After narrowly avoiding extinction last summer, a Denver food delivery company with a focus on the popular “paleo diet” has roared back to life.
In late September, Caveman Cafeteria shut down.
But instead of accepting defeat, Caveman chefs David Kenney and Eddie Coulonbe took on the mammoth task of completing their clients’ orders anyway.
“We only missed one delivery,” Kenney said.
Then Kenney, Coulonbe and the rest of the Caveman Cafeteria staff – minus the founder – started Caveman Chefs and assumed $10,000 of Caveman Cafeteria’s debts in September of 2014.
“It’s all the same guys as before,” Kenney said.
Caveman Chefs has expanded upon the services offered by Caveman Cafeteria. The majority of the company’s revenue comes from a meal plan of delivered, pre-cooked meals.
The paleo diet, which is limited to foods presumed to have been eaten by early humans, consists mostly of meat, fish, vegetables and fruit and excludes dairy or grain products and processed food.
Caveman Chef’s most popular dish is Wagyu meatloaf with caramelized onions, sweet potato mash, broccoli and a bone marrow sauce.
The paleo diet was first proposed in 1975 but didn’t gain popularity until the 1990s. In 2013, “The Paleo Diet” was Google’s most-searched weight loss method.
Using two company vans, Caveman Chefs delivers six to 10 meals per week to designated locations around Denver for clients to pick up. The price for meal plans ranges from $300 to $1,120 per month.
“Out of 15 pickup locations, around 11 are CrossFit gyms,” said Kenney, who cites CrossFit athletes as Caveman Chef’s target market.
Caveman Chefs serves about 1,000 total meals per week, Kenney said.
In December, Caveman Chefs began shipping outside Colorado. Meals are frozen and sent to out-of-state clients using UPS overnight shipping.
“There’s been a lot of interest in California and some in Idaho,” Kenney said.
Caveman Chefs, which isn’t the only Paleo Diet meal delivery service in Denver, has expanded the menu to cater to the dietary needs of individual clients. Some clients, for example, cannot eat certain types of vegetables because of medical conditions.
About half of Caveman Cafeteria’s client base has special food requirements.
The demand for finicky diets was so high that Kenney hired a company to design software that tracks individual clients’ dietary restrictions.
And this month, the company released a series of paleo-friendly sauces: Sriracha and Chipotle BBQ.
Friends and family are the only buyers of sauce for now, but Kenney hopes to sell to boutique stores like Vitamin Cottage.
Caveman Chefs also started catering private events in 2014.
Both the catering and sauce services are still in their infancy.
“About 90 percent of our business comes from meal plan delivery,” Kenney said.
Since starting Caveman Chefs, Kenney has received offers to open two restaurants around Denver.
“We could do it tomorrow, but we need to focus on what we’re doing now,” Kenney said. “We all work 9 to 5 right now. We want to figure out how to live in the food industry and lead a normal life.”