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Optimize Your Food Costs with Hava Volterra

Lean Meals, Big Savings: Revolutionizing Delivery with Less Waste and Lower Costs

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:08] Will Schreiber: Let's go ahead and get started. So I imagine more people will trickle in, but happy March Bottle coffee club day, I hope everyone got their gift card. And today we're really excited to have Hava from Parsley software join us. Parsley, if you aren't aware of it which I'll let Hava give more of the background on, but it's a really great tool for.

Managing your ingredients and back up house as it relates to actually producing food and managing your menu and your ingredients and even ordering food from suppliers and whatnot. So, would love to kick things off with. I know it's about noon where you are now on the West Coast. I'm in New York.

I try not to drink coffee afternoon, but here I am. I'm keeping things authentic. I've got my coffee. Curious what your what your morning ritual is. Do you make your own coffee? Go somewhere? Shun caffeine?

[00:01:01] Hava Volterra: Oh, I love caffeine. So, coffee is very important for me. My, my father was Italian and if there is 1 thing that was important to him when I was young was dreaming about drinking coffee with his daughter.

Since a young age he was getting me used to the idea of coffee, he got me shakery. So I would get used to the flavor. His idea was he couldn't really. Real coffee until age 12, but I love coffee and I love it the Italian way with ability, you know, stovetop mocha.

[00:01:30] Will Schreiber: Oh,

[00:01:31] Hava Volterra: yeah. Do it every morning, but truth is I have coffee is brought to me to bed every morning and and I'm so attached to it that if I travel for more than a couple of days, I often take a burner.

And my stovetop with me with coffee, make sure I have the coffee I want on the morning.

[00:01:52] Will Schreiber: Yeah, that's not messing around. Does it pack? Does it like, hold up or

[00:01:58] Hava Volterra: it doesn't fall, but it's not that big.

[00:02:00] Will Schreiber: Yeah, that's really cool. That's a great answer. We had a big espresso talk on our all hands today.

So that takes the cake. I think traveling with your own mocha pot. Tell us a little bit about how you got to starting Parsley and in your words, what you guys do and how you help meal delivery companies.

[00:02:21] Hava Volterra: Yeah, absolutely. So first of all, my background is engineering. I'm a hardcore electrical engineer.

I worked in communications equipment image processing and ultimately very high speed components for communications. But as a teenager, I always wanted to be a chef. And at some point we had sold a company and I decided that I would pursue that dream and start a prepared meal company. But being an engineer, the first thing I thought I needed was software.

Which was easy, I was sure. And so I hired someone to do that. I have developed software in the past, but I, that wasn't anyway, the point is I hired someone to do it. It didn't work, tried someone else, went through a few people, finally hired a student in his last year of computer science. Took a year. We realized it was quite complicated and he developed software for me and that's where the idea for Parsey came from now to explain this business because I think it's relevant to a lot of your customers.

My idea at that time, I wanted to learn how to serve. So everything was going to happen on a Sunday, which would leave me the rest of the week, more or less free. We would go online with our menu for the week. In the middle of the week, people would have to place their orders by Saturday afternoon.

We would do all our shopping Sunday morning, prep book, chill package. Would be delivered Sunday night. People would find it in the cooler by their doorstep Monday morning. That was the idea. And that's what we did. And that what that really meant was we were a very big operation on Sundays, especially as we got up to speed.

But in order to do that, I needed software that would. 1st of all, manage the recipes, tell me what everything would cost, but also tell me what to buy, create all the prep lists and the scaled recipes, because every week. We were cooking different things. Anyway, that business worked. I'm not terribly scalable with just a 1 day a week.

Business is not scalable to multi multiple locations, but work well. And I learned how to serve, but we've been talking about doing Parsley since that original development. And a few years later, after the guy who developed the software for me, went off to another company, they didn't very well. They did their own thing and then we started Parsley together.

So Parsley was developed from scratch, but using everything we learned there, and we had a much broader idea. We were going to serve also restaurants, basically any food production. And our focus was to make it easy and user friendly and accessible to we would say for any mom and pop operation, meaning for the 90%.

that's what we did right now. As we launched it, we realized there were more and more features that people wanted. And we also realized that larger customers wanted it as well. So we basically, you could say moved up while still servicing single location and very small operations.

