Help me think outside the box here

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I own a startup, a meal kit service called chefami (chefami.com). You have probably heard of Blue Apron. It's the same kind of thing, with the exception that we focus entirely on a single local market, source all our produce locally, and primarily use organic ingredients, so overall you get a much higher quality product than you get at Blue Apron.

So the reason I am posting here is that I am looking for marketing ideas that are a bit outside the box. We are not large enough for mass marketing, we are looking primarily for targeted, low cost guerilla style marketing ideas.

For example, an obvious choice is contacting local food bloggers with a sample and getting a write up done.

Slightly less obvious is an idea like contacting local cooking class teachers, and networking with them.

These are the kinds of ideas I'm looking for. Particularly thoughts on any remotely food/cooking related local groups which would be naturally sympathetic to trying our product. Thanks!
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  • Profile picture of the author Brent Stangel
    Flyers on local bulletin boards or anywhere else you can post them.

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  • Profile picture of the author ezjob
    If it's local business you want then why not place a display ad in the local newspaper or a well known publication in your area.
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    • I covered this in the initial post. I don't want to waste money advertising to people who are not our customers. This post is about _targeted_ marketing ideas.
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve B
    Go after busy working moms. Geo-target on Linked-In, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. Also, if you have large businesses in your area, offer the employees a discount on their first order.

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    • Profile picture of the author ShayB
      Originally Posted by Steve B View Post

      Go after busy working moms. Geo-target on Linked-In, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. Also, if you have large businesses in your area, offer the employees a discount on their first order.

      Steve
      To piggyback off of this idea:
      • Go to Meetup.com and find local moms groups in your area. Offer a discount, free sample, demo, etc.
      • Visit local day care centers and drop off flyers, coupons, etc.
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      • Profile picture of the author DWolfe
        Originally Posted by ShayB View Post

        To piggyback off of this idea:
        • Go to Meetup.com and find local moms groups in your area. Offer a discount, free sample, demo, etc.
        • Visit local day care centers and drop off flyers, coupons, etc.
        Nice to see you back on the W.F. Shay
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  • Profile picture of the author jeffreydale
    Sounds like you're in the food delivery business. Why not promote and target people who are not mobile? Maybe elderly homes? Or people who suffer from agoraphobia.
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  • Profile picture of the author superowid
    You really need a Youtube channel and create many videos of your product and activity. Then by all means use the offline marketing (brochure, newspaper ads, namecard, etc) to promote your channel. You also need to put the videos on your website as well.
    You can also do video and photo promotion using instagram.
    Good luck!
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  • Profile picture of the author savidge4
    Originally Posted by Elijah Laughinghaus View Post

    We are not large enough for mass marketing, we are looking primarily for targeted, low cost guerilla style marketing ideas.
    The question is why do you think you are not big enough? You could be breaking your community into sections and send 5000 post cards out at a time. I would think that invest in this once.. and repeating should pay for itself based on the new onboards from the previous set of 5000.

    I am going to be straight here... stop monkeying around and either quit what you are doing.. or take it serious drop the funds and market it properly.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    Ah, I'm gonna go back to Ewen here and ask his question...What do people get or buy JUST BEFORE they realize they need what you have?

    Piggyback on their traffic, their lists, and multiply your reach immediately.
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  • Profile picture of the author IPLease
    Flyers is a great idea. I like the idea of the local cooking classes- this could be a great thing. What about doing something at a local supermarket? Not really sure what, but it is just a thought you could go off of.
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  • Some good ideas here thanks.

    Sorry I don't have hundreds of thousands to invest immediately but I don't think that means my business isn't a serious one.

    We have grown 300% per year for three years straight, achieving profitability after only 10 months in our first market.

    We will be delivering to a few specific zip codes initially.
    We know who our customers are demographically, so even if we did have huge resources to pour into mass marketing, it would still be rather stupid to do so, considering they are in the upper 10% of income earners generally.
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    • Profile picture of the author savidge4
      Originally Posted by Elijah Laughinghaus View Post

      We will be delivering to a few specific zip codes initially.
      We know who our customers are demographically, so even if we did have huge resources to pour into mass marketing, it would still be rather stupid to do so, considering they are in the upper 10% of income earners generally.
      I would suggest the exact opposite... the 10% of the population you are targetting more than likely lives in specific parts of town... thus creating the right atmosphere to target with EDDM. And thats just to those that "live" there.

