FitFuel Meal Prep pivots to clean-eating delivery in the wake of Covid-19
This spotlight features FitFuel Meal Prep, a San Diego-based meal prep service that specializes in clean eating.
5 June 2020 · 10 min read
Covid-19 poses new challenges to small businesses everywhere, and we’re only beginning to understand how hard they’ve been hit and how long it will take to bounce back. To honor the resilience of small business owners and share the lessons they’ve learned, we’re highlighting B12 customers who’ve discovered how to keep their businesses going during an unprecedented time.
This spotlight features FitFuel Meal Prep, a San Diego-based meal prep service that specializes in clean eating. The company’s executive director and owner, Carlos Salazar, spoke to us about the changes he has made to his business model, menu, and website, and how they’ve been effective in maintaining his business during Covid-19.
How has Covid-19 impacted your business?
Since we build our meal plans for gym partners, their closure has had a huge impact on my business. Since COVID started, we’ve seen an 80% drop in customer revenue, which we attribute to the loss of sales from those gym partners. We lost $12,000 in April. It was a difficult time and we knew that we needed to shift our focus.
Have you changed the way you communicate with your customers?
COVID forced us to pivot and revisit our customer base. I had to figure out how to capture new customers and get customers to tell their friends about us. We had to change how we do business, broaden our sales and marketing efforts, and expand our outreach.
We created marketing flyers and added them to our takeout bags to help spread the word. We now offer a buy-one, get-one discount for every new customer that signs up using a referral code. We’ve also partnered with local apartment buildings to give a 10% discount to tenants.
FitFuel has added curbside pick-up and free delivery. Additionally, we offer a 40% discount to health care professionals and we’ve donated thousands of meals to the San Diego transient community.
What role does your website play, and is there anything else you did to bring your business online?
Our website helps us to convey to visitors what we do and allows us to set expectations for our meals. The site walks visitors through our menu and enables them to easily buy our products.
We increased our social media presence and sponsored ads and switched our focus to at-home cooking. If you aren’t ordering FitFuel, you can still enjoy some of our deceivingly healthy menu items. Our overall goal is to help people keep the extra pounds off, and 80% of weight loss happens in the kitchen.
How has B12 worked with you during this time?
I’ve been working with Jay, who is such an amazing developer. He answers my questions very quickly and addresses any problems I encounter. B12 has shown me that I can raise an issue and someone with a vested interest will ensure that we resolve it together. Jay really hears and listens to me, and I appreciate that.
Your team is super responsive and jumps in right away — I fully trust you guys with my business. There may be cheaper options, but I don’t get the same VIP treatment from other companies. I know the team by name and when I email, I don’t even formalize my emails anymore. Whoever helps me build this business becomes part of my family.
Shout-out to Jay: Why are you such a rockstar?!! You’re so great!!
How did you formulate your response to Covid-19?
First, we had to slow down to improve and reflect. We closed down for the month of April to make some changes to the business.
We knew we had to increase our efficiency. I’ve been modifying my website to highlight certain areas of my product offering. We are trying to reduce our costs, specifically our menu options. Jay kindly suggested that I leverage Jotform [a forms integration] on my website, which has made it easier to collect information.
We reviewed how we prepare our meals and made it more efficient. For example, identifying the job scope of a line cook and ensuring that they are well prepared for their responsibilities will make them much more effective and productive.
Lastly, this has been a time to increase our credibility. I’ve gotten certifications through the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and the State of California. My team and I have taken this time to improve our standard of hygiene in the kitchen by taking hygiene tests and getting certified in this area too. These efforts add validity to what we do, especially in a health-based industry.
We are also building our presence and credibility by getting more Yelp reviews. The FitFuel website definitely establishes us as a credible business, which is exactly why you build a website. People are trusting my food with their health and it’s necessary to prove that my business is dependable.
How else have you pivoted your business from gym-focused partnerships to a home delivery service?
We revisited our menu and product offerings and adapted accordingly. We knew that during this trying time, it’s important to stay healthy and not put on excess pounds. Since then, we started to reach a different group of customers by going around to apartments and selling our prepped meals from a different angle. There weren’t a lot of restaurants prepared for such intense delivery processes, but we were.
Previously, we had a weekly menu but after examining it, we realized that our base ingredients were the same except with a few tweaks in seasoning. This led to us shifting our product offering to a build-it-yourself-style poke bowl. So now we’re in the business of offering healthy bowls.
What’s next for FitFuel?
We are officially reopening on June 7 and we’re looking into opening a restaurant after the situation clears up. We want to find the ideal restaurant location for people to visit, where they can sit down to have a healthy proper meal.
A huge thank you to Carlos for chatting with us! Visit www.fitfuelmeal.com to learn more about their organic, freshly prepped meal delivery service.