Parsley today, we have a, an entry level product and then And expand to much larger volumes and multiple locations, and we support all of that.

[00:05:44] Will Schreiber: Yeah. Cool. And I I think you've answered my next question, but I'm going to ask it anyway.

How have you seen? Parsley evolve over the years to, the evolving meal delivery market or just food market


[00:05:57] Hava Volterra: . How have I seen Parsley evolve?

[00:05:59] Will Schreiber: Have I? Yeah. How have you guys evolved your business?

[00:06:02] Hava Volterra: We've basically, we've learned that customers need. More than we thought originally, so Parsley at its launch was ideally suited to prepared meal companies.

And that wasn't even the intended was because that's what we knew. So design in our mind worked like that. We started from recipes and scaling recipes, and actually, we, from the beginning, added nutrition facts, so you could automatically get the calories and the full nutrition facts, protein, carbs and so forth.

You have a recipe. It tells you that automatically. Cost of course, you immediately know what your recipe costs and as you're developing it, you can see you can see those numbers change. Now what we found is there are plenty other of other features. People need prep list, which is actually something we.

Had originally production planning, of course, ability to import orders and connect with ordering systems. And then ability we've added. Label printing capabilities, so you can set up your own template, what size label where your logo goes and what information you want, and it all draws from your recipes.

And that was something that. We originally tried to connect with other companies that do that. And then 1 of our customers said why don't you just do it? I suddenly realized

[00:07:21] Will Schreiber: we relate to that all the time. So why don't you just do it? Yeah, it's funny. With all, you've worked with so many businesses and I think it's really interesting that you got into it by actually launching a meal prep meal delivery business. So if you, everything, now, when you look back on that business, what would you have done differently in your meal prep business with this extra knowledge of everything you've done at Parsley since?

[00:07:50] Hava Volterra: Um, that's an interesting question. I look if Parsley were around, I would have used Parsley, but that wasn't really. And I learned a lot as far as production, best practices and production in manufacturing, for example, and I understood this somewhat from the beginning, but became clear whenever possible, you work by way to portion by way to as opposed to by volume or anything else.

There are, things that I learned running the business, honestly don't necessarily relate to Parsley, but really scalability, finding the right kitchen and so forth. Something, of course, that I do see a lot through Parsley is. How customer needs and interests change over time in terms of what is important for them and their food.

So we had a very specific focus, which was French, Italian, Mediterranean home cuisine, and we did the dishes because that those are cuisines. I know very well. Although even then we expanded to other parts of the world, just because you need to have variety.

[00:09:00] Will Schreiber: What are you seeing now?

That's an interesting comment. What. How do you feel like consumer preferences have shifted? So

[00:09:07] Hava Volterra: I would say that when we started the main theme in meal delivery services was diet and it was calorie based diet. So you get 1200 calories a day. Maybe 1000 more often, maybe 1500, but that was what people were looking for.

Now people are looking for much more. Today it is it may be keto. It may be often is all organic. It may be specific. Dietary styles that are more health focused as opposed to weight loss focused. Even if that's what they ultimately may also result in, but people are very interested in health and in managing their performance.

I would say through the food

that they eat.

[00:09:51] Will Schreiber: Yeah. Much more macro oriented than just. Calorie weight loss. That's interesting. Yeah. Um, speaking of I think some of the more specific things all business owners can do better. What are the biggest ways business owners can effectively manage their food costs?

And let's move beyond. I think 1 answer is, of course, we'll track it. Use a system like Parsley. Let's assume that someone's set up and is able to at least see what's going on. What are, do you guys have a framework or recommendations on how business owners can start to work through and actually manage their food costs?

[00:10:30] Hava Volterra: So there are specific characteristics of prepared meal companies that are different from, let's say a restaurant. And The characteristic tradition, usually a prepared meal company is you need to have a lot of different recipes because you don't want to be offering the same thing every week.

People need variety here to stick with you. If it's a restaurant, you're going to go to that restaurant once every 2 weeks, once a month. You're okay. If you're always getting the same thing, because that's what you feel like eating on that day. But if it's a prepared meal company, Generally, we'd want to provide maybe half the meals the customer eats during the week.

