Software for meal prep business what to look for? - part 1

Mike Wojewoda
CEO, Co-Founder
10 min

How to choose software for meal prep business?

This question is asked by both catering companies that are just starting their business and those that are not satisfied with the currently used solution and are looking for other options. In this article, we will suggest what to pay attention to when deciding on the choice of a system for dietary catering. If you already know exactly what you need and what functions are offered by modern solutions available on the market, you can skip straight to the second part of the article - Selection of software for dietary catering - available solutions.

What software do I need to run a meal prep/meal plan business?

If you want to professionally run a meal prep business in the very competitive market, from the software point of view you need to think about the following elements:

Online store for ordering meal plans with payment support

The online store is an essential element to attract new customers for your meal prep company. Most marketing activities will direct potential customers to the website of the online store, regardless of whether it is a Facebook campaign, Google AdWords, cooperation with brand ambassadors, or other sales activities. The task of the online store is to acquire a customer and place the first order.

The online store should enable:

  • Choice of meal plan
  • Choice of type of meals and portion size (calorific value)
  • Selection of order days in the calendar
  • Selection of add-ons (upselling)
  • Entering customer data (creating an account)
  • Enter the delivery address and additional information needed by the deliveries (intercom code, staircase, floor, where to leave the package, delivery hours, etc.)
  • Online payment support
  • Support for promotions and discounts for the length of the order, several meal plans to the same address, discount codes, referral links, and test orders
  • Support for a loyalty program that allows customers to collect points for each order and activity performed in the system, such as meal evaluation or completing a surveys
  • Support for exclusions (dislikes)
  • Preview of delivery areas on the map
  • Menu preview and meal choices for the current/next week for each meal plan
  • Contact the company via chat, email, phone

Website panel and mobile applications for the clients to manage the meal plans

The characteristics of the meal plan service require the client to be provided with tools for convenient management of the purchased diet and quick extension of orders. The goal is to retain a customer once acquired as long as possible and to automate customer service through self-service channels available online 24 hours a day. In particular, it is worth paying attention to the iOS and Android mobile applications, because nowadays most meal prep customers are technologically aware people who value their time and expect that they will be able to manage their meal plan at any time and from anywhere directly from their phone.

The mobile application for the client should provide the following features:

  • Convenient and quick extension of the meal plan
  • Online payments, in particular, Google Pay and Apple Pay methods native to a given operating system and local popular methods
  • Menu preview
  • Meal ratings
  • Selection of meals for a given day, if such an option is provided by the meal prep company
  • Changing the delivery address for the selected day
  • Rescheduling delivery to another day
  • Exclusion and dislikes management, if meal prep business provides such an option
  • Notifications about the consumption of meals time
  • Notifications about an order ending
  • Loyalty program
  • Quick Contact with the company
  • Calorie Demand Calculator to help you choose the right diet

Although most major software providers for meal prep businesses offer mobile applications for customers, they differ dramatically in quality and functional scope. Before choosing a software provider, it is worth checking individual mobile applications yourself, paying attention to the average user ratings in the App Store and Google Play, as well as comments. The NutriBot application is unrivaled when it comes to the average customer rating and features offered.

NutriBot for Android phones on Google Play
NutriBot for iOS phones in the App Store

CRM / ERP software for meal prep business

The previously described elements of the system were intended for meal prep customers. At this point, we will focus on the software that will be used by the entire company team, i.e. a CRM class system (Customer Relationship Management), and in fact more of the ERP (Enterprise Resources Planning) class, because the most advanced solutions available on the market, such as NutriBot, are used for comprehensive enterprise management and include the most important processes and resources in meal plan business, such as sales, finances, marketing, accounting, logistics, menu planning (diet module), production (kitchen and packaging), warehouse, reporting, and analysis.

A characteristic feature of the ERP class system is the work on one database by all users of the system. In practice, this means full automation of processes and flawless flow of information in the company. Data entered in one area of the system is immediately visible to other users of the system. For example, a new order placed by a customer on a website results in:

  • When paying for an online order, the real-time payment gateway confirms that the funds have been credited to the account and the order is immediately accepted for execution
  • The shopping list for the day is updated
  • The list of dishes to be prepared for a given day is updated (reports for the kitchen and weights of meals to be packed)
  • The list of deliveries for the day for couriers is updated
  • A sequence of automatic actions addressed to the customer is initiated, such as sending a welcome email, order summary, sending a link to download the mobile application, reminders to extend the order
  • The order is visible in reports and analyses available to the manager and/or company owner
  • Customer service immediately sees the new order, all customer context, and the history of all activities

The most advanced ERP class solutions available on the global market, such as NutriBot, have functions addressing all business processes that take place in each meal prep business. The most important functions include:

  • Customer management
  • Order management
  • Issuing invoices
  • Operation history
  • Potential customers
  • Customer segmentation
  • Order heatmap
  • Management of meal plan, meal types, portion sizes, add-ons
  • Price list of meal plans and add-ons
  • Database of ingredients
  • Database of recipes
  • Creating menus
  • Shopping list
  • Kitchen reports
  • Packing reports
  • Food container report
  • Food cost report
  • Exclusion (dislikes) reports
  • Management of delivery areas and drivers
  • List of packages to be delivered for couriers
  • Management of promotions
  • Discount codes
  • Affiliates and referral links
  • Loyalty program
  • News
  • Surveys
  • Meal Ratings
  • Sending e-mails, SMS, and PUSH messages to customers
  • Printing labels for bags and boxes
  • Menu printing
  • Integrations with external systems
  • Advanced parameterization and system configuration

Mobile application for deliveries

This point does not apply to meal plan companies using only the services of external companies that deliver packages to customers. In such cases, it is sufficient to generate a file in Microsoft Excel format containing the addresses of customers who ordered the meal plan in the system and transfer it to the courier company.

However, if you employ your own drivers or use a hybrid solution consisting in using your own drivers in the area of ​​the meal prep company headquarters and an external company for deliveries in the area beyond the reach of your own drivers, a mobile application for drivers will be very helpful, thanks to which couriers will have easy and quick access to the route and key information for each delivery.

In the mobile application, the driver receives real-time access to the following information and functions:

  • Packages to be delivered on a given day in the form of a list and a map
  • Navigation to a selected address
  • Full delivery details for each package (address, delivery times, staircase, floor, intercom code, etc.)
  • The ability to call the customer with one click
  • Marking packages as delivered
  • Confirming package delivery by taking a photo with your phone
  • Record time and detailed GPS location of delivery
  • Accepting cash payments
  • Ability to add a note by the courier to each delivery
  • PUSH notifications for the customer informing about the completed delivery
  • Tracking the GPS location of the courier in real time

Additional services for meal prep company

In addition to the software itself, some providers, such as NutriBot, offer a package of complementary services including:

  • Creating menus
  • Website positioning, Facebook and Google advertising, social media support
  • Creating a meal prep company website (landing page)
  • Data migration from another system or Excel sheets
  • Consulting and training

Now that you know what to expect from the meal prep software, it's time to review the solutions available on the market. We invite you to read the second part of the article:

Software for meal prep business - Part 2: Available solutions

Mike Wojewoda
CEO, Co-Founder

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Software for meal prep business - Part 2: Available solutions

In this part, we will focus on the analysis of available solutions, paying attention to the pros and cons of each approach.
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