      Some USP switching and you could all of the sudden be targetting the college crowd with parents elsewhere that fit into that 10% fold.

      Switch it up again and you could be supplying meals to the elderly and home bound. that have adult kids that meet the 10% crowd.

      I looked at your site. I would suggest you get someone with CRO knowledge look over your site... it without question could be more effective. Look at your site above the fold.. and then go look at Blue Apron. They ( blue Apron ) have a USP ( the discount AND Freshness ) you have "Dinner made easy" I know there is more text there... but yours simply reads as "Dinner made easy"

      Again.. ill say it think less outside the box in terms of deliver of message and start using the out of the box mentality as to whom you could target.

      Another thing I am not seeing on your site.. SHARE PHOTOS you need to work this into the fold.... 10%'ers will post and thus share with other 10%'ers. If you can, look at Mcdonalds recent efforts with the McRib as an example of how this works.

      Im really not trying to beat up on you here.. I think what you are doing is awesome.. have actually looked at the concept myself.. You justneed to turn the corner from a mom and pop start up to a legitimate business ( one that could actually be a franchise oportunity )

      One more thing I just noticed... you are not targeting "Local" with your SEO efforts you need your address on the site. you may want to consult with a local SEO specialist - your site should appear in the listings when people are search for a service.. and yours should pretty much come up first because its "Local"
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    • Profile picture of the author GordonJ
      Originally Posted by Elijah Laughinghaus View Post

      Some good ideas here thanks.

      Sorry I don't have hundreds of thousands to invest immediately but I don't think that means my business isn't a serious one.

      We have grown 300% per year for three years straight, achieving profitability after only 10 months in our first market.

      We will be delivering to a few specific zip codes initially.
      We know who our customers are demographically, so even if we did have huge resources to pour into mass marketing, it would still be rather stupid to do so, considering they are in the upper 10% of income earners generally.
      We will be delivering to a few specific zip codes initially. Here is your marketing plan. Every Door Direct Mail, get 2500 cards printed, drip them monthly in the zip codes you are targeting, If you are willing to bundle yourself, take to PO, and pay only for what you send out at a given time, it is very affordable, a couple of hundred bux gets you there...

      And a good offer on the Card, it will generate business in areas you already serve.

      Schwann's, somewhat of a competitor for you, used to train their drivers to deliver flyers when they made a delivery. A few houses surrounding the delivery, before they made the next one.

      You could offer a PARTY plan to a current customer, who would "host" a meal, and they get discounts all the way up to free based on number of neighbors and friends that show up for a demo or your products, a little taste sampling.

      Sounds like a delicious business. LEVERAGE off of existing customers, referrals and customer rewards.

      GordonJ
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  • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin
    We have grown 300% per year for three years straight, achieving profitability after only 10 months in our first market.
    Use your existing customers to find new ones.

    Give them coupons they can give to friends, and reward them with some kind of tasty bonus when a friend becomes your customer.

    Offer rewards (like a free meal kit or free dessert) to existing customers who post about your service on Facebook or upload photos of their meals to Instagram or Pinterest.

    Run a contest for the person who posts the most creative video about your service to Youtube next month.

    Etc.

    Good luck!

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  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    Here's an idea for you...

    I was just browsing through one of those free 'homes for sale' magazines, where local realtors show a handful of listings to generate phone calls.

    Since I live in a part of Florida that attracts vacationers and snowbirds (seasonal residents) at many economic levels, including that top 10% you mentioned, here's what I would do.

    Grab a few of those magazines and go through them looking for the agents/agencies that handle higher end properties. Do some web searches for people renting out seasonal/vacation properties (better yet, outfits that manage several). Propose a joint venture, where you print a sheet similar to the EDDM postcards discussed above, co-branded with said realtors/rental managers. You offer a special intro offer, which the partner advertises as a perk for doing business with them. Another way to go at it is for the agency to pay for a week, two weeks, at a special rate that covers your costs, as a bonus for buying/renting a property. At the end of the bonus period, you make your offer for continued services.