If you want to do that week after week, you need to have many different dishes on offer. And generally, our prepared meal company customers have a very large selection of recipes. Now, when you do that. Because you have to develop a lot of recipes, you have to have an easy way to know what the cost of each recipe is going to be.

Take away the question of, let's say, negotiating prices, but you want to know when you create the recipe, how much it's going to cost. And it has to be easy to know that because you're making a lot of recipes. Of course, that's something that Parsley offers, but any way you do it, you do have to know up front, what should the cost be?

So you need to have the cost of your ingredients. And you need to have something that will calculate the cost per portion, per recipe, include your packaging, include all the elements that go into it because and if that recipe doesn't fall into a reasonable framework, and you don't have a reasonable margin on it.

Don't do it. Maybe you need to try it. Maybe changes. Maybe you need to raise the price. I don't know, but you need to make sure you maintain a certain margin. Now, traditionally, we talk about 25 to 33 percent food cost percent. Where 33 percent is fine dining. I always stuck with 25%. That was my number, including packaging.

It should be 25 percent food cost percent, but you might do it a little bit higher, but you need to know what your number is. And obviously, some dishes will be more expensive than others, but it needs to average out correctly. So the other thing is, and this is again related to prepared meals, because you're changing your recipes, you're likely to have, obviously, there'll be some things you buy over and over, but there also will be variations from week to week.

What Parsley will give you, and you need to have that no matter what you're using is basically a list of what you need to buy with the correct quantities. A restaurant can just repeat. Their purchases of the previous week and that'll work, but it doesn't work for prepared meal companies. If you're changing your offering every week, so need to purchase accurately that can make a huge difference.

And it's a combination of purchasing the right amounts and not forgetting anything. Because if you forget everything, anything you need to rush out and buy it, it might be more expensive. You've lost time and so forth. So accuracy. In ordering in pricing your in your recipes and ordering that's really important.

And then what comes out of that is you actually don't need to keep much inventory now. Parsley has full inventory capabilities. And we have, because we have different types of customers, not only prepared meals, obviously, they need to take inventory and some things you don't care. You're going to keep your spices.

You don't buy them every week, right? You just buy them as you run out. But most things, ideally, you're running on a very low inventory level. How much you need, how much beef, how much chicken, or if it's vegetarian, the produce and you buy the correct amounts, you use them at the end of the day.

There's nothing left. That's the ideal situation. And that's the way we were running, but. With prepared meal companies, you more or less can do that now. Why do I say more or less? Because we definitely have customers who they have an estimate up front of how many orders are going to get for every dish, but they allow changes.

And they do their purchasing a bit in advance, so they have to make some estimate and then they converge on what they really need. And so when you do that, you may have some leftovers and you may have some last minute purchases, but you want to be as accurate as possible.

[00:14:50] Will Schreiber: Right? Did you have more? I didn't want to cut you off.

No, that was that was a lot of good stuff. Yeah,

[00:14:56] Hava Volterra: No, not really. Because then the last thing, of course, is to figure out who the right suppliers are for the different items that you're buying, right?

[00:15:04] Will Schreiber: I'd love to dig into that. But before we do have a relevant question here of which is specific to Parsley.

How do you all deal with yields for certain recipes? And then in your case. Based on how you cook it and how that changes the yield, how does that impact the nutrition label and Parsley? And this is from someone who says they'd be an interesting customer.

[00:15:27] Hava Volterra: Okay. Sure. First of all, there's the yield of how much.

you get when you prep an item, right? So there are different yields along the way. So for example, if you have onions on Parsley, which you probably will, then you have chopped onions, peeled onions, sliced onions. And for each 1 of those, you can enter a yield. We'll give, we start with a nominal yield, but you can enter it.

For sliced onions, mostly it's 80%, but some people get better 85%. 1st of all, if you need a certain amount of chopped onions, and by the way, we'll give you the prep list, how many chopped onions you need. If you need 10 pounds, it may tell you that you need to buy 12 or 12 and a half pounds.

So it'll tell you how much you need taking the yield into account. Okay. Now you have a, what we call a sub recipe, which is, let's say the components. of a recipe or a dish. And there, let's say you are making hummus, and this is the elements that go into it. And you tell Parsley how much hummus that's going to make.

