How Galley Is Helping Maven Meals Increase Food Margins And Create An Independent Team
Tasty. Wholesome. Delivered.
Maven Meals makes and delivers prepared meals in the Seattle area. For eight years the company ran largely on the intuitive planning of the founder, Heidi Finley, but with sights set on launching a new brand, the company needed a more precise predictable way to control costs and margins.
“Galley has been transformational for us. Now we can see how we’re saving and spending money in real time, and being able to change just one thing and watch your food costs go down is pretty remarkable.”
– Heidi Finley, CEO
- Hundreds of recipes scattered across physical binders, Excel sheets, and Word documents
- Unknown food costs until the end of the month, when it was too late to make changes
- Over-reliance on Heidi in the kitchen due to unempowered staff
- Find a digital hub to store, organize, and refine recipes
- Understand real-time food costs to enable margin optimization
- Empower staff with the food data they need to become independent
- A single go-to resource for recipes and food production; instant recipe costing, scaling, and planning
- Drop in food cost percentage from recipe optimization
- The CEO successfully got out of the kitchen
Food Costing Was All Gut Feeling, And Planning Was Chaos
Maven Meals was experiencing a stunning ~35% growth year over year, but behind the scenes, Heidi felt trapped in the kitchen. Between menu planning, logistics, and a full day producing food in the kitchen, Heidi knew she was spending too much time working on the day-to-day.
“We started putting some recipes into Excel, just some basic template, and we’d just do manual calculations to scale food production for orders each week. It left a lot of room for error.”
Digitizing her recipes helped her scale production faster, but it didn’t help with organization. Before long Heidi’s hundreds of recipes were spread out across dozens of binders, Excel sheets, and Word documents.
“As a CEO who’s trying to get out of the kitchen, it’s been hard over time to hand off some of the kitchen responsibilities because those recipes weren’t available for staff.”
And that only made food costing harder. Without real-time information, she was powerless to make changes that could boost her margins like she wanted.
“We didn’t have any great data because we didn’t have the manpower, bandwidth, or information to cost every recipe every week. We had no controls for food costs, no idea what the expenses were until we did the numbers for the previous month.”
Getting Recipes Into A Single Hub For Automated Food Costing
Heidi found an email from Galley explaining how she could increase her food margins and manage her whole operations from a single dashboard, so she visited the Galley website.
“It seemed like something we’d never be able to afford, but I reached out anyway. Jonathan told me how much it was, and I was like ‘I’ll sign up immediately!’"
“Galley took care of the data migration. It was instantly valuable and all I had to do was go in and confirm everything.”
A Production Team That Runs On Data, Not Heidi’s Intuition
Within a few days of getting her recipes imported into Galley, Heidi was exploring food costs and margins in a way that had never been possible before: in real time.
“We were instantly able to see a drop in our food cost percentage. With some of the recipes we make regularly, making small, insignificant changes to the end product resulted in huge savings.”
When Heidi went to add new recipes to her database, she was shocked at how simple and quick it was to get accurate food costs.
“Ninety percent of our ingredients are in there and costed. So many things are pre-loaded—all the information is there—it’s just so quick.”
Heidi was then able to use Galley to translate the week’s recipes into precise production plans for her team.
“It made them feel empowered to be able to make recipes and take on responsibilities. Our GM in the kitchen is taking menu planning off my plate now that we know our weekly food cost goals—no more relying on gut feeling.”
The optimized recipes, more efficient team, and waste reduction have meant significant changes to Maven Meals’ margins.
“I can’t stress enough how impressed I’ve been. I’ve been able to save a ton of money. Galley pays for itself several times over every month.”
Heidi is preparing to launch a new food brand. With an efficient, data-driven team running Maven Meals, she has the flexibility and confidence she needs to continue growing her business in new directions.
“Galley makes changing the menu as often as we do a reality with staff that is new, growing, and inevitably changing.