You've stumbled upon the idea to build a meal prep business and now you're ready to take the next steps.
There's a lot to think about when building a business, so we put together a guide on how to get started, launch, grow and run your meal prep business.
We also provide you with real-life case studies and examples of founders running successful meal prep business (and how much💰 they're making today).
💡 Introduction To Starting A Meal Prep Business
What is the meal prep delivery business all about?
Meal prep delivery businesses typically prepare home cooked meals for their customers and deliver directly to their home.
There are many different approaches you can take within this industry, however, the most popular type of meal delivery is one that is:
- Healthy: Geared towards a specific diet or lifestyle
- Low Maintenance: Quick and easy to cook once delivered
- Tasty: Quality ingredients sourced and tastes like a home-cooked meal.
- Custom-made: Ability to tailor to customers needs based on their diet preferences, allergies, etc (ie. gluten free, vegetarian)
Is the meal prep delivery business for you?
There are a lot of different components to consider when starting a meal prep business.
Let's look at the pros and cons of starting your own meal prep business
- Flexibility One of the biggest advantages of starting a meal prep business is that you can either offer part-time or full-time services. If you like the work and have some initial experience, you can start small and manage all aspects of the business on your own. Or, if you prefer to manage the books and instead delegate the kitchen work to someone else, you can build and manage your own team to do so.
- Ability to start your business from home: It's not necessary to have an office space to get your business started! You can do everything from the comfort of your own home, at least in the beginning!
- Rewarding work: If you're someone that truly enjoys the art of food + making peoples lives easier, starting a meal prep business can be really fun and rewarding.
- Food prep + delivery logistics can be challenging: If you plan to source local, fresh, organic ingredients + meat options, there is a large planning process involved with delivering meals in a timely and efficient manner. Additionally, it's your responsibility that ingredients do not go bad and arrive in perfect shape (we'll get into this more in the guide below).
- High overhead costs: You will need to anticipate high overhead costs in order to acquire the right supplies + food to get your meal service off the ground.
- Crowded space: There is a lot of competition when it comes to meal prep delivery services, so it's important that you spend a good amount of time analyzing the market and demand in your area.
- Motivation: You may find yourself needing delivery drivers + chefs in the kitchen. It's important that you are able to motivate and incentivize your team properly.
- HelloFresh $1.1B/year in revenue
- Blue Apron $450M/year in revenue
- Home Chef
- Plated Sold to Albertsons for $300M
Small Players (the opportunity)
- Healthy Chew $60K/month in revenue
- One Life Meals $130K/month in revenue
- MealPro $50K/month in revenue
- Nourish Foods Co $180K/month in revenue
- Eat Clean LLC $300K/month in revenue
- Full Belly Fare $14K/month in revenue
- Cameron's Seafood $300K/month in revenue
According to Statista, fresh meal delivery kits are on a positive growth trajectory in the U.S.
In 2017, the industry was valued at 4.65B with a 300% growth over the previous year. By 2022, the market is expected to more than double, reaching 11.6 billion dollars.
Let's take a look at the search trends for meal kit delivery services over the last year:
It's important to understand who is buying this service and why it's so wildly popular for that customer.
It's more simple than you may think.
Really, it comes down to people being busy and not having time to go to the grocery store.
Who are your customers?
- College students/young adults: Days/nights are fast paced for this demographic and they tend to yearn for a home-cooked meal, without actually having to cook
- Parents: Mom's & Dad's are doing the best they can to get through the day. Often times, the last thing they want (or can do) is to get to the grocery store and cook a nutritious meal for their family.
- Workers Whether it's bringing a lunch to work or making dinner at the end of the day, the last thing a working professional wants is to prepare/cook a meal.
Andy Sartori, founder of MealPro states their customer demographic in one sentence:
Our typical customer is a busy, health-conscious individual who has no time to shop, prep, portion and cook meals to support their nutrition objectives, hence our call-out “Eat with Purpose”.
