Start-up Voilà

Exclusive cookery boxes from star chefs

The Voilà founders with Top Chefs (from left): Stephan Hentschel (Chef Cookies Cream), Julius Wiesenhütter (Voilà Co-Founder), Heinz Gindullis (Owner Cookies Cream), Florian Berg (Voilà Co-Founder).
The Voilà founders with Top Chefs (from left): Stephan Hentschel (Chef Cookies Cream), Julius Wiesenhütter (Voilà Co-Founder), Heinz Gindullis (Owner Cookies Cream), Florian Berg (Voilà Co-Founder).

Cooking boxes are among the discoveries during the lockdown months of the pandemic. The stock market value of the provider Hello Fresh has more than multiplied since March 2020, and some restaurateurs have also tested the concept - such as star chef Alexander Herrmann with his newly founded company Starchefbox. The Berlin start-up Violá now wants to bring creations of several star chefs among the people and thus, according to its own statement, "bring the topic of cooking boxes in the top gastronomy to a new level".

Several Michelin-starred restaurants are among the first partners of the portal, which can be reached at the vegetarian Cookies Cream with chef Stephan Hentschel from Berlin (1 star), Mannheim's Opus V (2 stars), Dr. Kosch from Düsseldorf (1 star), Sola (1 star), which is considered a culinary innovation driver in Paris. In addition, the Neuköllner Speisekneipe Tisk, which has been awarded a Green Michelin star. After the start in Germany, a Europe-wide expansion is planned.

Founder with delivery background

The concept of the two founders Julius Wiesenhütter and Florian Berg: Bringing menus from top restaurants all over Europe into the home dining room, which can be completed in just a few steps on your own stove. The focus is on the domestic restaurant experience for the guest.

Cooking Boxes Start-Up Voilà: Fine Dining Experience at home

Both founders are proven delivery and gastronomy experts with many years of experience, for example at the Delivery Hero brands Foodora and Foodpanda. "Even back then, we noticed that the delivery business could not reach numerous potential customers outside the delivery area with the classic offers," explains Wiesenhütter. "At the same time, it was difficult to convince the top restaurateurs and chefs in a city that delivery could also be possible and interesting for them. With our concept, we want to help restaurants and chefs open up new business and build a community beyond their own city limits."

From their experience, Wiesenhütter and Berg are aware of the challenges Top Chefs face, and not just when it comes to creating and delivering a home fine dining menu. "There was uncertainty about whether this elevated culinary restaurant experience could be experienced at home, and regardless of distance," Wiesenhütter describes. The Voilà team is working closely with its partners on the restaurant side to make home fine dining as easy and experiential as possible.

How Voilà works

The customer orders an exclusive 3 to 5 course menu from the restaurant of his choice on the Home Fine Dining portal by Wednesday evening at the latest. The menu is prepared on Thursday morning, packed fresh from the fridge, picked up by Voilà in the afternoon and shipped. Finally, the customer receives his desired menu within 24 hours and can finish it at the weekend at any time with just a few simple steps. In individually created videos, the chefs present their menu and its finishing. A music list coordinated with the menu as well as wine accompaniment round off the experience.

"At, we not only bring restaurants and food lovers together, but also deliver unique restaurant experiences to their homes and create a community," Florian Berg emphasizes, adding exactly the point that sets the home fine dining portal apart from usual delivery platforms. "Because in addition to placing orders, our portal offers a variety of discovery opportunities, information on trends and developments in top gastronomy, as well as space for exchange among food lovers."

Turnover opportunities for restaurateurs

The menu is priced between €40 and €100 per person. "We always achieve an interesting basket size via the minimum order quantity of two menus," Wiesenhütter points out. "The beverage accompaniment offers additional earning opportunities for the restaurateurs." Voilà does not charge a basic fee from its partner chefs, but receives a percentage commission of the order value. In return, Voilà, as a service provider, takes over central operational activities, such as setting up and coordinating nationwide or Europe-wide logistics and digital infrastructure, as well as providing high-quality packaging for passive cooling of the food. In particular, however, Voilà supports its partners through efficient and tailor-made marketing. The company places particular emphasis on the issue of sustainability, as Voilà provides its partners with 100% recyclable insulation and water-based coolants for shipping.

Well-known investors on board

Voilà is supported by renowned investors. The funding round is led by Berlin-based early-stage investor Atlantic Food Labs, which primarily invests in innovative food tech startups. Since its founding in 2016, the Berlin-based investor has built a forward-looking portfolio of FoodTech startups in Europe. These include Infam, Sanity Group, Mushlabs, Formo (formerly Legendairy) and the 10-minute delivery service Gorillas. Also involved in Vilà (and Gorillas) is Adrian Frenzel, ex-CO-CEO US of HelloFresh. The same goes for venture capitalist Shio Capital.

The founders and investors see great potential: "In Germany alone, there are more than 300 restaurants awarded by the Michelin Guide, in other countries the density is much higher. Thanks to our cross-border approach and the cultural diversity of the various regions, we can deliver a unique culinary variety to our customers' own four walls," promises Berg.