    You could make the same kind of deal with high end contractors.

    Here's another idea for generating referrals. Study the referral offer from Dish Network - make a referral and get a bonus ranging from a bill credit to a tech gadget. None of which they are paying retail for. If you signed a new referral customer, could you afford to give the referrer a week's worth of meals (at cost)?
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  • Yes absolutely so far such a huge percent of our growth has been referral based, because we allow customers to give someone a free box from time to time, that's our number one most cost effective method we have tried so far.

    Maybe there's a communication issue somewhere there Savidge, your grammar is pretty broken and it's not always clear what you are trying to say. I thought you were suggesting that we should be putting large amounts of money into mass media, such as radio or TV, which spreads indiscriminately across all zip codes. Because our customer demographics are quite specific, our customers do not exist in all zipcodes, only a few particular ones and we know which ones they are, so we need to be using methods that are targeted.

    Naturally there are exceptions in every zipcode perhaps, but not enough to make it nearly worth the time to waste money that way.

    Elderly persons and college students are NOT a valid target. We have literally never had a single college student sign up, not a single one. And we are going to be pulling out of the biggest, wealthiest retirement community in Florida, because it turns out they also are not interested in this product.

    There are many excellent ideas here which we have not yet experimented with and I greatly appreciate everyone's time and contributions, thanks so much. The enthusiasm here is really cool.

    Our customers have a minimum income of 70k, married, with one child, sometimes two, literally 95% fit this description. Also, it is mothers who make the purchase.
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      Originally Posted by Elijah Laughinghaus View Post

      Elderly persons and college students are NOT a valid target. We have literally never had a single college student sign up, not a single one. And we are going to be pulling out of the biggest, wealthiest retirement community in Florida, because it turns out they also are not interested in this product.
      At first glance, retired folks might seem like a good opportunity, but in looking at the behavior of the folks in my neck of the woods, I believe you are correct. The diners and restaurants are usually packed, and the Senior Discount rules. They are not interested in fancy-schmancy meal boxes that they still have to cook themselves. If they get food delivered, it's more likely to be prepared meals that simply need an oven or microwave.

      Originally Posted by Elijah Laughinghaus View Post

      Our customers have a minimum income of 70k, married, with one child, sometimes two, literally 95% fit this description. Also, it is mothers who make the purchase.
      If you have your demographic nailed down this tightly, I'd focus 80% of my efforts looking for more ways to connect with your best prospects.

      Speaking of which, have you considered buying advertising in the sports programs of high schools in your target zip codes?
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    • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
      Originally Posted by Elijah Laughinghaus View Post


      Our customers have a minimum income of 70k, married, with one child, sometimes two, literally 95% fit this description. Also, it is mothers who make the purchase.
      You just revealed information that should be considered a trade secret.

      Alex
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    • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
      Originally Posted by Elijah Laughinghaus View Post


      Because our customer demographics are quite specific, our customers do not exist in all zipcodes, only a few particular ones and we know which ones they are, so we need to be using methods that are targeted.

      Our customers have a minimum income of 70k, married, with one child, sometimes two, literally 95% fit this description. Also, it is mothers who make the purchase.
      Here's how to reach your target audience, and only them...for free
      other than a bit of your time.

      Go to your local library and grab their free resource, either Reference USA or AtoZ Databases.

      There you will be able to select the exact demographic and the exact zip codes you want.

      Get a quote on how much to post and mail to your number of addresses you will be supplying.
      Your specs are 6x11 14 point card stock.
      Full color both side and UV coating.

      Postcardmania will do the design as well as the printing, addressing and mailing.

      The whole mailout is paid for by 2 other advertisers on the postcard.

      It's a great deal for the advertisers because to reach that specific audience it
      would be twice the price.

      You take the quoted price and divide it by two to get the price
      each advertiser invests to reach their ideal audience.

      The space on a 6x11 size postcard is divided up into 3 spaces
      with clear borders separating each space where each of the three ads goes.

      Once you know how many names you have,
      approach other businesses who would want to reach that same list by mail.

