“Like many of us, I had a problem eating lunch at my workplace, properly and on the go. Either I was going to get myself a sandwich at the last minute, or I was not eating for lack of time. I could not anticipate my meals the day before for the next day, it was not possible“, launches Jordane Ponty.
Tired of this situation and eager to undertake, this former real estate employee decided to join forces with Cathy Sébastien, her mother-in-law, a professional cook and pastry chef and former restaurateur, to found BoCantine. Launched in September 2021, the company offers homemade meals, in reusable glass jars, which can be kept for several weeks in the fridge and delivered to their place of work or home.
“Cathy was already making jars, to enjoy at lunchtime, for those around her. It helped me a lot. alone to suffer from this problem of meals at 12 p.m. So there was something to do”, underlines the co-founder of BoCantine.
Healthy cooking and quality products
The family business offers homemade recipes, cooked with local seasonal products and “completely different from industrial dishes“. To taste the contents of the jar, simply remove the iron lid and heat it for a few minutes in the microwave or in a bain-marie.
BoCantine recipes can be kept fresh for up to four weeks thanks to pasteurization. This safe, healthy and long-lasting method of preservation allows you to build up a pantry so that you are never caught off guard. “Before marketing, each recipe is validated by a laboratory which defines the expiry date.“, specifies Jordane Ponty. This technique allows the company to anticipate and better manage its stocks and to avoid unsold items and therefore waste.
Starters, main courses and desserts, the young Toulouse company offers a wide choice of recipes made from products from short circuits. The BoCantine menu changes several times a year, with the seasons. On the latter there are always three starters, six main courses and three desserts. To find at the moment: a mimosa leek fondue with curry, a green gazpacho, grilled vegetables and chicken with soy sauce, a Flemish carbonade, a creamy polenta with carrots and hake fillet, a risotto from the vegetable garden, a pear clafoutis or another chocolate parfait.
As in the restaurant, BoCantine offers a multitude of starters, main courses and desserts. (Credits: Manuel Huynh)
“We try to change the dishes every month and we always offer a vegetarian dish. We choose products from the Occitanie region. For example, the rice comes from an estate in Aude, the salt from Gruissan, the poultry from Saint-Gaudens, etc. In addition, we buy our glass jars from a company located in Portet-sur-Garonne.”
All the recipes are imagined and concocted by Cathy Sébastien in a professional kitchen that the company rents in Tournefeuille, in the suburbs of Toulouse. With a surface area of nearly 40m2, it has all the necessary equipment including a cooling cell and a cold room.
For those who don’t have time to cook
Designed for businesses, the service attracts individuals just as much. BoCantine only offers live delivery/delivery, at home or at the workplace. The company thus delivers everywhere within the territory of Toulouse Métropole.
Among its professional clients, it has several structures with ten to fifteen employees, but also groups such as Crédit Agricole Immobilier and Eiffage Construction. “We also offer them meal trays for training or internal meetings as well as cocktail buffets for events.“, indicates the manager. Her private clientele is mainly composed of young dynamic people but also of elderly people “who want to eat well but who can no longer cook.“
Like a Deliveroo or Uber Eat order, customers place and pay for their order via the BoCantine website and indicate their place of delivery. The prices of starters and desserts are set between 3.20 and 3.50 euros. The dishes are marketed between 8 and 9.50 euros. BoCantine also offers a discovery formula at 60 euros which includes three starters, five main courses and three desserts of your choice.
“Our client portfolio is growing more and more”
For organizational and logistical reasons, BoCantine has not set up a deposit system for its jars. However, a large majority of his customers return them to him once the content has been consumed so that they can be washed and put back in the circuit. In the future, the young company does not rule out the idea of setting it up.
Today, the two founders, “different but complementary“, work alone to develop their structure. If they make all the decisions relating to BoCantine together, Jordane Ponty takes care of the pure development of the company, namely communication, delivery or prospecting and Cathy Sébastien, she, is in charge of production and liaising with suppliers.In the long term, the two business leaders want to hire help in the kitchen.
Launched just a few months ago, the concept is appealing. BoCantine gives itself “one and a half to two years“to validate its model, generate a salary from it and retain as many customers as possible. Financially, the young box has not set itself any objectives.
“We have a strong start that we did not expect. We are asking companies and individuals to anticipate their meals over the next few days or even weeks. This is a new concept. We knew it was meeting a need, but that people were so enthusiastic from the start surprised us. Our customer portfolio is growing more and more. Our goal is to have top-notch customer feedback and quality service. We will draw conclusions later”, explains Jordane Ponty.
If successful, BoCantine plans to acquire its own premises where its kitchen and storage space can be installed. The Toulouse caterer is not against the idea of exporting its concept beyond the Pink City.