🎬 How To Start A Meal Prep Business
Write a Business Plan
Writing a business plan from the start is critical for the success of your meal prep business.
Because this allows you to roadmap exactly what you do, what your overall structure will look like, and where you want to be in the future.
For many entrepreneurs, writing out the business plan helps validate their idea and decide whether or not they should move forward with starting the business.
You may want to consider expanding upon these sections in your business plan:
- Executive Summary: Brief outline of your product, the market, and growth opportunities
- Overviews and Objectives: Overview of your business, target customers, and what you need to run your business
- Products and Services: Specifics on the products and services your business will provide
- Market Opportunities: Analysis of customer demographics, buyer habits and if your product is in demand
- Marketing: Outline of your marketing plan and how you plan to differentiate yourself from other customers
- Competitive analysis: Analysis of your competition and the strengths and weaknesses therein
- Operations: Hierarchal structure of the company and what it will take to run the business on the day-to-day
- Leadership Team: Detailing roles and responsibilities of each manager based on their specific skill-set
- Financial Analysis Understanding of all expenses, operating budgets, and projections for the future.
Learn more about how to write a business plan here
Setting Up Your Meal Prep Business (Formation and Legal)
When it comes to setting up your business, you may find yourself in a place where you have to make some financial and legal decisions.
The first thing you'll want to decide on is whether you want to be an LLC, S-Corp, or C-Corp.
These three options are found to be the most common when starting a small business, and all serve to protect your personal assets and also provide you with certain tax benefits.
- LLC: All income and expenses from the business are reported on the LLC personal income tax return.
- S corp: Owners pay themselves salaries + receive dividends from profits.
- C Corp: C Corps are separately taxable entities that file a corporate tax return (Form 1120). No income tax is paid at the corporate level and any tax due is paid at the owners individual expense.
Depending on where you're conducting business, you'll also want to consider securing the proper permits, licenses and liability insurance.
Need to start an LLC? Create an LLC in minutes with ZenBusiness.
Licenses & Permits
When starting a meal prep service, it's important to identify the type of space that you will be cooking meals + preparing deliveries.
Before launch, you may want to consider preparing/cooking the meals in your own kitchen (or a friends) to test different recipes, meal options, prep process so that you can ensure everything is in place once you launch.
In this stage, as long as you are not selling products- the experimental phase can be done in the comfort of your own home without a heal department to approve the kitchen.
Health Department Approval
Once you're ready to launch the business, there are a few boxes to check in order to ensure you are health & safety approved.
The most common question is whether you can operate a meal prep business from home or if you need to rent a kitchen facility.
As long as you are FDA approved, you have the ability to operate out of your own kitchen. However, you may need proper equipment in order to make that happen, and a commercial kitchen facility may be better suited for you.
For a full list of FDA requirements to get your food business set up, read more ➡️ here.
Michael Martinez, founder of Eat Clean LLC explains his experience renting a commercial facility:
The business was started with three of my long-time friends and just $3,000 (which was all that I had in my savings account at the time). That money was used for kitchen hours in a commercial kitchen, food and our original website.
By our third month, we were delivering to over 100 customers each week and we then had to lease a space and build our own kitchen. Initially, our customer base was family, friends, local gyms, and sports teams.
The space we leased was a pizza restaurant that we had to tear down and build it to our requirements. Later on, we then leased the two locations next to us for additional space to prepare our meals.
How Much Does It Cost To Start A Meal Prep Business
If you are planning to start a meal prep business, the costs are relatively low. This, of course, depends on if you decide to start the business with lean expenses or bringing in a large team and spending more money.