      Ideas are women's gyms, yoga centers, after-school tutorial center,
      early childcare centers, ballet, and martial arts tutors for kids.

      Using this same method, a friend in upstate New York
      has a liquor store and pizza place pays for his advertising for years.

      You can do the same yourself.
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  • Savidge, could you try rewording your criticisms of the website? I'm sure you have something good to say there but I am afraid your english is rather confusing.
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    • Profile picture of the author savidge4
      Originally Posted by Elijah Laughinghaus View Post

      Savidge, could you try rewording your criticisms of the website? I'm sure you have something good to say there but I am afraid your english is rather confusing.
      basic conversion 101.. your site does not have a USP ( Unique Selling Perspective ) you have more than one option.. the green aproach ( re-used packaging ) the freshness down to a local level ( fresher than any of the other national mail delivery services ) The contributions to the hungery children. Your specific delivery method, as in delivered to your door. We all know mail takes what seems like forever. as screwed up as it may sound it takes my mail 5 days to travel 30 miles to my bank for my mortgage payments. ( I drive down and deposit myself LOL )

      In regards to conversion.. your site has 1 opportunity ( well kinda 2 if you consider the "Sign up" button on the header. Look at Blue Apron, and there are 6 ( including the "Sign Up" button to convert a sale. You are asking a viewer of your site to cover a bunch of real estate to scroll to the "Plan Options"

      I am in no way a fan of the "Sign Up" button - well the wording. I would bet that the conversion ratio for that is slim to none. "Start delivery today" or "get started now" or "get freshness delivered" This would be something that needs to be tested.

      Your SEO efforts... it takes a bit to understand ( looking at your site ) you are regional as in specifically Gainsville FL only and I am assuming only parts of Gainesville. If I go and search "Gainsville food delivery" you are no where to be found. ( yes you rank well for "Gainesville Meal Kit" ) SEO is not won on micro focusing on search terms.. the broader the effort the greater the traffic in return.

      Your Social presents.. in terms of looking at your facebook page there is NO engagement. With what you are doing Comments dont count.. your end users should be sharing photos - again look at what McDonalds did recently with McRib... they blew this concept out of the park.

      You need to place the resources needed in these aspects of your ONLINE business... You need to broaden your local SEO efforts... you need to maximize the conversion rate of your site - I had suggested looking into a CRO ( Conversion Rate Optimization ) specialist to nail some of this stuff down. And engage with your end users with the use of Social Media.

      In terms of things you can offer for say sharing photos... Forget the free meals.. try things like Knife sets.. pots and pans.. cutting boards. Online Social media contests that you are rewarding participation work extremely well.
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  • Profile picture of the author DABK
    Who buys from you (what type of person)?

    In my area, I think you'd have a lot of success with self-employed couples with kids at home or couples where both mom and dad work... who make over 50k a year each.

    Do they have churches in the areas that interest you? Posh nail salons? Post on their boards and/or partner with them.
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  • Savige- thanks so much for the extra time to clarify, I think that's all really excellent advice and appreciate it. One thing though, not sure I understand what you mean by we have no USP. Didn't you just list 4 or 5? Maybe you can give an example what you mean.

    Yes we are strictly in the gainesville area right now, we are opening a new location in Tampa. I type in "meal delivery gainesville" and Chef ami is right there in the top 4 results, not sure how you aren't getting that.
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    • Profile picture of the author savidge4
      Originally Posted by Elijah Laughinghaus View Post

      Savige- thanks so much for the extra time to clarify, I think that's all really excellent advice and appreciate it. One thing though, not sure I understand what you mean by we have no USP. Didn't you just list 4 or 5? Maybe you can give an example what you mean.

      Yes we are strictly in the gainesville area right now, we are opening a new location in Tampa. I type in "meal delivery gainesville" and Chef ami is right there in the top 4 results, not sure how you aren't getting that.
      USP Unique Seling Perspective is probably the most important element of your online business. Basically it is what seperates you from your competition. Often times - we are the best, we are the fastest etc are used but the reality is in todays market, those no longer count.

      Lets look at a few real quick.

