To share their unique insights on business excellence and community stewardship, the Chamber is highlighting each of the 2016 Business Awards winners in an issue of eJournal. This week, we feature the 2016 Startup Leading Women’s Enterprise Eat the 80.
What is special about Eat the 80?
Eat the 80 is so much more than a meal delivery service.
There are thousands of meal delivery services, and we know that. But what makes us special is we know that each hour we save our customers from shopping, cooking, or cleaning is an opportunity for them to do something they truly love, and makes them happy.
They have more time to spend with their loved ones, and they can make conscious decisions about how to spend their precious time. Our meals allow you to be the best husband, wife, mom, dad, dog-owner, cat-owner, employee, boss, and the list goes on and on.
Think about it. If you had two more hours each day what would you spend it on? Going for an afternoon stroll through the park? Playing catch in the back yard with your son? Taking your dog for a run to the dog park? Cuddling up on the couch to read your favorite book? Each meal gives you the gift of health, and the opportunity to build your day as you please.
It’s so much more than just a meal delivery service, because we give people the opportunity to be the best version of themselves.
Eat the 80’s Vision and Strategy for Success:
Our strategy for success is that life’s about balance. Work hard, eat well, treat people with kindness, and don’t forget to have fun in the process! We know that our employees work really hard, and we expect that of them. However, we also know that people have families, social lives, and other activities they do outside of their work. You have to support the people that support you, because happy employees make your business successful.
We also realize that while working hard, it can be easy to neglect your health, which is why it’s so important to have easy access to healthy meals. All of our employees have access to healthy meals, a gym membership, and our library so that they can take care of their physical and mental health.
And then none of that really matters if you don’t forget to have fun. You only get one life, so why not enjoy it?
Eat the 80’s mission is to help people create the happiest and healthiest version of themselves, and our vision is to help 1,000,000 people do just that.
Every meal we serve is an opportunity for our customers to fuel their body properly, with ingredients straight from nature. We pride ourselves on using wholesome high quality ingredients to create our healthful meals, and we have strong relationships with local farmers so that our meals can contain the freshest produce possible.
Everything we make is from scratch, including sauces, dressings and stocks, because we believe food should come from nature, and not a box or bag. With no artificial ingredients, preservatives, added sugar, or gluten, our customers can trust they are putting only the best quality foods into their body.
How has being a Chamber member supported Eat the 80 in achieving excellence?
The Gainesville Chamber has been an incredible resource to Eat the 80. As business owners know, there are always millions of networking opportunities. It truly can be overwhelming. However, the chamber offers quality events that business owners actually want to go. They take the time to offer a variety that really suited me, such as Business Before Hours, that caters to a more one to one style of networking.
They have provided me the opportunity to be a diplomat, which opened up so many doors for me. Diplomats volunteer their time to help manage the 1,000’s of current chamber members, as well as recruit potential new members too. Because of this program, I met so many successful members of the community, and got to make a variety of great connections.
The chamber also has been great in providing professional development opportunities. I have attended lunch and learns and other speaking engagements that allow me to grow my toolbox, and just be a better owner, and professional.
Last, but not least, they have given my business such wonderful growth and publicity opportunities. Two years in a row we applied for a Business of the Year award, and the first year when we didn’t make the cut, we had received tons of detailed feedback given to us by some highly esteemed board members. We took that feedback very seriously, and used it to fuel our growth the following year, which ultimately ended up being the year we won Leading Female Enterprise. We are so grateful for the comments that pushed us to be a better business, and gain a better focus on our goals in 2016.
What does winning the 2016 Leading Women’s Enterprise Award mean to Eat the 80?
Winning the 2016 Leading Women’s Enterprise is something I’ll always cherish. Two and half years ago I was in a completely different profession, and quite frankly, very unhappy. But with the help and motivation from my husband, I was able to truly focus and hone in on what made me happy. I knew that guiding others through their health and wellness journey was something that brought me great fulfillment, and starting Eat the 80 was the passion project behind that.
It takes a lot of courage to quit your job, and attack your dreams, and there were a lot of times I really wanted to give up. Owning your own business is the most challenging yet rewarding process I have ever been a part of, and winning the Women’s Enterprise Business of the Year is a constant reminder that I didn’t give up. Women, in general, tend to be very nurturing, which sometimes can lead to not putting their needs first. But I hope I was able to show other women that when you put your aspirations first, great things can happen.
What is next for Eat the 80? What new levels of success do you aspire to achieve?
One our core values is dream big, and execute bigger. We take that value very seriously, and have quite a few large aspirations for the future.
In 2017, we plan to begin our market research by opening our first strictly retail location. Customers will be able to pick up individual meals in this central location, shop meal plans, and speak with a nutritionist on site. The goal is to start testing this model in Gainesville, so we can replicate it over and over in cities all over Florida.
Then our big picture goal is to create “The 80 Farm” where our company would live and thrive. A percentage of our ingredients would be sourced directly from our own farm while our other ingredients would be sourced from sustainable, locally owned, and/or environmentally conscious vendors. We would host farm-to-table dinners, healthy eating seminars, and other community events. Our vision is for the farm to be a place of inspiration and brand identity for Eat the 80.