Meal Delivery and healthy living options?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by dstc_99, Jan 12, 2014.


Would you like meal delivery and healthy living options at a reasonable price?

Poll closed Jan 16, 2014.
  1. Oh Yeah Baby! Every day of the week!

    1 vote(s)
  2. Oh Yeah! Once or twice a week.

    4 vote(s)
  3. Yeah but only on occasion.

    2 vote(s)
  4. Nope I don't need no stinking help :)

    0 vote(s)
  1. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    Since moving to WA I have been unable to find a job. I mean I can get a job at McDonalds but at 38 I am really not in the mood to work with a bunch of teens and I feel like I have worked too long to go back to that kind of work. I want a job that pays decent and that doesn't overrun my life with drama. Plus I need to be somewhat flexible since I have a child that I have to transport to and from school (enrolled out of district). I have a friend here who is in the same position except her kids are younger and can't be home alone. Basically we need work from home jobs or jobs that are part time and flexible.

    Both of us have recently gotten into eating healthier and exercising. I would really hate to have to give up the flexibility to work out without worrying about being late for something and I am enjoying eating healthy meals with my family. She has a degree in business and I have helped run several businesses and non profits. So my idea is to open a meal service and possibly add in a healthy living aspect at a later date.

    We would basically consult with a family to identify their likes/dislikes, allergies, health needs or concerns and then build them menu options. Whenever they needed a meal we could prepare it and/or deliver it as needed. We could also build a weekly menu plan for them and provide the option to buy it and prepare it for them if they wanted. Most of these things could be pre made and frozen so that they could crockpot it or just warm it in an oven. Some things like side items could be provided pre chopped or cooked and ready for reheating.

    Being military wives we also get invited to a lot of social events such as coffee socials. It sucks being the one working mom who shows up with nothing because you simply didn't have the time. I think we could put together a simple menu of appetizers and baked goods that could be used for those occasions. This is a large base so I am pretty sure we could make a decent amount doing this. Eventually both of us wish to become trainers as well so we could add in workout routines and or training sessions for people to increase the income if needed.

    So here is my question…….Would you use this if it was affordable?
  2. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Dstc, I have had a somewhat similar experience with people making meals for us and I think it's a great idea. I would use it. Good luck!!
  3. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I hate to cook, and it's just me and Hubby at home, so having something like this would be great for me. Too bad you're in WA!
  4. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    We would do it at least a few times a week for a hot meal that wouldn't be too much more than cooking myself. I know that most people don't cook their own meals anymore, so I am keenly aware of how much money I save by cooking healthy meals for myself.
  5. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    You could consider making a gift option where someone you could "buy" meals when a family is in need (illness, death, deployment, etc).
  6. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    My mother swears I'm weird because it is just Travis and I but I still cook the large meals I have always cooked. (I just store leftovers or we eat them for a few days) But I have to watch ingredients going into my food, especially salt, which has an immediate effect on how I feel these days. Only sure way to do it is to cook my own meals. Plus I'm not that big on other people's cooking for the most part.

    My mother would certainly jump at the chance, and she is about as cheap as you can get. If the meals were good and affordable though, I could see her opting in for a couple of times a week at least. She cooks odd things because it's just her or she doesn't cook at all for very long stretches. Eating a cheeseburger and fries off Mc Donald's dollar menu is hardly the healthy diet she now swears it is. It's just easy and cheap, she doesn't have to cook it.

    Affordable for seniors means pretty darn cheap. But if you can get a lot of your menu ingredients wholesale you could probably manage pretty cheap, I'd think. Not sure the way food prices are jumping these days.

    I will say though mother in law opted out of Meals on Wheels before the first week was up simply because she did not like nor could tolerate the menu. I would do a research survey of potential target customers for meal menu ideas. Know what I mean??
  7. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    You really have to know your target market... demographics like age, income levels, cultural backgrounds. You're not going to make money at this unless you can target people with more income than time (or interest or ability). I don't have money for this, and like Lisa, would not get anyone else to cook for my family anyway. But I do know people who would... some are empty-nesters, others are older, both with money. The first set doesn't have time, and the other set finds it hard to cook well for 1 or 2 and/or are so used to cooking for 1 or 2 that they can't cook for company any more.
    Small-order catering is fairly popular where we used to live... a custom menu, food prepped ahead and delivered JIT with instructions for final prep (reheat gravy, for example).

    As a parent with kids... I absolutely refuse hired help. Even IF we could afford it. Because... the kids need to learn how to do all this stuff. Caveat: my kids WILL end up being self-sufficient adults; any parent who is caring for a severely disabled kid is allowed every single break they can get!
  8. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    I don't know how tight market is for delivered meals in your area, but around here the biggest customers are elderly. For us it is often public side that provides those, but it is also quite common that kids buy the service for their elderly, but still capable to cook, so not receiving the service from social security, parents because they are worried they don't otherwise eat regularly and well enough but will just skip the meal for a sandwich etc.