      HomeChef: Home cooking made simple

      Plated: Dinner for people that love food - With the 50% off first order - as an added look at thier CTA's ( Call to Actions ) ALL 7 of them on thier main page.. the message changes as you scroll down the page

      Tastefully Simple: Real Meals, Real Choices, Real Easy

      Purple Carrot: Better Food for a Better Life

      Green Blender: ( I know slightly off marketspace, but still relevent ) Fall in love with your drink OR you are what you drink.

      Fresh Direct: They dont have one.. what they do have is a pop up that tells you if they deliver in your area... They also have a different website. they are flat out menu items first.. obviously a bit more ala carte. As much as they dont have a USP.. because of the page design, they clearly are different in the market space.

      Hello Fresh: Your weeknight dinner solution

      Chef'd: discover something new tonight

      Now yours: Dinner made easy

      Kinda of uh flat... "Hand delivered to your door" and now you have just seperated yourself. "Local ingredients, hand delivered to your door" and you are now way seperated.

      Like I said.. I have looked at this business model myself... I personally like the overall feel of Plated.. each and ever CTA speaks to someone different meaning they have 5 or 6 opportunities to speak the language of the person reading the page. "Save Time" "Have Fun" "Planning for Great" from a CRO ( Conversion Rate Optimization perspective - this is wicked goodness )

      Just because you have elements on your site, it doesnt mean that the person reading your page will see it.... That initial "above the fold" message is what carries your message in a readers mind, not for just that page but through out thier visit.

      To give you a better idea of who and what to say try reading an article like this: tps://www.buzzfeed.com/hannahloewentheil/meal-kit-subcription-boxes-review?utm_term=.iwbYym1Dg#.nwPBmApaR Get an end users experience of why they ordered, and what they liked and didnt like. There are tons of these articles out there, I have found that in many cases many of the pro and con comments for each of these are the same from review to review. Which brings me to spend some time looking for what people are saying about you... there are always tons of insights to be had.
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  • A lot of you have touched on this and this is really the best fundamental idea that has come up here I think- I know that my customers are moms who live in a household with an income around 70k +. I need to figure out all the other places that moms in that demographic shop and play.
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  • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin
    I need to figure out all the other places that moms in that demographic shop and play.
    Simply contact a good direct-mail list broker. They can get you or create lists that fit these criteria:

    1)Family income
    2)Family size
    3)Gender
    4)Zipcode or other defined geographical area

    You can toss in age, too, if you want.

    I've worked with clients who did this kind of targeting with postcards or mailed letters, very successfully.

    Marcia Yudkin
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  • Profile picture of the author gainerp
    Banned
    Best you can opt for the business listing and the local ads they may work for your business.
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  • Profile picture of the author jessegilbert
    It's a nice site but when you use the URL you might want to type:

    ChefAmi.com

    When I first looked at the url I was like WTF?

    It is a small detail but could have a big impact on flyers.
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    Originally Posted by Elijah Laughinghaus View Post

    sorry I don't understand...the website is chefami.com already.
    I think you might be referring to this...

    (Using the Quote button when replying will help keep things straight.)

    Originally Posted by jessegilbert View Post

    It's a nice site but when you use the URL you might want to type:

    ChefAmi.com

    When I first looked at the url I was like WTF?

    It is a small detail but could have a big impact on flyers.
    He's talking about helping people both remember and type in the URL correctly.

    Both chefami.com and ChefAmi.com (or even ChefAmI.com) will reach the same destination. But adding the capitalization creates an additional visual clue for us human types.
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  • Profile picture of the author ohio1975
    i know in my area there are local facebook groups that have opportunities to talk about some new offerings. another neighborhood website is nextdoor.com
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  • Profile picture of the author smartprofitmoney
    Originally Posted by Elijah Laughinghaus View Post

    I own a startup, a meal kit service called chefami (chefami.com). You have probably heard of Blue Apron. It's the same kind of thing, with the exception that we focus entirely on a single local market, source all our produce locally, and primarily use organic ingredients, so overall you get a much higher quality product than you get at Blue Apron.

    So the reason I am posting here is that I am looking for marketing ideas that are a bit outside the box. We are not large enough for mass marketing, we are looking primarily for targeted, low cost guerilla style marketing ideas.