We’ve outlined two common scenarios for “pre-opening” costs of starting a meal prep business and outline the costs you should expect for each:
- The estimated minimum starting cost = $1,763
- The estimated maximum starting cost = $32,509
|Startup Expenses: Average expenses incurred when starting a meal prep business.||Min Startup Costs: You plan to execute on your own. You’re able to work from home with minimal costs.||Max Startup Costs: You have started with 1+ other team members.|
|Office Space Expenses|
|Rent: This refers to the office space you use for your business and give money to the landlord. To minimize costs, you may want to consider starting your business from home or renting an office in a coworking space.||$500||$5,750|
|Utility Costs For Office Space: Utility costs are the expense for all the services you use in your office, including electricity, gas, fuels, telephone, water, sewerage, etc.||$200||$1,150|
|WiFi & Internet: Whether you work from home or in an office space, WiFi is essential. Although the cost is minimal in most cases, it should be appropriately budgeted for each month!||$50||$100|
|Total Office Space Expenses||$750 (min)||$7,000 (max)|
|Equipment & Supply Expenses|
|Technology Office Equipment: This includes (but is not limited to) physical items such as: laptops, cameras, monitors, microphones, speakers, headsets. Technology needs grow as your company evolves, so to minimize costs, try and only purchase what is needed for you to run your business at the time.||$500||$5,000|
|Total Equipment & Supply Expenses||$500 (min)||$5,000 (max)|
|Upfront Costs For Inventory: This includes all upfront inventory you will need in order to launch. Be sure to compare prices of wholesalers to ensure you're getting the best deal and margins remain high.||$300||$5,000|
|Inventory Storage: If you decide to have a physical space for your meal prep business, whether it be used for inventory or as a showroom, you may have monthly rent payment or a large down payment associated with renting/buying the space.||$0||$5,000|
|Package Design: Packaging refers to wrapping and protecting products during distribution, shipping, and sales.Your package design is your customer's first impression of your brand, so it's important you spend some time and energy to get this right from the start.Many businesses design their own packages using design software and tools. There is always the option to outsource this to a design expert, but that route tends to be much more expensive.||$50||$3,000|
|Shrinkage: Shrinkage refers to the loss of inventory at any point between the purchase from your supplier and the purchase by your customer. Although you will try to avoid this at all costs, this does happen sometimes (especially in the learning stages of your business), and it's important to plan ahead financially in case this happens. Fortune states that retail shrinkage costs U.S. retailers approximately 1.4 percent of their total sales.||$0||$1,000|
|Distribution costs: Depending on what distribution plan you choose, expenses such as renting vans, hiring delivery drivers and gas costs can add up. If you are looking to save money upfront, you may want to consider conducting distribution on your own.||$0||$750|
|Total Inventory Expenses||$350 (min)||$14,750 (max)|
|Design Programs & Software: These programs might include the Adobe family of design tools: Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and others. This is typically a monthly subscription ranging from $10-$50/mo.||$0||$50|
|Email marketing tool: If you plan to grow your email list and email marketing efforts, you may want to consider investing in an email marketing platform (ie. Klaviyo, MailChimp). We put together a detailed guide on all of the email marketing tools out there + the pricing models for each one here||$0||$100|
|IT Support: IT support installs and configures hardware and software and solves any technical issues that may arise.IT support can be used internally or for your customers experiencing issues with your product/service.There are a variety of tools and software you can use to help with any technical issues you or your customers are experiencing. This is a great option for businesses that do not have the means to hire a team of professionals.||$150||$2,000|
|Accounting & Invoicing Software: It's important to have an accounting system and process in place to manage financials, reporting, planning and tax preparation. Here are the 30 best accounting tools for small businesses.||$0||$50|
|Project Management Software: You may want to consider using a project management and collaboration tool to organize your day-to-day. This can also be very beneficial if you have a larger team and want to keep track of everyones tasks and productivity. For a full list of project management tools, check out this full list here.||$0||$25|
