Plated, a ingredient and recipe delivery service, entered the Shark Tank in April of 2014. They are being revisited on Beyond the Tank, where new investor Kevin O’Leary meets founders Nick Taranto and Josh Hix at their New York headquarters. Heavy interviewed PR manger Sonya Safro on their thriving business which makes it easier for people to cook healthy.
1. Mark’s Deal Didn’t Work Out, Then Kevin Stepped In
On the show, Mark agreed to a deal, but in the end, it fell through after negotiations. Then fate stepped in and the founders ran into another shark months later. “Randomly Nick and Josh were taping a show on CNBC a bunch of months later and Kevin was there. Kevin was interested in investing in Plated and they were able to work out that deal,” Safro explained.
The company definitely saw a surge in orders after their appearance on the show last April and it happened instantaneously. “We did more revenue on the back of Shark Tank in the two days following than we did in two years,” Safro said.
2. They’re Based in NYC
When they originally appeared on the Tank, they had two fulfillment centers, and now they have expanded to four- in the South Bronx, Miami, Chicago and the Bay Area – with a total of close to 400 employees. This allows them to deliver to 95 percent of the country.
After the show, they also moved to a new, larger office in Manhattan. They started with a staff of 16 in New York and now have almost 100 there. When asked what the benefit to being in the Big Apple is, Safro said, “It’s great in New York because there are so many other businesses, it’s such a thriving, capital market. Most of our VC firms are here and a lot of our partners. We have our fulfillment center here and a lot of are customers are based in the city.”
They operate as a weekly subscription service, where customers receive recipe cards and ingredients to make a home-cooked meal. There are no subscription fees or yearly fees. As the name implies, you only pay per plate. As for their biggest customer bases, they are in urban areas like New York, San Francisco and L.A.
3. They Call Their Customers ‘The Evolved Eaters’
“We realized there are 31 million Americans in this country who would associate themselves as ‘Evolved Eaters.’ These are people who care about the quality of their food and where it comes from and have aspirations to eat better and live better,” Safro explained. In fact, Taranto is actually penning a book called The Evolved Eater. “It’s about how his personal journey turned into this company’s mission,” she added.
To create the recipes, they have an in-house culinary team of professional chefs. The team develops and tests in their kitchen on their premises.
4. All of Their Meat is Antibiotic Free & Fish Is Sustainably Sourced
Plated was the first meal kit company to only source antibiotic and hormone free meat and domestic, sustainably sourced seafood. When asked about other ways Plated is different from their competitors, she answered, “Something that’s super important to us is choice.” While other companies may only send food based on whether or not the client is a vegetarian or even surprise customers with recipes, they provide nine new recipes each week for customers.
Safro sees that meal kit industry as growing tremendously. “There’s research that says that in the next five to ten years, this category will become a two to three-billion-dollar industry.
5. They Added Desserts
It is because of customers’ demand, that they began to offer dessert. “We’re huge on social media. We’re always responding to our customers,” Safro said. As a result of interest, they offer two different desserts every few weeks.
On Instagram, they asked customers to hashtag plated pics, so they can see the photos of finished dishes.