, he
got hooked on Tennessee cuisine, but was never able to replicate
it after leaving the region for New York and then San Francisco.
He decided to build Goldbely to help local restaurateurs and
small businesses get national exposure — he calls it “democratizing the food industry.”
Goldbely is selective about which restaurants are admitted onto
the platform — Ariel says only about 5% of restaurants that apply
are accepted. Right now, there are about 300 vendors on
Beyond offering individual dishes, Goldbely also has 15
subscription options, including cookies, barbecue, bacon, and pizza. By opting for the pizza subscription, for
example, you’ll receive a pizza each month from a different
restaurant. The pizza subscription costs $59 per month.
That brings up the issue of price, one of the common gripes with
food delivery services. For $59, you could probably get at least
four pizzas at your local pizzeria.
But the costs make more sense when you break it down. I got to
test three items from Goldbely, one being a Primanti Bros.
sandwich kit, a staple of the Pittsburgh diet. The kit served six
to eight people and came disassembled — cheese in one package,
french fries (that needed to be cooked) in another, a loaf of
bread, and so on. The kit costs $99, which for eight people,
comes to about $12.38 per sandwich. At a Primanti’s store, the
sandwich costs $7.39. But with the cost of quick shipping and the
Primanti’s t-shirt they threw in, that doesn’t seem like such an
The Baltimore Bomb Pie, which I also received, costs $59 and also
serves eight people, which shakes out to about $7.38 per slice —
again, not outlandish if you’re a huge fan of that particular
The one item offered on the site that threw me for a loop was the
Anchor Bar wings — known to most as the “original Buffalo wings.”
On Goldbely, 50 wings cost $129, a truly staggering price if
you’ve ever ordered 50 wings while actually in Buffalo, where
they typically cost $1 per wing. But, since most cities offer
terrible chicken wings, you may be willing to go above and beyond
to get the real thing.
All of this is to say that the cost of some Goldbely items can be
a little prohibitive for average consumers. But Goldbely isn’t
intended to be a Blue Apron or UberEats competitor. In fact,
Ariel likens it more to Omaha Steaks or Harry & David’s —
rather than sending a box of generic steaks as a gift, Ariel
suggests Goldbely’s monthly barbecue subscription, which contains
dishes like Austin’s Salt Lick BBQ Texas Brisket and Legend
Central BBQ’s Dry Rub Ribs from Memphis.
The company banks on the premise that you’ll be enticed not by
the snacks themselves, really, but by the memorable experience of
eating your favorite birthday cake from Milk Bar or that
delicious ahi tuna steak you had on vacation in Hawaii.
In short, Goldbely is making it easier to feed your most specific
cravings — and supplying you with some fond memories in the
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