|Internal Communication Tool: If you plan to have multiple members on your team, you may want to consider an instant message tool such as Slack or Telegram. The cost is usually billed per month (approx $5/user/month) or there are freemium versions available on many platforms.||$0||$20|
|Social Media Management Tools: If you plan to do social media marketing for your meal prep business, you should consider investing in a social media automation or publishing tool. This will save you time and allow you to track performance and engagement for your posts. Here is a list of 28 best social media tools for your small business.||$0||$50|
|Payroll Software: The main purpose of payroll software is to help you pay your team and track each of those payments (so that you don't have to do it manually). If you do not have any employees or have a very small team, payroll software may not be necessary at this stage. Here are the 11 best payroll tools for small businesses!||$0||$200|
|Online data storage: It's important to make sure the information for your meal prep business is stored and protected should something happen to your computer or hard drive. The cost for this is affordable and depends on how much data you need to store. To learn more about the different options and pricing on the market, check out this article.||$0||$299|
|Total Software Expenses||$150 (min)||$2,794 (max)|
|A Domain Name: Your domain name is the URL and name of your website - this is how internet users find you and your website.Domain names are extremely important and should match your company name and brand. This makes it easier for customers to remember you and return to your website.||$12||$200|
|Business Email Hosting Service: An email hosting runs a dedicated email server. Once you have your domain name, you can set up email accounts for each user on your team. The most common email hosts are G Suite and Microsoft 365 Suite. The number of email accounts you set up will determine the monthly cost breakdown.||$1||$15|
|Total Website Costs||$13 (min)||$215 (max)|
|Advertising & Marketing Costs|
|Customer Research & Surveys: Many meal prep business's conduct industry and consumer research prior to starting their business. Often times, you need to pay for this data or hire a market research firm to help you in this process.||$0||$300|
|Affiliate Marketing Commission & Fees: If you want to increase revenue for your meal prep business, affiliate marketing is a great way to promote your product to a new audience. When determining affiliate commission rates you will offer, you will want to take into account the price and margin for your product to ensure affiliate marketing is worth it for your business. According to Monitor Backlinks, the average affiliate commission rate should be somewhere between 5% to 30%. To learn more about how to set commission rates, check out this article..||$0||$250|
|Influencer Marketing: Partnering with like-minded influencers is one of the most effective ways to grow your social media presence. Many small businesses simply gift a free item in exchange for an influencer post, or pay the influencer directly.||$0||$750|
|Press: If your business and story is unique enough, press and media attention may come to you, but odds are, you may need to do your own outreach and budget for this. We put together a guide here that discusses different press opportunities (both free and paid).||$0||$500|
|Google Ads: With Google Ads you have the ability to control how much you spend by simply setting a monthly budget cap. Additionally, with these ads you only pay for results, such as clicks to your website or phone calls! It's okay to start with a small budget at first and make changes accordingly if you see valuable returns.||$0||$300|
|Facebook & Instagram Ads: With Facebook and Instagram ads, you set your budget and pay for the actions you want (whether that be impressions, conversions, etc).You can learn more about pricing based on your impressions here.||$0||$350|
|Total Advertising & Marketing Costs||$0 (min)||$2,450 (max)|
|Credit Card Processing Fees: If you process credit cards then you will need to deal with interchange fees - which is usually around 3% of total charges. These fees are often forgotten about and can hurt cash flow if not taken into account.||$0||$300|
|Total Other Expenses||$0 (min)||$300 (max)|
|Total Starting Costs||$1,763 (min)||$32,509 (max)|
Since the startup costs to start meal prep business range between $1,763 - $32,509, there are ways you can raise money to cover these costs.
Here are a few ways you can secure additional funding:
- Launch your product on Kickstarter
- Raise capital by asking friends and family
- Apply for a loan
- Find an investor!
Starting Cost Example
Overall our startup costs were around $25,000.
We bought a handful of pots, pans, plates, the cheapest gas stove/oven combo we could get, and a lot of fridges.
Our original business was financed using Peters's credit cards. When we expanded into our own retail store, we received a $50,000 loan that was co-signed by Peters father.
