The first meals produced by Grain were whipped up in Chef Isaac’s tiny home kitchen. After various rounds of testing and iterations, we decided to embark on something ambitious.

It all started with an idea known as the food genome project, where one uses big data to derive recipes that meets the preferences of a large group of people. To explore this further, we decided to establish a subscription-based food business — the concept of a personal chef for everyone. The program took off well initially, gaining traction to hit 100 customers daily. However, due to resource constraints and other unique challenges, we realised the difficulty in maintaining a high-touch customer experience and scale at the same time. With the lack of scale, it was also difficult to obtain the necessary amount of data for the project.

This led us to question: How can we achieve scale for a food business without being constrained by a “subscription model”?

Pivot — Offering an on-demand food delivery service. We started this with a daily-changing menu of two options.

Day one, two customers.

Day two, six customers.

Subsequent days saw a measly six to eight customers, nowhere near our intended goal. To inject more choices and excitement into our menu offerings, we decided that four weekly dishes, covering major categories (seafood, poultry, red meat and vegetarian) was the best way to make sure that every palate can be satisfied. Dishes were also designed to include both local and fusion offerings, as well as chilled and warm options. Orders increased, customers loved it, and over time we started build a product that people wanted.

By encouraging customers to provide feedback on the food to Alfred (our friendly algorithm), and collating performance on delivery standards, we were able to gather the necessary data required to continuously improve the quality of every single meal that leaves our kitchen. From the feedback received from our customers, Alfred gets smarter each day. Think Artificial Intelligence, sort of.

Three years ago, we started with a random idea using inspiration from the food genome project. Through the past 1000 days, we have been trying to crack the food puzzle using data and culinary innovation. Many iterative processes have gone into the humble Grain meal box you see on your table today, and we’re still reinventing.

New dishes are being created every week, along with sampling and tweaking to create the optimal flavours for your palate. Together with the culinary team, our dedicated delivery crew also ensures that your food gets delivered fresh, and on time. This entire process is glued together by technology — our backbone.

Some days are better than others, but trust us when we say that we are constantly learning from our boo-boos and working to make it the best experience for you.