    For example, an obvious choice is contacting local food bloggers with a sample and getting a write up done.

    Slightly less obvious is an idea like contacting local cooking class teachers, and networking with them.

    These are the kinds of ideas I'm looking for. Particularly thoughts on any remotely food/cooking related local groups which would be naturally sympathetic to trying our product. Thanks!
    Hello,

    Well your website looks good, and I never say that,

    Ok if your trying not to spend to much money, you can use smart post cards, for target marketing, FB custom ads, on low budget, Bing ads, and YouTube custom channel, with 100 videos,

    And after you make money, cable TV $3,000 per month, it's about $20.00 dollars per spot, for target marketing, I know all about TV stuff, so yes, that is were this business needs to be, it will make its money back over and over, but you must buy a 12 month package, you can pay monthly, but stay on there.

    ok hope this helps

    Thanks Rob.
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  • We have done direct mail, radio, and TV ads, all at a loss. We know what our customer acquisition cost has to be and for some reason, these avenues just don't generate enough customers. We sent out 10,000 targeted direct mailers and got back only 20 customers.

    Can anyone fill me in on what is being talked about with the Mcrib advertising campaign? I have googled the hell out of it but I don't get anything except the fact that they are using its low availability to create scarcity, which I don't see how that could be relevant to my business.

    Ideas about partnering with daycare centers, school sports programs, etc. are really what I'm looking for here as we have found nothing works for us like word of mouth. We need to target anything that is relevant to moms in a household with a 65k+ income and partner on their traffic.

    Any ideas on how to forge these partnerships, where to forge these partnerships, what kind of incentives to offer those businesses to get them to really promote us, etc. are really what I need, thanks.
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    • Profile picture of the author savidge4
      Originally Posted by Elijah Laughinghaus View Post

      Can anyone fill me in on what is being talked about with the Mcrib advertising campaign? I have googled the hell out of it but I don't get anything except the fact that they are using its low availability to create scarcity, which I don't see how that could be relevant to my business.

      Ideas about partnering with daycare centers, school sports programs, etc. are really what I'm looking for here as we have found nothing works for us like word of mouth. We need to target anything that is relevant to moms in a household with a 65k+ income and partner on their traffic.
      ok look at the campaing as in how it worked.. it was about taking images of the product and sharing the images... WORD OF MOUTH. YOU need to activate social media to do what it is exactly what you want to do here. McRib, is just that... peer sharing OR "Hey I eat this and you should too"

      A little 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 piece of paper in each box asking for them to take pictures of the process and the final product and where they can share them to. Go a step further and find a # you can use. Create a bit of a contest out of it.. select one photo entry a month to win a set of knives ( as an example )

      Like i have said before.. social sharing within the exact demographioc that are your users.. is going to target just that posible other users.
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  • Profile picture of the author HollyK
    You need to start with one to five well-connected moms. I'm sure you've heard of Mary Kay and Tupperware and Pampered Chef and things like that? Maybe come up with a party plan structure or edible trunk show to let everyone sample something. Offer a freebie to the most popular mom blogger in the zip codes you're targeting. Build a relationship by commenting on the blog without spamming your link. A lot of bloggers are on Twitter or Pinterest, so use those to promote your pictures of your food (Instagram too).

    Partner with after school places like gymnastics studios, martial arts studios and private businesses. Find out when the local high school is selling ads for the drama club or put an ad in the school paper or yearbook or PTA directory. You're very likely going to need personal introductions to break into these very tight knit circles, so bring your A game and make sure you wow them!

    Good luck!
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  • Profile picture of the author Jeffrey Joson
    SMS blast its also a good idea to try, i do know people who use it and its help to boost their sales
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  • Profile picture of the author yukon
    Banned
    The demographic is obviously middle/upper class income. It's Not hard to find the neighborhoods.
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  • Profile picture of the author max5ty
    You could dress up like a carrot and stand on the street corner and hand out flyers.

    Saw this story and thought I'd pass it along.