That $50,000 was mostly spent on the first 6 months rent, a walk in fridge, a vent hood, and a bunch of tables and racks. We accepted any hand-me-down that we could get. Our friends donated things like old computers (that ran Windows 7), computer chairs, regular chairs, and other general office supplies.
The $50,000 loan we received from Peters's father was to be paid back in 2 years. This was probably the hardest thing our business had to endure. Because of this, we bartered a lot with our clients for their services including tax preparation, food, building maintenance, and labor. Also, Peter and I did not draw a paycheck during these 2 years.
This number has expanded to around $500,000 over the last few years with the growth of the company.
🚀 How To Launch Your Meal Prep Delivery Business
How Do Meal Prep Delivery Businesses Make Money
Typically, the chef(s) will decide a list of menu options and list nutritional ingredients used along with pictures on the website.
The customer is then able to select certain meals that fit their preferences and add the number of people in the household that will receive meals.
There are a few different business models that have known to be successful in this space.
- Per meal kit delivered. This price depends on number of people eating and number of recipes per week One week of meals is typically delivered at any given time to ensure quality.
- Subscription based model. For the customer that wants meals delivered weekly. The cost per meal is typically less than it would be in the "per kit" model.
What Should I Charge For My Meal Delivery Service?
You may want to consider having different price tiers depending on the amount of meals ordered per week.
Additionally, you'll want to charge for shipping (or at least include shipping costs in the order).
Here's an example of what is common to charge in this space for standard meals:
However, depending on your niche, you may have the ability to sell at a higher cost (depending on the product).
For example, Cameron Manesh, founder of Cameron's Seafood sells Maryland Crabs and delivers them to your doorstep.
Our average sale is $165 with a profit margin of 15-35%. Our competitors charge for shipping but customers would rather you bake it into the price then charge them a fee, so that's the model we use.
Shipping and Packaging Tips
The way you package and distribute your meals is one of the most important pieces - this is how the food stays fresh, gets to your customer in a timely manner, and is the first impression they have.
Additionally, this can be the most expensive cost - so it's critical that you find the right process at the right cost.
Here are some tips from Cameron Manesh, founder of Cameron's Seafood
Packaging / Gel Packs
Shipping heavy perishables is about the hardest and most expensive thing. You have to send heavy products in 1-2 days while keeping the temperature between 34-41 degrees during the summer when heat can breach 100 degrees.
Our gel packs kept arriving melted so we kept adding gel packs (industry standard is ⅓ gel pack-to-product-ratio but we were using a 50% ratio and still having problems.
I contacted Blue Apron and Hello Fresh and within 24 hours I found out they buy pre-frozen gel packs - problem solved!
Boxes / Insulated Coolers
When Amazon ships me multiple products they shove them into the smallest possible spaces because "Fedex and UPS charge you the higher of the package weight or dimensional weight (DIM) of the box. Dim weight is calculated by LxWxH / 139."
After looking at our first 100 shipments I realized we were getting DIM weighted on 85% of packages meaning our boxes were too large. It took me 3 months to find the perfect supplier and figure out how to store them or pick them up within one hour. My family has a large house with 4-car garage. I’m the oldest of 6 kids and we have all moved out so the space was wide open.
I did try non-EPF (styrofoam) coolers that are more "green" but they were much more expensive and in startup mode you need to cut expenses. We sent test packages to FedEx who tested them for free and we deduced that EPF were most coolant efficient and cost effective. I figured since we weren’t doing weekly subscriptions it wouldn’t be a problem.
Build A Website
Building a website is imperative when launching your business, and with the right tools in place, this can be a simple task to check off the list (without having to hire someone).
- Pick a domain name that's easy to remember and easy to type
- Choose a Web Hosting Plan (ie. Shopify, Squarespace)
- Make sure you choose the right theme and design
- Implement the proper page structure (ie. about page, contact page, pricing etc)
To learn more about how to build a stellar website with little stress, we give you all the details on this step-by-step guide.
