FoodTech is bringing the healthy eating revolution to the UK, says chef and startup CEO Caspar Rose.
The UK’s relationship with healthy food is a little sketchy to say the least. Growing up for many it was the local chippy as staple, a curry house for a night out, and a Chinese takeaways for a night in. Then, in the last ten years, Pret’s, Wasabi’s and whatever-else grab-n-go chain popped up and never seemed to go away.
Fortunately, there is a FoodTech revolution coming.
In the healthy delivery department Fresh Fitness Food are helping change the home-eating habits of the nation. In the last two months they have made the tricky leap from serving only London to twelve other cities nationwide.
We caught up with CEO Caspar Rose over a live email conversation to find out about their journey…
Hey Caspar, thanks for joining us… To kick us off, what is Fresh Fitness Food?
Fresh Fitness Food is bespoke nutrition delivered daily to your door.
Our nutritional team create bespoke meal plans depending on your lifestyle (and workout) needs. Our expert chefs create a fresh menu daily and our dedicated drivers deliver to our customer’s homes or workplace between midnight and 6am every day.
Who came up with the concept?
Jared Williams is the founder. He was inspired to make a difference after seeing how London was forcing people to eat the way London wanted them to — fast, easy and cheap ingredients. The concept was to make city workers the best version of themselves, through bespoke nutrition and ultra-convenience.
You wouldn’t believe it but in the beginning we were taking orders over the phone and hand delivering packages via the tube. Once we started to grow we took on a bike courier service and, following that, our own drivers.
We found that what we’re doing is adding a lot of value to busy people’s lives.
How about you tell us about you…
Well I grew up in Byron Bay in Australia. It’s a beautiful part of the world where time moves slowly. And people are very health conscious.
Back in Aus I was cheffing at Pier (#64 in the 100 top restaurants in the world) and Aria, a two star Michelin. I then came to London to work at Gordon Ramsay’s Maze. From cheffing, I learnt how to create a high standard product but, unfortunately, very little about staff management.
And presumably how to swear at staff?!
Haha, yeah kitchen life can tough. It’s a brutal environment, full of hierarchy and bullshit.
Luckily, I have been incredibly fortunate to be able to build the team I have today.
I used to have a rigid interview process following guidance from online sources — but that didn’t really work. For me it’s more about if you’re a team player and can add a valuable contribution to the team; personality goes a long way in the office!
Now I try asking someone what their personal values are or how they feel about certain topics that I may also have an opinion on. Other than that, I look for people with real drive and initiative. Working in a start-up environment is often intense, unstructured and, dare I say, lonely. People need to be prepared for that.
Interesting. It sounds like your doing the startup thing the right way: learning on the job and being ready to change your direction when needed.
Yes, definitely. I am a planner and strategic thinker. I have always had a five year plan and over time I have refined this to having personal, business and learning goals set for each year (which all point towards a long term goal). Each year I take some time by myself — ideally aboard — to refresh this plan.
Nice. So apart from solo “holidays”, what’s the best thing about running a fast-growing startup?
I imagine many CEO’s would say something about a big sale or an amazing customer.
But for me, I felt like we achieved some notion of success when I realised our business — the mini economy we had created — was helping our staff pay their mortgages, weddings, and kid’s school fees etc.
When we saw success financially it felt important to reward those early starters who had really grafted to get us where we are today.
What about challenges? What’s tough about starting up?
Juggling cash flow and the right tech has been an ongoing issue.
To allow us to fund multiple business verticals, we could only build a website that could meet our short term needs. It wasn’t until later that we could deliver the customer centric systems in terms of UX, customer logins or quicker check out’s — all revenue drivers — that we needed. But we got there in the end!
My advice for anyone struggling with long team or high level thinking is to surround yourself with experienced individuals and get advice off as many different people as possible.
How have you funded the business?
We had some very small seed investment to begin with and we benefited from several exceptionally good tax relief programmes. I would highly recommend looking into these when considering seed funding or even series A/B.
We have since secured larger scale investment and created a strong advisory board. Again I would recommend this — getting the right people onboard — if you are a young, fast moving business owner.
What is next for you and FFF? Do you have a 5 year plan? An exit? Or another project in the pipeline?
When I was 18 my plan was to run a business, in food industry, by the time I was 25. Amazingly, this is happened and I’m excited to commit to the next five years.
Now, we have just launched across the UK. And the next step is going international.
Finally, any advice for the entrepreneurs and startups out there?
Get to know your customer — your product will 100% change after your fifth conversation.
That’s good advice! Anything else?
And hire a good accountant.
Lol. Brilliant. Thanks so much Caspar.