Home meal delivery companies, or home meal kits as they’re sometimes called, continue to enjoy ongoing success as busy consumers — particularly busy working Millennials — look for great tasting, chef-inspired, healthy and fresh home meals they can receive and prepare in a flash.
Kitchfix, founded in 2013 by Josh Katt, hones in on the healthy segment of home meal delivery with a retail storefront located above fitness studio Chicago SWEAT. Kitchfix offers prepacked meals, salads, sides, snacks and beverages for takeaway. Customers can also enjoy some of Kitchfix’s menu items in-house on the ground floor of the fitness studio. The culinary staff prepares the meals in a 5,000-square-foot kitchen that opened last spring. Here Chef Katt discusses the future of this emerging foodservice industry segment.
FE&S: Why are home meal delivery/kits trending right now?
JK: On-demand everything is huge right now — and there’s definitely a trend with meal kits and meal delivery services.
Especially in cities like Chicago, it’s making life easier and more convenient for many adults to have healthier options that are easily accessible and different than the conventional takeout/fast-food restaurants. Kitchfix’s chef-crafted, ready-to-eat meals are delivered in microwavable, recyclable containers, making it super easy to have a hot and delicious meal ready in just minutes. Our core audience is busy professionals, families and athletes in the Chicagoland area.
FE&S: How is the new retail location laid out?
JK: Our 1,450-square-foot retail location in the Gold Coast is just a few miles from our kitchen. We have a slender corridor layout with a walk up bar, grab-and-go coolers, and a small prep area for behind the bar with a barista set up. The barista can serve up made-to-order smoothies, hot chicken and bone broth, juices and limitless coffee draft beverages. We also have a Nitro system for cold brew coffee. Our food is always gluten-, soy- and dairy-free, and many options are Paleo-friendly. We’re creating the types of food people crave, but making them full of nutrient-rich superfoods.
FE&S: How often do you change the menu?
JK: Our menu changes weekly. We send out the next week’s menu to our customers every Monday at 10 a.m. to allow enough time for each client to decide on what they’d like to eat the next week and place their orders online. For clients who frequently buy meals and snacks, we’ve created the Kitchfix Subscribe Program, a monthly subscription service that allows clients to choose a plan that works for them. The plans range from 5 to 14 meals per week and clients can choose medium, large or pro-sized meals, and whether they want breakfast and snacks added. It all really depends on the client — we try to make things as easy as possible for them.
FE&S: What are the logistics of the meal deliveries?
JK: Kitchfix offers both delivery and pick-up options. The delivery fee is $6 for the city of Chicago, and anywhere from $12 to $16 for Chicago suburbs. Clients also have the option to pick up their meals from one of our 24 Chicagoland hubs or from our kitchen. Recently, Kitchfix expanded its delivery to six hubs in Milwaukee to allow area residents to pick up meals at select gyms.
FE&S: What is the layout of the commissary kitchen?
JK: The front 1,000 square feet is office space, with the majority of the rest the commercial kitchen. We have a 600-square-foot walk-in cooler, a turbo wash three-compartment sink, a high-temp ventless dishwasher, and additional storage space with a loading garage. We have an entire 30-foot wall dedicated to standing ovens and stove tops for cooking our meals. We have invested in equipment such as a tilt skillet, large capacity convection ovens, high capacity gas burners and a separate, two-compartment sink dedicated to produce. That allows us to make large quantities of food, since we prepare up to 3,000 meals a week. There is a window between our kitchen and office so visitors have an opportunity to view the entire operation.