When John Nguyen lost his job as a data scientist at Ernst & Young because of coronavirus, he decided to start Eat Box Now, a Korean barbeque-box delivery company.

While eating at a Korean barbeque joint is one of life’s great pleasures, the shared utensils and often cosy seating are a social-distancing nightmare. These DIY kits are the next best thing.

The boxes come with enough food to feed two ($58, delivered), four ($105) or six ($249) people. Each one includes a variety of meats (including bulgogi beef, boneless pork riblets, chicken and pork belly), vegetables and sides (kimchi, seaweed strips, pickled radish), dipping sauces and rice. Deluxe boxes include Wagyu beef and a bottle of soju (a clear Korean spirit). Customers have the option to use their own grill or stove, or add a small gas stove and hotplate to their order for $60.

“Eating freshly cooked meat at Korean barbeque and sharing a meal over great conversation is a well-missed social experience,” Nguyen says. “Our ready meal boxes allow you to do this without having to venture out unnecessarily.”

Like the dishes at your favourite Korean barbeque eatery, the home meals shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to cook – a point of difference to other, more involved prep-at-home experiences being put forward by restaurants forced to go takeaway-only over the past couple of months.

“Everything is prepared for you and all you need to do is place the items onto your table, throw the meat on a pan, grill or barbeque and eat as you go, or cook it all at once,” Nguyen says.

Since it launched on May 10, Eat Box Now has received 1000 orders. Nguyen plans to harness the concept’s popularity and expand into Vietnamese barbeque, as well as to other states and territories. Eat Box Now delivers on Fridays and Saturdays within a 35-kilometre radius of the CBD.

eatboxnow.com