Mary Drennen, founder of Nourish Foods Co. talks about the process of launching their website and the platforms they use:
Our latest website was launched late 2017. The front is Squarespace and was designed it in-house. The process was fairly easy and low cost.
While Squarespace is our website host, we implemented Send Bottles for our backend checkout. Send Bottles is a fairly new startup, that allows us to use text messaging to communicate with our clients. More importantly, it allows for a better customer experience. They can choose their weekly meals based off a text message and also skip if they need to.
We ended up doing a ‘soft launch’ of this current website last fall to give some select clients an opportunity to beta test the site and provide valuable feedback. We were careful to migrate the existing clients over slowly as to not overwhelm the system or lose any clients.
Launch Strategies For Your Meal Prep Business
There are various different ways you can launch your meal prep business successfully.
Here are a few different strategies to get customers excited about your meal prep business.
- Build hype with a landing page: you can effectively do this through waiting lists, discounts, countdown timer etc
- Create a teaser video: even just a 30 second video is a great way to exposure for your meal prep business, and possibly even go viral
- Reach out to influencers: The right influencer for your product has the ability to reach your audience with just one post, and because of their loyal following, this could lead to a big return for you.
- Get Press: Whether you plan a PR stunt or get exposure through a popular news outlet, this is a great way to attract initial customers
- Launch on popular sites: A great way to get buzz about your meal prep business is to submit your launch to popular startup sites.
Here are a few popular sites to launch on:
Learn more about how to launch your business successfully ➜ here
Cameron Manesh, founder of Cameron's Seafood was able to land in the New York Times just by sending a cold email:
I started calling all the large newspapers pitching their food critics, their startup business writers and even pitched the angle of immigrant-run companies.
My first hit was with the New York Times. "I googled “New York Times Food" and learned Florence Fabricant was their critic. I then googled “Florence Fabricant email” and asked her to sample our food.”
I read she is a stern critic so we were worried but to our surprise she loved the food and when the article came out we did close to $40,000 in sales in three days and could barely handle the volume. That was an intense week but made it happen.
To read the exact email we sent to get in the NY Times, check out the full story ➡️ here
To contact the press, I recommend:
- Targeting macro press (i.e. USA Today).
- Google indirect competitors or vertical companies (ie. Hello Fresh) to see who wrote their articles
- Google the writers contact info and send an email introducing company
- Offer samples, be personal, discuss your food, follow up!
🌱 How To Grow Your Meal Prep Business
Grow Your Email List
The more engaged list of emails, the more engaged customers, which ultimately leads to more sales.
One of the best ways to start growing your list is by providing your customer with something free (or discounted) in return.
This could also be anything from:
- Fascinating case study
- Video series
- Free week of the product
- Discount on the product
Learn more about how to grow your email list and improve email marketing ➜ here.
Improve Your Email Marketing
Different types of emails
Here are the most common types of email campaigns you can send to your customers and their benefits:
- Welcome emails - the perfect way to provide information from the start with a clear CTA. Make sure to tell your customer everything they need to know about your product or service.
- Newsletters - a great way to give customers updates or send out your latest content
- Product launch emails - the quickest (and easiest) way to increase sales is by selling to current customers. Make sure they're the first on the list to know about your new product
- Promotional emails - promote discounts, deals coupons etc. Try and make this feel exclusive and for a limited time only
- Abandoned cart emails - give your customers a reason to complete their purchase!
Here's a great resource for finding curated email designs, for all types of email campaigns!
Newsletter Example - One Life Meals
We have a lot of content to share and it is very well received. Most clients need to see your brand a few times before they purchase, and email is great for that. Email is also an effective reminder for past clients to order again.
We have close to 5000 subscribers and we aim for 2 emails per month. Most of our subscriptions came through the website.
So far we have been focusing on practical life hacks and tips on how to stay focused and disciplined. Many of our subscribers are past clients that took a break.