Okay, that is the yield that recipe gives you. So now, if for example, you need four ounces of it, then Parsley knows. How much you need in turn, and obviously you're dealing with larger quantities of that, but how much chickpeas, how much lemons and so forth you're going to need. So that field is taken care of to make sure that you make enough of it.

And then ultimately you have your dish that you're, the package dish. And you know that you need four ounces of this, two ounces of that, three ounces of that, but that's already been yielded for you. So that you make the correct amount. Um,

[00:17:08] Will Schreiber: and then they yielded. And so then is it that the yielded ingredients becomes the nutrition label, right?

It's not the inputs. It's whatever coefficient off the yield is.

[00:17:19] Hava Volterra: Yes, so the yielded raw ingredients, meaning if and onions are not a great example, because they don't have that many calories. But if you're using a pound of chopped onions, but you have to start from 1. 2 pounds the calories we're going to use are for the pound because you throw however, if you then cook it down, let's say saute it down.

So it only weighs a quarter of a pound. It still has all the calories that a pound had. It just lost water. So those things are managed in Parsley. The different, and

[00:17:52] Will Schreiber: this is, I love that you're an engineer. This is the classic case of something that seems simple and you. Reveal it a little bit and it's way more complicated off.

I'm on calls all the time. It's this can't be that hard. And then you actually go to do it. You're like, oh, my God, this gets complicated quickly. That's all really interesting. On the food purchasing piece.

Curious what was my question going to be? You mentioned when you go to actually buy the food. I'm curious, do you guys see kind of efficiency or price gains by working with certain distributors or like more aggregators? Or do you see that it's worth going straight to supplier to order food?

Um, what are like the setups that you see work best for businesses that are trying to scale and get more efficient?

[00:18:39] Hava Volterra: So we deal with businesses that are from really small ones. And what the 1 I have was small, right? 2 huge ones, more than a million meals a week. So we deal with that as well.

And so the parameters are totally different when you're, when you're smaller, and when you're larger, and you need to optimize for what you're doing at the smaller level, and you might find, for example, that you can get your best prices at. Trader Joe's at certain people, at the farmer's market.

It's, and the thing you need to make sure is that you always have the quantity that you need available to you. And you might have to do your own shopping. Now, as you get larger, you may be ordering. So you may be ordering from a broad liner like Cisco or from a specialty provider, specialty produce provider.

There, of course, there's the question of the delivery fees, the minimum orders. These are all things you need to look into. If you will put it into Parsley, you can put multiple supply options. You can immediately see it. Let me just tell you what the cost per pound is so you can compare and then you'll see is the bigger provider better or not.

When you get to really large quantities, then we have capabilities that are, for example, split orders, because then you can get into an issue that 1 provider, even if it's a large provider will not have enough for you and you need to be able to split it. It's a different issue. But generally, there you go.

When I look at prices, I must say, I don't see a huge difference between what. Large customers get from wholesalers and what we get at stores with reasonable pricing. So it has a lot to do with your operations and what works for you.

[00:20:25] Will Schreiber: Yeah, I think on that note, just got a question of at what scale, like meals per week framing, do you recommend switching to a supplier versus just.

In store

[00:20:36] Hava Volterra: shopping. Good question. You know what? I don't think I really have a number there. It depends what you're able to work out. I would off the top of my head, say 500, 1000, but I could be wrong with that.

[00:20:50] Will Schreiber: And we also just had a follow up to what you were saying earlier about the onions.

And I want to clarify the question is raw versus post cook does not have the same macros or calories, right? Once you cook something, it's different than raw and at least I'll let you clarify. But what I heard from you is that, yes, that's true, but it's actually ingredient dependent, right? In an onions case, yeah.

If you caramelize it, you've lost yield on chopping, but actually you're losing water weight. So it's post cook macro change might be different than the example here of a corn kernel versus a corn nut. But curious, your your reaction that, and a chance to answer in terms of how Parsely might handle that.


[00:21:35] Hava Volterra: So first of all, you with all these things, there are certain approximations that you make. The general assumption is. Let's say I've already chopped my onions and I have a pound of chopped onions and its macros are whatever. Let's say a pound of chopped onions, maybe 150 calories. Okay. The assumption is that if I saute it down and take away the oil, or let's say I just add the oil in there, I put in oil, I saute these onions, I have the oil plus the onions.

