“Abs are made in the kitchen” is a statement that’s easy to understand but hard to follow. How many of us actually have time (ahem, want) to cook healthy meals with fresh ingredients after a long and tiring workday? (especially if you live in Portland and have delicious and indulgent order-to-go food at your fingertips)
Megan Benedict of Fit Kitchen Direct experienced this “diet dilemma” too many times when coaching her personal training clients. After tirelessly and unsuccessfully motivating her clients to follow a meal plan, she decided to not only create one for them, but also plan it, cook it and deliver it as well. With her partner Loren, Megan created Fit Kitchen Direct: a Portland-based meal delivery service that provides professionally prepared, healthy meals so you can stay on track with your nutrition while simultaneously saving you time and money.
Hear more from Megan below:
The spark that inspired the birth of your concept: I was a personal trainer at the time and I had so many clients struggling with their nutrition. They would ask me all the time to write them meal plans, and I would do it “unpaid” in hopes to help them gain control of their food intake. However, I noticed they would never implement the meal plan I would create, making it a waste of time. My clients are super busy people with very little time to cook, let alone meal prep. I knew I wanted to create a product that was convenient and delicious so they wouldn’t miss a thing. I also knew this product needed to help them have a better relationship with food and perhaps lose a few extra pounds. We launched Fit Kitchen and the rest was history. I have helped so many of my clients get to their goals with not only personal training but also eating clean whole foods. The combo is perfect.
The problem it solves: Fit Kitchen Direct solves the problem of eating food that may not be the best for you or eating food that will kill your energy. We solve the problem of having no time. The average busy individual typically has no time to figure out a quick and healthy dinner. This leaves them with choices such as fast food, unhealthy food carts, etc. With Fit kitchen, all they do is reach in the fridge, heat up a meal, and they are good to go in two minutes.
How you came up with the name: A ton of brainstorming! It was exhausting. We did many, many branding activities and deep research on the type of brand we wanted to build. We knew we wanted our brand to be inviting and welcoming and all-encompassing. We wanted something that portrayed our passion to help people have a healthier relationship with food (that is also convenient!).
How you are different than your competition: We provide the best, highest-quality tasting food. We are more than a meal delivery service. We are your go-to for support on your health journey. Whether it’s eating clean, mental health, or physical health, we have resources to help you in every aspect. Not to mention our customer service is incredible! The things we do to keep our customers happy is not something you would see with your average meal delivery service.
How you make money: Very carefully. The food industry is rough, and margins are slim. If you don’t know what you’re doing and don’t have your finances in place, you can lose quickly. We want to make sure our food is affordable yet give our employees livable wages. We sell our meals online only: our customers sign up for a subscription and every single week the ordering process starts over again.
The best thing about being an entrepreneur: Knowing that you are doing something you are truly passionate about. Waking up and knowing I am doing what I love every day is not something most people get to experience and I consider myself very lucky. The stress is so high but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
The biggest surprise in your entrepreneurial experience to date: The fact that an industry like this takes way more money than imagined. Kitchens are millions of dollars and to scale you have to prepare for that.
Your biggest success: Our biggest success has been building this business from literally nothing. No loans, just savings and pure hard work and determination. I have always been strong-headed and when I set a goal I’m truly passionate about, I make it happen.
What keeps you up at night: Money. It takes a toll when you have many employees who are basically your family and rely on you for their livelihood. I’m more concerned about their paychecks than my own. They are the reason we have gotten so far and I want to do anything and everything to keep them happy.
The best entrepreneurial advice you have received: “Get your finances right, look at them every day, track everything.” My brother Mike Nye, a seasoned entrepreneur, told me this when we first started the company. As much as I hate admitting my older brother is right, he is right. Get a CFO as soon as you can.
Your #1 piece of advice for a budding entrepreneur: Passion is the only thing that will bring you success. If you aren’t passionate about what you do, it’s not going to work. I have seen so many impassionate entrepreneurs and it gets them nowhere. You must have drive.
The #1 book you would recommend for a budding entrepreneur: Scaling up. This is a great foundation book. It may seem dry if you’re not used to reading business books, but this book has it all. If you’re an entrepreneur, reading business books will help so much. Audible is my best friend.
What wild success looks like: To me, we have helped change people’s lives and are a household name. We are helping to fight the obesity epidemic. We are not only changing our customers’ lives, but also our employees’ lives with a good working environment.
What you wanted to be when you grew up: Honestly, I wanted to be a girl boss. I remember playing boss all the time. I just wanted to be a leader so badly – a leader who was truly changing lives in a positive way.
Is Oregon is a good place to start a business? I think Oregon is an amazing place to start a business. The entrepreneur network is incredible and tight-knit. I can’t tell you how many times we have been in a tight spot and leaned on our fellow entrepreneurs to help us through the hard times. The only challenge I say for Oregon is there isn’t a ton of investment money here and there are even fewer investors who would invest in the food industry (people in San Francisco and New York are the type who are willing to take a risk and write a check).
Any final advice? Follow your dreams and passion. Go for it, make a mess and clean it up. You only have one life to live. Live it to the fullest. And be confident even when you have hit a rut – your confidence and drive to continue will get you through.
Fit Kitchen Direct: https://fitkitchendirect.com/