Our open rates are good, we’re averaging 24% - 53%, much higher than the 10% industry average. We need to work on our click rates which are at around 1.2%.
Social Media Advertising
Social Media Advertising is one of the leading ways to get the word out when it comes to meal prep business.
There are various different Social Media platforms available to you. Some may be more critical for your marketing efforts than others, however, it's important to have an understanding of what's out there and available to you.
Let's talk about a few of the main platforms and what makes them unique:
- Facebook Advertising - more than 2 billion monthly users. Facebook is the best for lead generation + capturing email addresses for e-commerce businesses.
- Instagram Advertising - approximately 500 million monthly users and has a higher audience engagement rate than any other platform. Instagram ads are best for linking to a product page or landing page and reaches the 18-29 age group most effectively.
- Twitter Advertising- Small businesses typically use twitter ads to drive brand awareness, but the platform is meant more for organic engagement (and is not as heavily used for paid advertising)
- Pinterest Advertising - 175 million monthly users and most effectively reaches the female audience. Pinterest is great for promoting products without "promoted". The promoted pins have a way of blending right in.
- LinkedIn Advertising - 227 million monthly users and is geared towards the B2B market and generates the highest quality leads. Great platform for recruiters, high-end products and services that will help businesses
It's important to first define your goal/objective so that you don't waste time and money into the wrong platform:
Here are some different questions to ask yourself as it relates to your goals:
- Do I want to simply drive brand awareness?
- Do I want to drive users to my website to gather information?
- Do I want to increase sales and get my customer to take action?
From there, choose the platform that targets your audience best and start experimenting!
Learn more about social media advertising ➜ here.
Facebook Ads In Action
We recently started running Facebook ads and they are doing well. There is much room for improvement here, especially now with our new website which converts much better.
We are running 2 ads with a total budget of $46 per day. We are getting 66 to 96 clicks per day at $0.48 to $0.69 per click.
Improve your SEO
SEO is not just about driving traffic to your site, it's about driving the RIGHT traffic to your site, and ultimately, converting leads into customers.
One of the most important aspects of SEO is understanding what your customers are searching for, otherwise known as "keyword research."
Here are some tools that can help you choose the right keywords for your meal prep business.
- Google Ads Keyword Planner invaluable for discovering search trends.
- Google Search Console is very helpful once your website is up as it shows you what words/phrases are generating traffic.
- Ahrefs and SEMRush are paid tools that allow you to look at results of your competitor's website.
Publish Great Content
Finding keywords is an important piece of the puzzle, but Google also ranks your site based on the actual content you produce, as this is what your customers are reading and engaging with.
There are various different "forms" of content that you may want to consider diversifying on your sites, such as blog posts, articles, studies, and videos.
So let's discuss what google considers "good content:"
- Length - This will vary depending on the page, however, generally having a sufficient amount of content helps search engines recognize that your site is a good source for a specific topic
- Engagement - The longer people stay on your website to read your content, the higher Google will rank your website. It's important to have informative and "thick" content that keeps people reading
- Avoid Duplicating Content - Google will recognize this and may consider your content to have low value
- Ensure pages load quickly - This will also help with engagement and time spent on your website
- Shareability - Create content that people want to share, and is easy for them to share, especially to their social media accounts (ie. "click to tweet" is a great example of this).
Another element of creating good content is creating consistent content.
If (and hopefully you are) publishing content frequently, it's important to stick to a schedule - this helps build brand trust and easy user experience with your customers.
Planning out your content with a content calendar is key to staying consistent.
Here are a few great content calendar tools that can help you:
Backlinks are an important piece to SEO, as they allow for other websites to link to your content.
Search engines recognize that other sites are essentially "verifying" your content and essentially rank you higher because of this.
Of course, some links are more valuable than others and can affect your site in different ways.
For example, if a highly valuable and credible site like the New York Times links to a page on your website, this could be remarkable from an SEO perspective.