The macros that the onions contributed are the same. It was 150 calories after I sautéed it was still 150 calories. And you add the oil to it. But if you take away the question of the oil, yeah, you cook it down. It still has the same number of calories. If in chopping it, you threw away 20 percent that you threw away and that's taken away from the macros, but then cooking it down, you retain the macros.

There are all kinds of gotchas here, but these gotchas. Even in the most sophisticated nutrition programs are not really used. So I'll give you a funny gotcha that I happen to know if you eat a raw. Egg and my Italian father did you'd mix them up just like Sylvester Stallone.

And if you remember when he was preparing, he drank raw eggs. You get less calories, a human will get less calories and they do if they cook it. Because the proteins are denatured and we absorb them better, but that is not taken into account in nutrition facts when it's an egg, it's an egg and we don't care if it's cooked or not cooked.

It always gives you the same. Okay, so so the bottom line, you start with your raw ingredient. It has certain macros as long as you didn't throw any of it away after you cook. Did you have the same macros? That's the way it's done. I want to point out when

[00:23:29] Will Schreiber: I hear that. I hear you could almost take into account in the, in your yield coefficient.

If you want to cut down the calories from the raw ingredient, you could set your yield lower instead of being 80%, it might be 70 percent or something like that.

[00:23:45] Hava Volterra: I would imagine. Yeah, but the, yes, yield is used for purchasing also for costing. Yeah, maybe not onions Parsley knows that you're going to buy 1.

25 pounds. So the cost is for 1. 25 pounds. You need to purchase 1. 25 pounds, but the truth is, it works fine. Nutrition facts. We've had many registered dietitians look at it. There's no issue with it. There are 2 features that we add that are significant. 1 is called fat loss percentage. Let's say you take a burger and use.

You saute it or you grill it. You're going to lose some fat. Let's say you lose half of the fat. So actually, it's calories went down because that fat dripped away and you're not serving it. So we give a fat loss percentage that you can use. It's a parameter and that will correct for that fat that you lost and the other thing that we have that's actually unique to Parsley is an uptake percentage.

So let's say that you use a marinade or you cook your pasta in salt water. Not all that salt or all the elements of the marinade go into the finished dish. A lot of it is drained away so that for that to use an uptake percentage. So those things are significant and

[00:25:01] Will Schreiber: very interesting. And while we're talking about ingredients and stuff here's a good question.

How do you manage a situation where you've labeled things like pounds of chicken. But you have to adapt that for a recipe to a case of chicken. For example do you adapt the recipe to follow the case weight? No.

[00:25:22] Hava Volterra: So you wrote the recipe like you want to write the recipe. You can write it in grams.

You can write it in pounds and ounces. Doesn't matter. And in fact, even if you started it in pounds and now you want to change to grams, If you say 1 pound, and then you say, no, change it to grams, it'll automatically say 444 grams or something like that. I'm not sure. So it'll convert it for you. Now, let's say you buy that chicken by the 30 pound case.

That's fine. But you tell Parsley that you're buying it by the 30 pound case with chicken. The price might be by the case, or it might be what's called catch weight. So it's by the pound. So you order 2 cases, but you get a 30 pounds, but you end up getting 62 pounds because, there's variations.

All this doesn't matter. The point is Parsley knows how much it costs per pound. And in your recipe, if you use it by pound, it'll use the cost per pound. If you use by gram, we'll use the cost per gram. Now, when it tells you what, how much you need to purchase, Let's say that you need to purchase 70 pounds, it'll tell you that you need to buy two and a third cases, and then you can determine, do you still have a third or half a case in your fridge?

That's still good. You can use that, but you can make an adjustment. Otherwise you need 3 cases,

[00:26:44] Will Schreiber: right? Yeah. Or maybe if you just dribble over, that's the, all I'll get a pound from retail or something. You can do that for sure. As it relates to shopping for ingredients, how do you go about getting a wholesale shopping license when you're ready to make that transition?

[00:27:03] Hava Volterra: Yeah you need to be a certified food business. So it's a good question. It's not something that I'm an expert on, but I know that we did have a license. We used it for a restaurant depot actually. And you needed a light, you need a license for your business. I think you need to be a certified food handler.