    Other, very peculiar niche for this kind of business could be home baked things that actually look home baked. Of course I don't know if your kids' clubs, schools, sport groups etc. fund raise by selling home made goods in these or that fair or market or whatever (and parents buying back the same goods they made so paying double for them in the end.) It is extremely frustrating for parents who have more than one child in activities. The amount of cookies and cakes and whatever you are supposed to bake builds up real quick. And just giving money isn't option, because "that wouldn't be fair for poorer families." So we cheat. You can't really go and buy things from store or bigger bakeries and not get caught (and probably being guilty to some tax fraud or something) but there is this well guarded secret on my area (promise not to tell anyone!) abut this small catering business, there you can buy home made goods that really look homemade. In fact they looked like someone who has almost never before baked anything and isn't particular talented in working with her hands would make. In fact it is kind of embarrassing that someone even has nerve to sell something so lackluster, and the first times it really took me some deep breaths before I could make myself to take those things for sale (and I probably claimed husband had baked them or something, I really can bake much better than that.) However, no one would ever believe they are not homemade and that is the point. Mostly they also taste quite okay, so that helps, if you have to buy them back yourself like you usually do. The existence of this bakery/catering business is mostly word to mouth and you kind of have to be one of the 'cool moms' to hear about it, but still, busy parents of busy kids in my area are keeping this lady steadily in business.

    I'm not proposing to sell quite that bad products, but if it is possible, home made, not too fancy, things may have surprising markets. There are lots of people who feel need to cheat a bit with home made meals and baked goods for various reasons...
  9. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    SuZir may be on to something with the home baked goods idea.

    easy child started baking for a fee this past holiday season. Baking is something she loves to do and is pretty good at....will be much better at with more practice. The items she specializes in are divine. Ingredients are not very costly, especially the way we shop for them, so profit margin is better. However she discovered quickly that offering to deliver could kill any profit just in gas alone. So she is setting up meeting places to minimize delivery distance and to deliver multiple orders at once. She's doing pretty good. Her items are such that most people don't want to take the time to get that fancy with a dessert item or don't have the skills to do so themselves. She has the price where it is still quite affordable. :) She sells to co workers and branches out from there. The branching out part happened much faster than she had anticipated once people tasted her products.
  10. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    Fortunately for us it is an easy market to target. We live on a military base that is large but also has housing areas for certain ranks. IE: Upper ranking live in one housing area while lower ranking live in another. It would actually be quite easy to know how many households could potentially afford this. Plus we live in the upper ranking housing area so delivery would be less than a few blocks in most cases.

    The big issue being a upper ranking military wife is that many believe it is your job to stay home, support your Soldier, and volunteer/socialize until you fall down. I can tell you that on any given week I have approximately four events that I could attend and thats without even looking for them. Thankfully my husband's company doesn't do any of that but the wives clubs do a ton. Most of the events are either potluck, gift exchange, or individual pay. 90% of the events require you to bring an item. Plus it never fails that right about the time you take a breath your kid comes home and reminds you of those 4 dozen cupcakes for school or scouts. LOL

    Wives who work and or volunteer a lot get to the point of being unable to care for their own families because you are so busy. Something slips and there goes decent meals, cleaning house, or just spending any quality time with your kids. I know when I worked full time meals were the last thing on my mind when I got home. I was so exhausted from working, picking up after the kids, feeding the dogs, and everything else I didn't want to cook. I would have loved to have an option other than a frozen sodium heavy item from the grocery. My favorite thing ever was when we had our groceries delivered. I could go online reorder the normal things and add anything special then hit send and expect them to arrive. OMG was that amazing.

    The other good thing about these wives is that they have the money and the need so I think we could make it work. Of course we aren't planning on anything big just a small thing but it would be a fun way to make some money and still be flexible.
  11. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    PS I love the idea of home baked items. My friend is a baker and makes amazing things but she and I don't have the talent to make them look professional. They would be yummy but homemade.
  12. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    I tried to vote on this but for some reason I can't on this computer. I will just tell you what I think. I could really use something like this a couple of times a week, but definitely not every day. I actually enjoy the process of cooking. Unfortunately, it's just not always possible to cook home made meals 7 days a week. Some days we have doctor's appointments after work, or laundry, errands, etc. Being a single working mom, time is an issue. I usually cook about 4 to 5 times a week. On the other days that cooking isn't possible, we do fast food. I know it's not the healthies option, but cooking 7 days a week is just too unrealistic in my situation. If I could get someone else to cook a good, home made meal and deliver it to my house a couple of days a week, that would be great. But it would seriously have to be almost as cheap as doing the dollar menu at one of our local fast food joints. I think the business could be profitable, if the price was right. Good luck!
  13. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I would adore this, especially for the weekdays when Tony isnt home. I dont like to cook anymore because its so hard for me to stand to do the cooking and washing all the dishes. I dont think Tony would like it because he would claim we couldnt afford it no matter what the cost is. He wont even let me get someone to help out around the house when it would make my life so much easier.
  14. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    I think it sounds like a wonderful idea! The only thing is that you may run in to some local food handling regulations. It's worth checking in to before you start anything up. I'm not sure how it would work on a military base but in many areas you would be required to follow the same strict health and sanitation guidelines and regulations that restaurants have to follow and be inspected just like a restaurant. It's not just keeping a clean kitchen. It's hundreds of little nit-picky rules. It sometimes involves remodeling and installing certain kinds of equipment, all that would be expensive and difficult to do, especially if you're living in military housing. Worth checking in to beforehand anyway.
  15. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    For now we would be super low key since we wouldn't be able to do anything to our homes (historic housing protected by law). Plus you aren't allowed to run a business out of living quarters. So it wouldn't be anything big. Not that a zillion people don't run them but it would just be something we wouldn't put up a sign for.

    It's not a long term idea either since we will both be leaving here in a little over two years. Military moves don't let you stay long enough to really establish much.

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