Plated

28 Jan

For the first project, I’m starting with a Facebook “suggested post.” This is a post that a page, or even an individual can make and “sponsor” or “suggest” it through facebook’s ad platform. People tend to lament and sometimes deeply hate the “sponsored post,” so I thought it would be a great place to start. I saw this ad and clicked it.

Facebook

 

Someone paid for me to see this ad, I clicked it and it took me to Plated.com. It contained a discount code which I used to order $64 worth of recipes. This gave me 2 different meals, both with servings for 2. The original cost was $64 with $12 shipping. I only had to pay for the shipping because of the Facebook ad. That means my total cost for the meals was $3 each.

Due to shipping constraints, Plated is only available in certain areas. You can also get memberships to make the plates cheaper. I opted against that for my this tryout, plus I had a free code.

I chose the Provencal Steak and the Chicken with White Wine Pan Sauce. The Plated box came about 4 days later. It contained lots of things:

My images show the “Provencal Steak” dish. It wasn’t difficult to cook, but the directions were a little lacking and some of the ingredients weren’t very intuitive.
Over all it ended up looking a lot like the picture, but the steak was a bit tough. Likely due to only marinating for a short time, when we could’ve marinated up to 24 hours. Plated isn’t about learning to cook. They provide pre-portioned ingredients and a recipe. Follow the directions and you have something decent. Learning to cook requires understanding what you’re doing, not just mindlessly following the directions. My cooking and dining companion actually said, “I’ve seen boxed cake mix with better documentation.”
The four people who tried the finished dish generally liked it, every one of them added butter and salt to their vegetables and said the steak was tough.
I split the 2 servings into 4 servings so my friends could each taste the full meal, here are their ratings:
Diner A – 4.5/10
Diner B – 7.5/10
Diner C – 7/10
Diner D – 6/10
My overall feeling was that this slickly-produced startup isn’t going to be successful. The website is visually very well done and the app itself works well. However, the directions need to be refined and the price is clearly only for a novelty. The ingredients are not rare, hard to find things, they’re regular grocery items at an increased cost, plus a wait time for shipping. It just makes sense for people to learn to cook on their own. Sure, some people might not have the time to go shopping, but at that point, why not just go out? I think the one aspect that would be worth pursuing for Plated is the gifting aspect. It would be a sort of fun gift to a family member who lives far away and then you could buy them dinner once a month, but they’d still have to cook.

Plated encourages others to post their meals to twitter and instagram with the hash tag #plated. You can check those sites for more pictures of dishes that their users have made.

 

I’m clicking on and purchasing from 12 ads in 2014. To learn more about this project, check out the introduction to “Let’s Click on Ads