Home Chef’s Founder Reveals the Recipe for a $200 Million Sale



a man standing in a kitchen: Patrick Vihtelic, founder of Home Chef.


© Photograph by Dave Kasnic
Patrick Vihtelic, founder of Home Chef.

A combination of experience and passion enabled Patrick Vihtelic to sell his meal-kit service, Home Chef, to Kroger in 2018.

Editor’s note: The story of Home Chef’s sale is part of a series on Inc. 5000 companies making a big exit. The other articles in the series describe the exit strategies of two other companies: New Belgium Brewing and Nutanix.

  • Meal-Kit Maven: Vihtelic founded Chicago-based meal-kit-delivery service Home Chef in 2013. Five years later, the company claimed the No. 3 spot on the Inc. 5000.
  • Banker, Coder, Founder: After four years as an investment banker, Vihtelic went to computer coding school so that he could build the first version of the company’s website himself.
  • A Multiyear Earn-Out: Kroger, the largest U.S. supermarket chain, acquired Home Chef
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Home Depot Founder Arthur Blank: This Is the Most Important Question You Can Ask Your Employees

Arthur M. Blank, co-founder of The Home Depot, was introduced to the startup life as a kid. His father launched a mail-order pharmacy business out of the one-bedroom apartment the family of four shared in the Sunnyside section of Queens, New York. Four years later, darkness set in when Blank’s father died suddenly. His mother picked up the pieces of both the family and the family business. She plowed ahead and became a successful entrepreneur, ultimately selling the company.

“My mother used to say, ‘make decisions for the right reason and live with the consequences,'” Blank tells Inc. That’s why, for instance, he decided to delay the reopening of the Mountain Sky Guest Ranch, a dude ranch he owns in Montana, even though it typically runs at more than 90 percent occupancy and guests were yearning to return. “We knew that if we opened we would bring disease into the

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