Friday, July 19, 2024

The suddenly closed Feast & Fettle in Cambridge, seen Friday. (Photo: Marc Levy)

Feast & Fettle, a fresh-food delivery service and heat-and-eat storefront, closed its location on Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge in June – barely a month after opening.

Sarah MacDougall, director of brand at Feast & Fettle, pointed to operational limitations and poor timing for the store’s closing.

“Early in the summer is the worst possible time because that’s when people typically have more time and want to go out to dinner,” MacDougall said during an interview Monday by phone. “It might have been a different story if we had opened it in the fall, when people were returning to school.”

Founded in 2016, Feast & Fettle was an e-commerce business its first six years before it opened its first bricks-and-mortar store in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, in April 2023. After success there, the company began looking into expanding into Massachusetts, first opening a location in Newton in October.

The location “wasn’t getting the same traction” as the Rhode Island location, MacDougall said.

The company then moved to testing in Cambridge, opening its store at 1699 Massachusetts Ave. in the Baldwin neighborhood on May 16. The store opened later than expected: A representative said in September, after the company got License Commission approvals, that it expected to be open by 2024, but in February that was explained to be the timeline for Newton – and that Cambridge was expected to get its store in the spring.

The city’s core Feast & Fettle member base of more than 200 was not enough to keep the physical store profitable, and it shuttered its doors June 20.

The company remains unfazed. “We have this nature to just try things and see how they go, and don’t be afraid to pull the plug,” MacDougall said. “And that’s just what happened with Cambridge. We just chose to stop the bleeding.”

For now, Feast & Fettle is content to remain an e-commerce business, at least for Cambridge. MacDougall said the company would focus its energies on delivery rather than physical retail, though it was open to testing “smaller-scale retail applications” such as corporate partnerships with businesses, cafes, hospitals or campuses.

With its closing, Feast & Fettle joins a slew of other food and beverage businesses that have closed Cambridge locations this year – including restaurants Evoo and Za in Kendall Square and Möge Tee in Harvard Square.