I honestly don't remember the details. Okay.

[00:27:24] Will Schreiber: Maybe maybe chat. GBT knows the answer to that one. Yeah.

[00:27:28] Hava Volterra: And our AI overlords, I think the supplier would know, like they want you as a customer if you're not sure how to get right

[00:27:35] Will Schreiber: or they can Oh, that's a great tip. Yeah. Just ask them how to purchase.

We had a thank you for addressing the scale and food yield from another interested customer. We have talked so much about Parsley in this segment. I think it's a good time to ask this question, which has been sitting. If you could take a minute, who are the top kind of handful or a few comparable companies to what Parsley offers and Why is Parsley better in your mind?

How do you differentiator? Yes,

[00:28:02] Hava Volterra: but, um, this is obviously this is something that customers ask, and I'm in a situation where I actually haven't used any of these other pieces of software. So everything I know is a little bit of here and a little bit of there. But traditionally, there was a company called Chef Tech.

And they're yeah. Quite widely distributed right now, although they're, they've gotten at this point, very long in the tooth, and they're not properly supported. So people just continue using them, but it's don't think a new customer would use them. We're now doing some work with the colleges and universities.

There's a company called Seaboard. They're very large. They they do it, but again they are very large and you're going to want to go to them. If you're very large there is. Just a 2nd there's another name there that I'm blanking on, but also colleges and universities. I don't think it's terribly relevant.

And then there's we do a lot of work with Sodexo and they use something they used in the past, something called FMS. That's I'm not sure that's relevant either. The company that I would say is more in our space today is called Galley. I don't honestly, I don't know much about them.

I do know that they're much more expensive. As far as I know, they do less than us, but you probably want to check. And that's that's it. Oh, there's a company called reciprocity, much older company now acquired. They were acquired by a company that and CRS that makes point of sale systems for grocery stores and grocery stores are actually a big market for us, but, oh, interesting. For the commissaries, they also do prepared meals, catering and support. Yeah,

[00:29:42] Will Schreiber: Cool. That's helpful to hear. Reframe around strategies, I think, for meal delivery businesses and stuff to improve an operation. So I think this is a good question to launch us in that direction.

What are traits or habits or things that you've observed that set the best meal delivery owners apart? If you observed businesses operating on your platform, were there things you noticed of the businesses that did really well were doing these things well? Or the opposite right businesses that struggle to grow or struggle to get profitable can make consistent mistakes in the other direction.

[00:30:18] Hava Volterra: There are, I divide this into 2 at least. two or three different areas. One is, of course the type of food that you make. Let's say this, the chef element is this tasty? How many people like it? Does it fit a market need? So when I say fit a market need, so we've seen customer clients that do very well that are much more keto focused or muscle building focused and so forth.

That is a certain market need. It's a certain nation. If you do well in there, it's. It's a large niche. So there's that, but there's also just good food, right? There's customer service. There's marketing. Those are all things that are not, uh, they're not Parsley, whether or not you use Parsley or any type of software, it doesn't really, that, that's not it.

It's other issues. Now, as far as operations, ultimately you need to be profitable in a competitive business. And to be profitable, you need to price things well. And in order to price things well, you need all the controls that I was talking about before. You need to know how much each recipe is going to cost you each portion.

You want to know that and not without experimenting. You want to know it up front, not after you've run it a few times you want to purchase correctly. You don't want to have in any inventory that goes bad. Ideally, it's all fresh. So purchasing correctly, you also don't want to spend too much time on things like this.

You want to purchase the correct amount. You don't want to run out looking for it. You don't want to spend hours calculating how many chopped onions you need and how much trimmed meat you want it all to because that those are hours you're paying people for. That's that gets into operational efficiencies and we focus on operational efficiencies.

\ Yeah, yeah, that's great. And I'd love in the same vein, I'd love for you to think as as someone who's just seen a lot of these businesses giving some recommendations. So I know you mentioned one challenge. Or just milestone of your own meal business was choosing a facility.

[00:32:18] Will Schreiber: Do you have any tips or advice for people in terms of. Choosing the right kitchen and even down to choosing the right partners, right? Choosing the right suppliers. Do you have advice for. How business they should go about that?

