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Going from Zero -100 Overnight for Meal Kit Food Delivery

Blue Apron

The meal kit industry was launched in Sweden by Kicki Theander and it was called Middagsfrid back in 2007. In 2012, Blue Apron, Hello Fresh and Plated debuted in the US. Home Chef began in 2013. By 2015, meal kit food delivery services hit 1 Billion dollars. There are now over 150 meal kit options for consumers to try.

By 2018, many were speculating on the future of the meal kit delivery industry. The space became much more crowded and the novelty wore off. Many felt as though having the service was great in that it reduced food waste. Packaging was not ideal as it produced too much paper and plastic. In a nutshell, it was doomed to fail and many speculated it would.

NPD group food analyst Darren Seifer says there are two main reasons customers abandon their meal kit subscriptions, and the first is that they’re too expensive once the initial coupon or sign-up promos run out. Second is that people want more spontaneity when deciding what they want for dinner.

The Market Grows

Grandview Research published a study, Meal Kit Delivery Services Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Offering (Heat & Eat, Cook & Eat), By Service (Single, Multiple), By Platform (Online, Offline), By Region, And Segment Forecasts, 2020 – 2027.

They report:

Multiple kit delivery services are expected to register the fastest CAGR of 13.0% from 2020 to 2027. With inflating lifestyle, it’s common to have families with working parents who face time crunch in cooking. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics report published in April 2019, among married couples in 2018, 48.8% of families had both employed husbands as well as the wife. Similarly, among married couples with children, 63% of families had both employed husband and wife. This trend is expected to expand the scope of meal kit delivery services in families.

COVID Pandemic

Once the pandemic hit in March of 2020, the meal kit companies exploded. When consumers were unable to get the food they wanted at their local grocery store, meal kits subscriptions became an option. They created a fun, DIY activity that the entire family could do together. Many people who didn’t even know how to cook, all of a sudden were tasked with this chore at the end of a long day full of Zoom meetings and virtual learning for the kids. It made sense.

Some of the companies were not able to keep up with the demand. I personally tried three subscriptions, Home Chef, Hello Fresh and Gobble. Out of the three, Home Chef was my favorite. I needed to give it up however, because of the issues in delivery. I started with Tuesday delivery and then week after week it wouldn’t come until Wednesday. That was not a huge issue, but when it did come, it came almost at room temperature. The ice packs were 3/4 of the way thawed. When I called, they assured me they would look into the issue with the delivery company and get back to me. They never did and I cancelled. Hello Fresh’s portion size was small and over priced in my opinion. Gobble was packaged the best. They also offered extras like cookies and even breakfast options. I didn’t care for the meal options however.

The Struggle is Real

Today I read an article in LinkedIn about the struggles Blue Apron had during the Pandemic.

The meal-kit delivery company saw customers drop off by 7.5% during the third quarter as it struggled to meet an earlier surge in demand. While it’s expanding fulfillment centers and paring menu options to simplify production lines, those changes won’t be completed until next year. 

An employee’s viewpoint was shared on the post:


The past 6 months were the most stressful months of my entire life.

On March 19th, my work at Blue Apron completely changed overnight. Thousands of customers coast to coast flocked to Blue Apron in a time when their local grocery stores sold out of food, everyone was locked down, and Blue Apron was their only option. Given the overwhelming demand, that meant I worked a lot overtime on nights and weekends. I probably worked 6 weeks with no days off, no weekends, nothing. To be honest, it’s been the duty of a lifetime. I’m proud of my work, and I’m really lucky to be able to continue this work to today.

What do you think? Can meal kit subscription companies make it in the long run? Customer service will be key.


Improving NPS for a Better Customer Experience

Net Promoter Score

Quality Assurance in the contact center is being used to improve NPS (Net Promoter Score) and overall customer experience

“How likely is it that you would recommend our company to a friend or colleague? Could you please rate your recommendation on a scale of 0-10?”

These are two questions that can induce anxiety into any business. But the questions are real and have been so since 2003 when Frederick Reicheld of Bain & Company wrote about what he coined the Net Promoter Score (NPS) in an article for the Harvard Business Review.

Reicheld’s premise is simple. Answers to the “likely to recommend” question are rated on a scale of 0-10 and the responses are divided into three groups as follows:

• Promoters (rating of 9-10)• Passives (7-8)• Detractors (0-6)
The Net Promoter Score is determined by subtracting the percentage of detractor responses from the percentage of promoters. The goal is to get as high a Net Promoter Score as possible as an indicator of customer perception of a company’s service and support.

So How Do You Boost Your Net Promoter Score?

1) Truly Listen to the Customer

Perform a deep analysis of your call records. Consider how many calls are subsequently transferred into other departments.  How many result in escalations or complaints?  Do some listening and consider what the main drivers are for these transfers and escalations. A big negative for NPS is when customers feel that they have to deal with many people or departments to get a query resolved. On many occasions, a customer’s issue will have several threads to it, all of which need to be resolved or actioned in some way.
Empower your frontline to handle queries outside their own department’s main scope and provide them with access to whatever systems they need. This greatly enhances their chances of providing the customer with a ‘one-and-done’ resolution to their call.

2) Perfect Your Greetings and Closings

While it might sound obvious, how consistent is your team with their hellos and goodbyes? The greeting is your customer’s first experience with your company, so make sure the call starts out on the right foot – keep it informal, ask them how their day is going, be interested in them as a person and show how you value their business.

