KENTFIELD – Marin upscale grocer Woodlands Market will be the first stop on what entrepreneur Eric Greenberg hopes is a national rollout of his new prepared-food line.
Beautifull! is what Mr. Greenberg is calling his chef-designed, sustainably farmed and nutritiously superior line of entrees, sides and salad dressings.
Thursday will mark the first retail appearance of the line, which will also be sold from its own Beautifull! retail outlets. The first outlet, which will feature takeout and also seated service for three meals a day, is slated to open in April at the Laurel Village shopping center in San Francisco.
“My target customers are busy, have a strong commitment to sustainability and local food sources and to their own health,” said Mr. Greenberg. “They also appreciate delicious food.”
Fueled by about $15 million in seed funding and investment capital from Mohr Davidow Ventures, Mr. Greenberg has been working up to the launch for about two years.
His business model, which he is trying out in the center of the foodie universe – Northern California – includes a kitchen supplying a group of Beautifull! retail store-cafes and retail partners. Customers within a short distance of each store can order from the Beautifull! Web site for home delivery.
“Our food has a much shorter shelf life than most prepared deli foods – five to 10 days depending on the product – so a nearby kitchen is essential,” he said.
Using local food sources, Beautifull! will prepare a core of about 100 items, 40 to 50 at a time. Beautifull!’s first kitchen is in South San Francisco. Mr. Green-berg is scouting Bay Area locations and hopes to have three store-cafes operating by the end of the year.
His first retail partner is Woodlands Market. Whole Foods will most likely be his next.
“We’re proud to be the first to carry Beautifull! foods,” said Don Santa, owner of Woodlands Market.
“We’re less interested in the profits than the quality of the foods and the passion that goes into their making. It’s a whole new category: the highest quality of taste along with the highest nutrition.
“Our customers expect the best, so this is the perfect global kickoff point for Eric,” he said.
According to Mr. Greenberg, the timeline for growth depends on the economy. “If we have good customer take-up in our first regional hub, we’ll go into other metropolitan areas within two years,” he said. Those might include the Dallas-Houston region in Texas, metropolitan Chicago, Washington, D.C., or the Tri-State area on the East Coast.
This is his first venture into the food industry, but Mr. Greenberg has a track record with startups.
He founded e-business consulting firm Scient (Nasdaq: SCNT) and before that Viant (Nasdaq: VIAN), an Internet systems integrator. Currently he heads up Innovations Investments LLC, a holding company and merchant bank in Ross. In his mid-40s Mr. Greenberg underwent a conversion to a healthier life style, a path he chronicled in a book he co-wrote and self-published in 2008 called “Generation We.”