[00:32:31] Hava Volterra: So a lot of this depends so much on where you are in development.

I could tell you for us, it was important. And this is generally true. You need space when you're doing prepared meals. The reason you need space and you need a lot of refrigeration space is because you're actually making large quantities that need to be chilled and packaged. With a restaurant, you may be pushing it out the door, but you can't really do that with prepared meals.

In fact, many prepared meal companies will have A multi day process, so they may do certain prep on day 1, certain on day 2 and certain on day 3. If you're going to do that, you need a lot of cooling walking space. You definitely, you definitely want to go on bigger as far as that goes we always use.

Which is, there's nothing unusual in that, but the, I'm trying to remember what the, it's called, but the trays that bakers use where you can roll in your ,

[00:33:29] Will Schreiber: right? Your, oh yeah. That's escaping me. Yeah, I know what you're talking about. Yeah. Your bud rack, like the stacked, yeah.

[00:33:36] Hava Volterra: Yeah. Your bun racks.

Yeah. So you put everything, you smooth everything out on a bun rack. You push it into the into the walk-in. You're making soups. There are these wands with ice inside that you put inside to chill them because you're making large quantities. You want to make sure it chills fast enough. Plus you just, you're going to need to package it, but also for health reasons, it has to chill fast.

[00:33:57] Will Schreiber: Speaking of refrigeration space, I answered the question here. How do you manage inventory for perishable items? And I think specifically how would you go about making the most of it? If you do have leftovers. How could you figure out a way to reduce waste and make sure you're using up what you've got?

[00:34:14] Hava Volterra: So first of all, specifically for prepared meals, if you know in advance how many you need to make, there should be very little waste. And any ways there is can go into the family meal. You can cook something with it, but there should be very little waste. However, let's say that you do need to keep inventory.

Let's say that you don't know in advance exactly how many meals are going to be ordered. There are standard best practices, first in, first out. So if you're going to use, if you have some broccoli leftover from a few days ago, and you're cooking broccoli today, first thing is use the broccoli that was leftover from a few days ago.

It's no longer good, obviously toss it, but it's always first in first out. So first in means it's the broccoli that was purchased first. You use it first. Those are standard practices, actually no software is really going to solve that for you. You need, it has to do with the way you place things in the walk in and make sure that anything that was, let's say the oldest, of course, you don't want it to be old, but if it's just a few days old just put it in the front.

So it's the first thing people grab. That's just standard good practice. If you buy so much that it's going to go bad before you're able to use it, maybe cook something with it. See if you can sell it in some way. Make a soup, I'm not sure, but I generally don't love that kind of method because it's and maybe because I'm an engineer, but it's less methodical.

And then how are you going to sell it? It's much better not to buy too much from the outset.

[00:35:52] Will Schreiber: Yeah. I think it's interesting. You're bringing up so many, um. Not weaknesses, but challenges specific to meal delivery. They counteract, I think a lot of the advantages, 1 of which is the ability to take pre orders.

Ability to know exactly how much you need to cook. If you're using recipe management, getting really particular on how much of each ingredient you need to buy and being really prepared to try to minimize waste at the outset is probably The best answer because you have a chance to with this business model.

Now, there's disadvantages like things you brought up, like the you need refrigeration space, um, and things like that. But it seems like the best way to manage waste is at the outset and try to get ahead of it.

I am curious your thoughts on kind of the industry at large. I have my own opinions that I think there's some really interesting developments, but I'm curious you have a unique angle into so much of food. How have you seen the meal delivery industry change? I know you've touched on a bit, the diet stuff, but I'm curious from like a business model perspective or challenges operator space, how you've seen.

Things may be evolved in the last decade.

[00:37:02] Hava Volterra: I think the business has gotten a lot more professional. There are bigger players today and it's it's gotten a lot more let's say refined. So one way to say that is segmented, although I don't necessarily think of it that way, but you want to be clear on what it is that you're offering and what it and so that, let's say you're offering a vegan food service.

Some people will specifically want that. Some people specifically not want that, but you're being specific. And in that way, you might actually get more customers because you offer specifically what they want. Within that context, what I'm seeing for smaller companies, if you want to be when you're huge covering the whole US, it's somewhat of a different story, but.