Enabling an advisor to see a customer’s history makes for smoother handling of a call without the customer having to repeat themselves. Your employees also need to know what to do when a call is going wrong and how to get it back on track. Having dealt with the call or query, make sure your advisors finish each call on a positive – remember that’s the impression that your customer will leave with.

3) Review Your Scripts

Sometimes an advisor’s strict adherence to a script can bypass common sense and cause more problems than solutions. Giving employees the freedom to act with common sense and not stick rigidly to a script, regardless of the circumstances, can deliver better NPS scores. If a customer has not had their problem resolved and you ask: ‘Is there anything else I can help you with today’, it is likely to be met with a negative response. This lack of common sense is likely to increase dissatisfaction as the customer hasn’t been helped yet.
Frank Sherlock at CallMiner

4) Follow Up Fast

Prompt follow-up with customers can help contact centers drive increases in NPS. This closing works for several reasons:

• demonstrates your commitment to the customer experience
• resolves individual problems
• gives you greater insight into the issues that drag down your customer loyalty

How fast you respond, who follows up and even the means of contacting the customer can depend on the type of feedback received, as well as characteristics of the customer or account. Often, simply hearing that feedback was received improves a customer’s perception of your company. Use follow-up calls to learn more about customer issues. This can help you pinpoint the root causes of recurring problems so you can fix them at the source.
Richard Burns at NICE

5) Boost Morale in the Workplace

Without an emotional investment in their work, most employees are going to have a difficult time maintaining exemplary service, which can cause your NPS to slip. Allow the team to review themselves alongside their superiors. This demonstrates that the individual’s opinion is valued and their development matters, as well as allowing senior employees to build a rapport with their teams. Utilize reward programs like ‘employee of the month’ or competitions that encourage excellent NPS. Pride in good performance is always an incentive to raise or maintain standards of work. These schemes provide continued encouragement for advisors to provide the best service they can, which in turn goes towards raising your NPS.
Enda Kenneally at West Unified Communications

6) Make Exceeding Customer Expectations the Primary Goal

Rather than focus on the NPS itself, make exceeding customer expectations part of your call center’s goal. To do this, you need to look at the NPS as something that measures the difference between the expectations a customer has and the experience they receive.
Prompt advisors to deliver positive surprises and go the extra mile, rather than concentrating on compliance or reducing the call duration. This will exceed customers’ expectations and help you achieve better NPS scores.


Predictable Vs. Experience. The Retail & Hospitality Shift.


There are over 74,000 clothing boutique businesses in the United States. Included in that high number are online boutiques, who have brought a unique frenzy to the retail industry. Trendy, stylish, and exclusive. There’s been shift from “you’re a predictable brand I trust” to “I am loving this exclusive boutique experience.” With more and more online boutiques popping up, shoppers are provided an unshared, chic, shopping experiences that doesn’t feel like the Gap store down the street.  

Interesting enough, there is a similar pivot within the hospitality industry. Large hotel franchises and chains are changing their hotel concepts to reflect a more unique appeal that correlates to the city or town of their hotel location. These changes then compete with smaller, independently owned hotels who are gaining in popularity. The one-of-a kind charm is alluring travelers across the globe. Guests are constantly looking for what is postable, or the “social return,” according to a recent article by Kristen Morales. With more and more people waking up and looking at their Instagram accounts, posting incredible places they’ve been, the increase in social media influences, and Gen Z gearing up to lead the way, hotels are following suit and adjusting strategy.  

Social Media’s Role

Social media has turned the hotel stay into much more than good service and a clean room. According to a new study by University of Georgia researches, it’s all about the ‘experience’.

Guests are taking to social media to post and show their followers and friends the brand-new experience they had. It’s all about the post and what that individual will get in return from sharing that post.

Bynum Boley, an associate professor in the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, says it best, “When you have all these choices out there, you’re going with the one that’s least risky. But service quality is so standardized now-there’s all these reviews online, and service quality is almost a given,” Boley said. “But there’s also a rising influence of people who want a unique experience and also want to be able to broadcast their travel experiences through social media.”

Showing Instagram or Facebook followers the different experiences you are able to have sets you apart. It’s easy nowadays to pull up reviews on a hotel to see how they rank with cleanliness and quality. Going above and beyond for a guest is providing them with an exclusive experience that only comes from them staying at your hotel.

Adjusting Your Focus

So what are major hotels doing to compete with the independent boutique hotel? They are securing their place in the hotel race with new glamorous and attractive accommodations.  The Ranch at Rock Creek offers a Father’s Day getaway that is inspired by iconic film characters. Yes, dads can finally really feel like Jason Bourne or Indiana Jones. Or Mandapa, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve, provides kids with an enchanting education journey through the land of Ubud. Everything from yoga, rock painting, to dance fit, and shadow puppet making is provided.  

Social Media Transparency  

From retail to the hotel boutique experience, both industries have one thing in common, their need to be tech savvy in an ever evolving, competitive market. Transparency is vital as you build your online brand and community. Listening and responding to what is being said about your hotel franchise or independent hotel is a great step forward. For most consumers, the customer journey begins with online reviews. Whether they are seeking to find a new hotel experience or checking out a new shopping boutique. This drives behavior and decisions. Monitoring this activity helps you manage and promote your brand.

About Us:

We monitor social media, and every public review site on the web using unique and multiple software platforms. Let us provide you with a comprehensive report of your online reputation and help increase your sales. The face is, 91% of 18-34 year-olds trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendations.

How are you going to stand out?