Want to dish up meals like a chef in only 15 minutes? That's exactly what Feastively allows you to do. An idea that was inspired from a Netflix sesh and the frustration of meal prep. This Melbourne created meal delivery biz, has got you covered. Forget washing, peeling, chopping and marinating. It's all done for you! Although Melbourne Mums are loving this new meal kit service, business owner Harry Sekhon is here to share the grit that it took to get it off the ground and into our bellies.
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My wife and I were both working long hours and we were always looking for ways to save time on dinner. We tried doing things like prepping meals on weekends and signed up for meal kits and frozen meal delivery services but couldn’t really find anything that we liked. If we wanted to prep the meals ourselves it would take up our whole Sunday and we would end up eating the same thing everyday for a week. Frozen delivery meals just weren’t that yummy and with other meal kit deliveries we would still have to spend 45 minutes making dinner plus time for cleaning up afterwards. I’ve worked in supply chain most of my career but have always had a passion for food so we decided to try and fill a gap in the market and Feastively was born.
The real inspiration for Feastively came from Netflix. Watching their Chef’s Table program, we noticed how much work gets done at a restaurant before any customers walk in. Most of the chefs utilise the theory of “mise en place”, which is having large parts of the dishes prepared before service so you can get the dishes out a lot quicker. We had tried a lot of meal kits and often got frustrated at how long they took to prepare and wondered why none of the companies had tried to implement mise en place before. That’s when we had the idea for Feastively.
Getting setup took some time. 6 months prior to quitting my corporate job we started increasing our savings. My wife, who supports me at the moment, took on extra consulting hours.
We then went on to create a prototype of what the product might be like - tested to see if people would even buy it. I would literally go to the markets, pick up the produce and chop it, pack and deliver to trial customers myself.
In the early days, I didn’t have a pause or stop button. I was working like crazy and within 4 months it caught up with me. I started falling ill often and had very little energy to go on. This is when my wife, a psychologist intervened and convinced me to treat this like a marathon rather than a sprint. I had to draw new boundaries between work and life so I could enjoy both.
When we started everyone - friends, family, ex-colleagues and business advisors - had a lot of advice to offer. It was confusing, daunting and sometimes even demoralising. But because I knew why we were doing what we were doing, I carried on, even when the odds seemed stacked against us.
The initial cash reserves from savings got used up sooner than we anticipated. It was a very stressful period. I realised the hard way that losing cash on poor quality service providers is really easy. Good and bad decisions, in the early days of running your first business, are really hard to distinguish until you see the results. But we managed to secure seed funding from family members to keep us going for sometime.
The next challenge was building a team. Convincing people to work on Feastively without a salary was another massive challenge. When we finally got some people, who were excited about the concept, to work with us, they didn’t stick around once it became clear how incredibly hard building a new business is.
Coming from a supply chain background I was keen to automate a lot of our operations processes. Now, a lot of the chef’s work is done on spreadsheets such as inventory checks, ordering, task assignment, quality standards etc. This helped us save a lot of time internally.
Shaun joined me second half of last year and we’ve been working on this together since.
Making mothers lives better n' brighter
Mothers have a very busy schedule, especially on weekdays when they try to juggle work, home and family. Our meal kits are the ultimate time saver. We deliver everything you need to cook a delicious meal right to your door. But who’d want to spend hours in the kitchen doing the prep, right? The key difference with Feastively is that we do the washing, peeling chopping and marnating for you so you don’t have to spend your precious time doing the boring bits. This way you can cook like a professional chef and have dinner ready in just 15 minutes. And who really likes cleaning up at the end of the day? We’ve designed all our meals for one pan cooking so you won’t have to spend half your night cleaning the kitchen when you’re done.
In the first instance excitement takes over. We’re a small but growing business so every new customer very special to us. We’re excited and grateful that they chose us instead of so many other services.
As a small business, competing with giants in this space, our customers are nothing short of gods to us. We exist because of them and for them. It’s a matter of great pride and joy when people see value in what we’re doing and how we can help improve their lives. This is something I’ve picked up from my mum; nothing gives her more joy than seeing others enjoy her cooking. When chopping ingredients and mixing sauces I think about how our customers would feel when they cook the meal for their hungry family and the words of appreciation that’ll be showered upon them by the family members. It puts a smile on my face.
This sense of pride then translates into a greater sense of responsibility when we step into the kitchen and prep their meals for them. Our customers trust us to deliver on our promise of freshness and quality.
Most popular product
We update our menu with new dishes every week and try to make sure there’s a lot of new and different dishes on there but the one dish our customers have demanded stay on high rotation is our Thai chicken green curry. We make the curry paste from scratch because this is the only way we can ensure it’s additive-free and tastes right. It takes 12 ingredients just to make the paste.
“Do they really take 15 minutes to make?”
People usually can’t believe that our meals take just 15 minutes to cook, from box to plate. I think it’s because they are so used to companies and celebrity chefs making them promises they can’t keep, we’ve all spent an hour in the kitchen making one of Jamie Oliver’s 30-minute meals before so there’s good reason behind the scepticism. But because all the prep is already done for you by the Feastively kitchen brigade, you can finish cooking the dish in a lot less time. This is exactly how chefs at top restaurants and cafes cook.
People might be shocked to hear that I actually prepare and package all the meals myself. I initially started the business with a chef and business partner but he decided to take an opportunity that was too good to pass up, so for the last few weeks I have been preparing and packaging all the meal kits myself. It’s not often you have the CEO of a company also packaging the product themselves!
Reading reviews. It may sound a little smug, but all the feedback we have received thus far has been overwhelmingly positive and it actually does give you a really satisfied feeling knowing that people are not just enjoying the product we make but also the spare time that it gives them.
Running this business has reconnected me with food. You’ll often find me experimenting with new dishes and cooking techniques. Not so much to create new menu items for the business but to expand my own knowledge of food.
I love my motorcycle and I’ll use any excuse to jump on it and take it out for a spin. My favourite route is a quick run to Kinglake and back.
There are a lot of new things to learn to be successful at running a business so I spend my “off” hours listening to podcasts and reading books about other successful businesses, founders and self-development. A couple of times a week my wife and I sit together in the evening to watch documentaries while savouring something I’ve cooked. It’s our version of affordable date nights at home.
We have so much on the go right now, we are working with a few collaborators and trying to expand the business but there’s nothing set in stone that I can announce right now. Our key focus at the moment is on spreading the word about Feastively so we can grow our customer base and makes people’s lives more convenient.
HOOD MAMA SPECIAL - Jump on over to the SPECIALS page to snap up $25 off your first order with Feastively. Valid until 30-09-18.
Home delivered meal kits. Our key point of difference is convenience. Unlike other meal kit deliveries all our meals take under 15 minutes to prepare and only require the use of 1 pan.
Business owner: Harry Sekhon
Fav family friendly place: Ferrovia, Pascoe Vale
Coffee order: Magic (3/4 flat white)
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