But starting out or medium size being specific is very helpful. To my yeah,

[00:38:01] Will Schreiber: I couldn't agree more with that. I think something Andy and I have observed over many years that. Having a reason to order is going to bring you loyalty, right? Speaking to a particular diet or niche is always really effective.

So that's cool. You've seen the same thing. I'm curious. Do you see that as well beyond meal delivery, like with restaurants and stuff too, or that you think that's a specific trait of successful meal delivery companies?

[00:38:26] Hava Volterra: Look, I think in any definitely in restaurants and food trucks.

Food trucks are food trucks, even more so food truck, you're going to go to food truck and you're going to order and you want to know specifically what they make. There is also the, let's say the cheesecake factory model, which is you want to have something for everyone. Because a family comes in and their kids and their adults and so forth and I can't really say, but maybe that applies to meal delivery services.

Maybe that model works as well. I just and it does work, but you have to be quite big to do that because you need a really big menu offering every week to make that work. You can't be small. If you're doing that. And yeah, that there we're getting very much into questions of marketing.

And I also when you ask me that question, I personalize it. What do I like to go to? And yeah, sometimes I'm specifically interested in a certain type of cuisine but I gravitate towards quality. So you're also going to have that you're going to have people who they're not following a certain diet.

But they want quality. That was what I was pushing in our own business. So we did not do a certain type of diet, but it was certain types of cuisines and the best of those

[00:39:45] Will Schreiber: cuisines. Yeah. Interesting. I think we've answered a lot of questions here. If anyone else has any others while we wrap up, please toss them in.

But as we kind of wrap things up, is there any kind of parting wisdom or party advice or things we haven't touched on? Do you think are helpful to cover in terms of improving kitchen operations and trying to get sharper?

[00:40:08] Hava Volterra: All I would say is that no matter how you run it on the marketing side, the type of cuisine you do having tight operations, doing things cleanly is very important.

It can make or break you right? Because this market is competitive, even if you're. Even if it's, wonderful dishes, if you can't be consistent, if you're spending too much, it's not really going to work. If you can't, if you suddenly flail and you're not able to deliver what was ordered, all those things can spell bad things for your business.

So operations are super important. No matter what.

[00:40:46] Will Schreiber: Yeah, I think that I, that's such a good point. I think it's true because. I'll draw a corollary like software. Our biggest competitor isn't another software platform as much as it's the status quo, right? It's like our competitors, Excel and spreadsheets and manually texting customers.

And I think that's a really important thing for everyone in this world to remember all of us is like we're all battling the status quo. You're fighting people getting takeout from a restaurant or cooking food themselves or doing things that they're currently doing more than you're fighting them to switch from a different meal delivery company to you.

And I think to beat the status quo, you need to be excellent. At at the operations and to, be there for people when they're ready to give you a shot. ,

[00:41:35] Hava Volterra: go ahead. Oh I just want to say that when you asked the question about competitors, I'm not sure why I didn't. Bring that up, because most of the businesses I see out there are using spreadsheets and I always wonder how they managed to get along with that.

And it's clear to me that they're definitely losing a lot of time and probably losing money doing that. But it is, you are battling the status quo. There's no question about it.

[00:42:02] Will Schreiber: You totally are. All right. A few people have asked a question. I've replied, but I'll say email me if you'd like to get in touch with Hava.

We definitely recommend Parsley. We have a lot of customers who use them and drop our reports into their backend, no problem. And it's definitely an important piece of the operation here. So happy to chat about anything we've discussed and go farther and please get in touch. And we love to continue the conversation offline.

In general on these coffee chats would love feedback. So if there's topics you'd like to hear about if there's comments around this session email me, email Andy. Get in touch. We'd love to hear from you. We'd love to invite guests that, that present topics and insight the way Hava has that are relevant to you and help you run a better business.

So thanks so much to everybody who joined live, we'll be posting the recording of this. We'll post a link to Parsley and if there's anything else anyone needs, please get in touch. Otherwise hope everyone has a great day and thank you so much for joining. This was this was really helpful.

[00:43:06] Hava Volterra: Thank you. Thanks for inviting me.

[00:43:08] Will Schreiber: Absolutely. Have a great day.

[00:43:10] Hava Volterra: You too. Bye.