How To Start A (Successful) Meal Prep Business?

December 13, 2019
Group photograph of ten cheerful-looking people posed in front of a exterior wall painted chocolate brown with circular details in lighter colours. Most of them are wearing black T-shirts with the words "The Foodery Boston".

Are you looking to start a profitable meal prep business? Are you wondering what’s the best way to have your food delivered to your customers?

We work with hundreds of meal prep business around the world, and one of the smartest and most savvy companies has to be The Foodery.

Let’s find out why.

What is a meal prep business?

Meal prep businesses offer nutritious and healthy food options that are delivered to customers who simply heat up the food in the microwave for a quick and easy meal.

The Foodery is a profitable meal prep business that crafts nourishing, ready-to-eat gourmet meals from scratch. They deliver those meals to hundreds of homes across the Greater Boston Area each week.

meal prep

Who is meal prep for?

The Foodery targets urban families and professionals who face a huge challenge: finding the time and resources to consistently eat healthy meals while maintaining a busy lifestyle.

The company posts rotating menus on their website, describing the meals and all their ingredients in mouthwatering detail. Customers order in advance for delivery on a Wednesday or Sunday, and delivery drivers bring the meals in containers that keep at least a few days in the fridge.

Challenges in the kitchen, and beyond

There are lots of things to consider when starting a meal prep business – and one of the most important components is planning the logistics both inside and outside of the kitchen.

The Foodery runs an efficient central kitchen for their meal prep operation. All the meals are prepared by dedicated chefs and put together in a sort of assembly-line.

Ingredients are local, organic, and in-season when available. Meats are mostly grass-fed, antibiotic, and hormone-free, and everything is made without artificial flavours and sweeteners, GMOs, and trans fats.

But how does The Foodery deliver those meals to their customers in a timely and efficient manner? It turns out, food delivery logistics can be pretty complicated.

3 tips on how to plan meal prep delivery logistics

When the Foodery first started up their meal prep business in 2012, they were planning all their delivery logistics manually. They’ve learned a lot since then to help them grow into a profitable business.

“Everything is in our control when we’re in the kitchen, but we needed a better way to stay vigilant the minute those deliveries went out the door,” said Foodery co-founder, John Bauer.

Below, John is sharing some tips and tricks for meal prep companies looking to plan their food delivery service more efficiently:

1. Hire amazing delivery drivers

“In the beginning, we started planning our delivery routes using pencil and paper, and going by zip code,” John says. “We sent drivers out who were familiar with the area and we relied on people’s expertise.

For that reason, John advises to hire the best delivery drivers you can. “We found trustworthy ambassadors to deliver our food. They were people who cared about our company, and understood our mission at The Foodery.”

When you’re trying to plan multiple stops and deliver hundreds of meals across a busy urban area, it’s important to be able to see where your drivers are going, John says.

2. Get a bird’s eye view of the routes

“Get a bird’s eye view of the routes. That way you can get an understanding of what the drivers will be dealing with when they’re out on the road,” he says.

“You can see, for example, which drivers have longer routes. I know I can put Jose on a difficult route, meanwhile Natasha is new, so I won’t have her driving downtown.”

3. Pack your delivery van accordingly

“We use route optimization software because it helps us create a workflow,” John explains.

“Route optimization software helps us sequence all our delivery stops in the most optimal order, and that helps us pack our delivery vans in the order in which they’re going to be emptied out on the delivery route. This helps the delivery team execute so much faster.”

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The easiest-to-use route optimization platform for growing delivery businesses.

Portrait of Suzanne Ma
Suzanne Ma
Suzanne Ma is a former journalist and published author turned co-founder at Routific, a route optimization platform. She loves to capture inspiring stories from small business entrepreneurs, and share their journeys of growth alongside Routific. As a Product Marketer, she ensures that the community stays up to date on the latest innovations at Routific.

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