Aside from organically getting mentioned from other sites, there are other ways that you can increase and earn backlinks:
- Create infographics with relevant data that people want to share
- Promote your content on different sites/look into "guest blogging"
- Contact influencers/journalists/bloggers and ask them to mention you!
- Write testimonials for other sites in exchange for a backlink
- Leverage existing business relationships
Provide Great Customer Service
Providing exceptional care and creating relationships with clients is a great way to build your reputation and retain customers.
Whether you are an online business or a physical business, it's highly important to communicate with customers and make them feel like they are the priority.
Just remember: customer service represents your brand, values, vision and YOU as a person.
Customer Service Is Key
First and foremost, I offer exquisitely personal customer service. I answer the phone 99% of the time and return calls immediately when I have missed one. I respond via email and text, generally within the hour of a customer contacting me, usually much sooner. I do my best to accommodate human errors and to make each customer’s experience as seamless and nurturing as possible.
Want to add something to an order after the ordering deadline? Usually no problem! Have a problem with a product or something missing from a delivery? Refunded or credited immediately! Have a last-minute appointment and won’t be home for the delivery? We figure something out!
I know how much I appreciate being accommodated as a customer and I try my best to offer my customers that same accommodation.
After all, meal delivery and other luxury services are designed to ease someone’s life not make it more complicated!
🏃🏼♀️ How To Run Your Meal Prep Business
How To Retain Customers For Your Meal Prep Business
Retaining customers is one of the most effective ways to grow your meal prep business.
Oftentimes, it's easy to find yourself focusing on generating new customers, vs retaining your current ones.
Look at it this way - you are 60-70% more likely to sell a new product to an existing customer than you are a new customer.
That's not to say that finding new customers and revenue streams is not important, however, the easiest (and most inexpensive) source of new revenue is right there in front of you.
Here are some ways you can retain customers for your meal prep business:
- Responding to comments on social media
- Send discounts (or freebies) to loyal customers
- Provide valuable content, for free
- Write a hand written thank you note
- Provide awesome customer service and build relationships with customers
To find out more tips and tricks on retaining customers, check out this article ➜ here
Diversify Your Product Line
Adding new products to your business is a great way to expand into new markets and grow your business.
It's important to note that adding new products and diversifying may not be in the cards for you right this moment, and that's okay. You can always consider it down the road.
Here are some reasons you may want to considering adding/diversifying your product
- Meeting the needs of your customers
- Establish yourself as a top provider in your industry and stay ahead of the game with competition
- Resistance to downturns/trends fading
- Create new revenue streams
For example, Healthy Chew plans to expand and create new revenue streams:
The longer term goal for Healthy Chew is to expand into national shipping, as we currently only serve our locals. We are also working on a few partnerships with national retailers to have our food sold in grocery stores, as well as a few local deals with smaller grocers.
Tools to get started:
As a meal prep business, there are some tools and platforms you may want to consider when getting started:
- Platform tools such as WooCommerce
- Email tools such as MailChimp, Send Bottles or Constant Contact
- Shipping tools such as ShipStation
- Reviews tools such as Trustpilot
- Social media tools such as Facebook or Hootsuite
- Accounting tools such as Quickbooks
- Productivity tools such as Monday.com
- Payments tools such as Stripe
- Blog tools such as WordPress or Squarespace
- Sales tools such as Hubb
- Design tools such as Canva or ESHA
- Affiliate tools such as AvantLink
- Other tools such as Spoonfed or Workwave
- Things To Consider When Starting A Meal Prep Business
- A Small Business Guide to Shipping Perishable Food
- Video: How to Start A Meal Prep Business | inside scoop of a commercial kitchen
- Healthy Chew $60K/month in revenue
- One Life Meals $130K/month in revenue
- MealPro $50K/month in revenue
- Nourish Foods Co $180K/month in revenue
- Eat Clean LLC $300K/month in revenue
- Full Belly Fare $14K/month in revenue
- Cameron's Seafood $300K/month in revenue
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