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We tried Blue Apron, here’s what happened

Blue Apron

You’ve seen these ads and “sponsored content” pieces. I see them everywhere, likely because I’m a past customer and a close follower of Blue Apron and the meal kit space.

I’ve tried Blue Apron. I kinda like it. It’s not a great deal and they send you an obscene amount of packaging, but they offer good quality ingredients and it’s fun opening the box to see what’s in it.

But let’s be honest about what you get…

You get ingredients and recipe cards. They do some grocery shopping and meal planning for you, but you’re still going to spend an hour cooking and cleaning up.

If you’re looking for convenience, we’re a better answer. Our meals are heat and eat, ready in two minutes, and all for just a couple bucks more than a meal kit.

Order. Try it. You’ll love it!

Meal ideas. We’re listening!

3 No Pots & Pans meals in containers

Since we launched, I’ve spent most weekends searching for fresh, new meal ideas, then test cooking them at home. Some make the menu. Some don’t. I’m constantly on the hunt for new ideas.

But the food universe is vast and the areas of it we each explore may be quite different. While I focus on choices that hold well through our cook, cool, pack, reheat cycle, I know that you can help expand my thinking.

So here’s my appeal to you:

Tell me what you’d like to see on the menu. Share rough ideas, concepts, or even full-fledged recipes, if you like. If it makes sense for our menu, we’ll offer it for sale and bring you some free meals.

 

Meals for days!

No Pots & Pans Grilled Mahi Mahi with Pineapple Salsa

 

I had this for dinner last night. We made it last week. It was still fantastic.

That’s right – you can order our meals, fill the fridge, and enjoy them for days. We make menu decisions based on what holds up well, so you can enjoy a fresh and healthy meal when you want it.

Need meals for a couple days? Order a few and enjoy them on your schedule. If it’s a salad, eat that first, but most of our meals stay fresh for a few days after you receive them so that you can take a couple nights off from cooking.

Trust me, popping this in the microwave for just 2 minutes, eating it right out of the fiber container, and having nothing more than a fork to clean up is an amazing experience. Try it. You’ll love it.

Our Story… continued (part 2)

Ordering pizza again? Eating crummy leftovers or having cereal for dinner?

I’m not judging. I’ve done it. We’ve all done it. We’re busy and often don’t have the time to plan and prepare the meals we’d much rather eat.

So here we are. We make food. It’s that simple. See some of our past menu items here.

We cook, chill, and pack real meals so they’re ready for you to heat and enjoy in just minutes. Our compostable containers are both oven and microwave safe. Pop the cover off, stick it in the microwave for two minutes, and eat dinner right out of the fiber container (again, we won’t judge); a great meal ready in minutes. Enjoy!

Last week’s Pomegranate Chicken (Chicken Fesenjan)

No Pots & Pans Chicken Fesenjan

 

Learn more about No Pots & Pans via this blog, our Facebook page, or some of the press we’ve received.

 

Our Story

 

Andy Horvitz, founder

I’m Andy Horvitz- entrepreneur, foodie, and dad. I founded No Pots & Pans to offer a healthy and convenient meal solution to people like me and families like mine.

I love to cook and I’m pretty good at it, but with two young kids and my wife and I both working, it’s hard to find the time. Since pizza and Chinese are all we can get delivered in Hudson and the frozen prepared stuff is garbage, I started this business to offer a better solution.

How we cook:

In short, probably like you would at home, if you had the time:

  • Fresh proteins, vegetables, herbs, and spices
  • Light use of butter, cream, sugar, and salt

Our menu changes weekly and we’re constantly testing and introducing new items, while bringing back some of your favorites from time to time.

Where we cook:

While I’m aware of several food startups that have ignored regulations and are using residential kitchens, I chose a different path. We’re licensed as a restaurant; we just don’t have any tables. We work out of a commercial kitchen and are a licensed food establishment. I’m a ServSafe Food Protection Manager and we strictly adhere to best practices when we cook for you.

 

On-demand “apocalypse”?

No Pots & Pans isn’t yet available on-demand, but that’s where we’re going. Not yet being in the on demand business, I recognize that I’m not the best person to comment on the alleged on-demand “apocalypse”, but the idea seems ludicrous to me and I’m heartened to see that I’m not alone.

 

Mark Twain tales of my death

(obligatory)

 

So, SpoonRocket shut down. Bad for them, but a harbinger of a broader collapse in the rapidly growing on-demand economy? I think not.

SpoonRocket sold and delivered hot meals for under $10 (previously under $8) and in under 10 minutes. They built their business by targeting college markets. I expect those factors combined to drive an average order value of ~$15. That’s a tough business when the cost of delivery is a least $3 and probably closer to $5.

Mentioned in the story of their failure was the fact that they had achieved positive contribution margin. If that bears mentioning and you’re in the food business, you’re not charging enough. SpoonRocket’s failure isn’t a commentary on the on-demand economy. It’s more proof that lower tech consumer businesses like ours must try to make money, and FAST.

There will be more failures in the on-demand space — the race to the bottom in delivery, Uber for pets, etc. — enormous opportunity remains in bringing differentiated, high quality services to customers. In the food business, Munchery, Sprig, and the meals-by-mail businesses continue to thrive.

Prove to me that customers don’t want more choices, better services, all available when and where they want them and I’ll believe the apocalypse is underway. Until then, don’t believe the hype.

Bostinno / About Us

Thanks Bostinno for last week’s mention. I thought I’d use it as an opportunity to expound upon what we do:

1. We’re not an app.  We’ll have one eventually, and likely sooner than later, but not yet. We’re an e-commerce business.

2. We cook.  Different from some of the businesses mentioned in the story, and those popping up every day, we make food. Foodler is a great business, one that does something very different from what we do. If you live in the ‘burbs, that difference is enormous — what’s the point of a delivery service if your local options stink?

3. We’re legal.  We cook in a commercial kitchen and are licensed as a restaurant (just don’t have a dining room). If you want to sell food in Massachusetts (or 48 other states), you need to be licensed and work in a commercial kitchen. We are and we do. Selling most foods, and any decent meals, from a residential kitchen is illegal.

 

Like Blue Apron? You’ll LOVE this!

Blue Apron

 

Like Blue Apron?  You’ll LOVE this!

 

Ok, I’m biased. But here’s my take…

 

What I like:

  • Convenience
  • Quality ingredients
  • Menu variety

What I don’t like:

  • Not great value (got salmon this week? great. another meal is going to be cheap and boring.)
  • Still takes an hour of prep, cooking, and cleanup
  • All that packaging!

If only there were a solution that offered the good parts without all the bad!  That’s why we’re here.

We deliver fully cooked, prepared meals. Zero prep, just heat and eat.  And for bonus points:  our packaging is compostable.

Try it. You’ll love it.

A typical week…

If you’re like us, and I know many of you are, getting family dinner on the table gets progressively harder as the week wears on. Weekends offer time to shop for groceries and plan meals. If you’re really good, you might even do some high-intensity cooking on Sunday that covers the early part of the week.

But as you get to humpday and beyond, both grocery inventory and the cooking spirit decline.  The difficulty of making dinner often looks something like this:

 

Weekly Dinner Difficulty

 

That’s why we’re here. Skip a frozen dinner or pizza night and have us deliver something better!

Make dinner… easier!

Family Dinner

 

This was our house at 6pm yesterday, an average dinner. The four year old took his clothes off and the two year old is on mom’s lap – no reason for either.

 

This is why we’re here. Work, kids, etc., often make family dinner difficult. We make it easier.

 

Just order, heat, and enjoy! This is great food, delivered affordably, that makes everything easier.