HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Thursday afternoon ― preparation and packing day for Kau Kau Box, a meal delivery service that was born during the pandemic after Kat Lin-Hurtubise saw her catering and hospitality companies shut down.
“We just started brainstorming, what can we do to be of service?,” said Lin-Hurtubise. “What is it that we can offer that’s kind of similar to what we’ve been doing, but different to respond to what is happening now? And out of those four or five hit the spaghetti on the wall meetings, we came up with this concept, Kau Kau Box.”
A service where customers can have a week’s worth of gourmet three-course meals and select local ingredients brought right to their homes, saving time, money and trips to the market.
[This story is part of HNN’s “Hawaii Strong” series, profiling businesses in the islands adapting to the pandemic and its economic fallout. To suggest a profile, send an email to email@example.com.]
“We often say to our customers or potential customers, ‘Skip the grocery stores, Kau Kau Box instead,’ because they are like truly my grocery bill, like going to a grocery store has gone from here to not even a quarter of what it used to be,” Lin-Hurtubise said.
The person typically filling that box is Chef Thomas Naylor of Ke Nui Kitchen at Waimea Valley, where visitor traffic and events have disappeared.
“We are sitting there going 'Okay, is this gonna be a month?,” Naylor said. “Is this gonna be two months? Is this gonna be for the rest of the year? And I think that pivot to do something like Kau Kau Box was integral in keeping us going and saying, whether this is one or two months, we can at least survive and keep the doors open and keep our staff working.”
In addition to Naylor, customers can also purchase a box prepared by Chef Chai.
The menus vary week-to-week, but all feature home grown ingredients.
“For us we feel that’s part of how the economy should be kicked back into play,” Naylor said. “Start with the smaller businesses that actually give people jobs, give people the ability to go out and spend, and then also work within the local economy as well too.”
Customers have the option of making a one-time purchase or signing up for a subscription service where boxes, which are priced at just under $140, are automatically delivered or picked up.
And the business that started because of the pandemic plans to keep operating beyond it.
“This definitely has legs,” Naylor said. “For us we feel that this will be a lynch pin or backbone of what we are doing because I don’t see events opening up anytime soon. But even after that, I think this is something that could be a staple for a lot of families and for the economy.”