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/connect/...osed_community
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  • Profile picture of the author joannabenz
    I viewed your website, and it looks very attractive. However, IMHO your pricing is too high. Even people in the $70k-$100k wage bracket are watching their food costs these days. My ideas are a bit outside the box of what you asked for, but perhaps may be helpful.

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    1) Ditch the donation angle. Donating 50% of your meals is not working. Charity is fine, but in your case, it needs a bit of refinement. For example:

    -- Hold an open house where people can sample a cooked dish over a 2-3 hour period. Then donate 10% of the first meal cost for every new customer who signs up on that day.

    -- You could hold this event in conjunction with a local community event, or anywhere that gets a ton of foot traffic.

    -- As an alternative, hire a $25/hr. demonstrator to give away free bites of dinner in a place like Costco or maybe a kitchen trade show. The one to one, personal interaction is very important! ... It can make people feel like they know the business owner personally!

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    2) Reduce the cost of a meal to no more than $7or $8 per person. Even Panda Express is down in this price range now.

    -- Since you won't be giving away half of your products to charity anymore, this will not impact your business at all.

    -- You could also offer a special membership deal. For example, get 20% off your first meal when you join as a new customer and commit to a 30 day trial membership. Or maybe...

    -- Save 10% on every meal you order, after purchasing your first 10 meals and automatically becoming a "gold" customer.

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    3) I didn't see the word "organic" anywhere on your website, but this is a BIG selling feature!

    -- You could just mention that your ingredients are "primarily organic" or "organic wherever possible."

    -- Or you could state that everything is organic unless otherwise noted. Then use asterisks and small footnotes to denote items which could not be sourced as organic. People will appreciate knowing exactly what they are getting.

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    4) There are also some additions that would be a natural for a business like this.

    -- Offer small pre-packaged dessert items (if you also order dinner). No preparation needed on your part, just deliver.

    -- Maybe offer a small selection of 2 or 3 wines, in conjunction with a local liquor store.

    -- You could also team up with a local flower store, and offer a complete birthday or anniversary dinner package as a completely separate offering.

    -- If desired, you could add on some small seasonal gifts -- for example, a pre-made cake or box of candy for Valentines Day.

    -- Again capitalizing on holidays, like Valentines Day or Christmas... Give away one free romantic meal via lottery in conjunction with a local radio or newspaper ad. Winner could be the 10th caller, or name drawn from a hat etc. I believe local radio ads are fairly reasonable in price, no more than $100 or $200 for ad campaign.

    -- If you do team up with one or two partners -- like a liquor store, flower shop, or gift shop -- then it would be natural to do joint postcard advertising, as someone mentioned, where the cost to you would be zero or at least some minimal amount.

    -- You and your complementary businesses could also offer some kind of welcome wagon deal in your area, say half price off your first order. If there is no official welcome wagon organization in your area, check with the chamber of commerce, change of address packets at the post office, or a local newspaper.

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    5) Ordering Process -- I suggest you keep the number of items you offer simple, but allow people to order directly from your website so they don't have to call you unless they prefer to call.

    -- You are targeting affluent people who are busy, and ordering online can be pretty speedy and unobtrusive, even stealthy. You might even want to have a smartphone app available for them.

    -- This would make the ordering process easier for you, especially if you offer add-ons like desserts or small gifts.

    -- All of your online orders would already be in writing, which would make it easy to fill them and deliver.

    -- You will also want to incorporate some sort of tracking system, so you can easily tell when you are about to run out of something and can mention that on your website. Have a contingency plan in case you run out of Meal # 3, for example.

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    6) Menu Expansion -- You might consider expanding the menu, so people could choose any 3 of the following 12 items, for example.

    -- Variations could be as simple as a chicken dish with your choice of 3 different sauces. It doesn't necessarily have to be complicated.

    -- Slightly expanded choices would make things easier for people who are vegetarians, on restricted diets, or who can't eat anything difficult (like chewing steak).

    -- If you try this, make sure they can order multiples of the same item, if there's only one thing that they happen to desire.

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    Hope these ideas help spark your inspiration and creativity for greater success!

    Joanna
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  • Profile picture of the author hadyn
    Some fliers, printed products, newspapers are really working these days. You will find them effective
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