on orders over $30
on orders over $30 (does not include posters)
One of the frequent questions (critiques) we hear from other business owners and an occasional customer is, "why don't you outsource your delivery to Grub Hub or Uber Eats? It would be so much cheaper!"
Cheaper monetarily, yes. But dramatically more expensive in terms of the lost interaction and relationship with our customers.
When we started Dorothy's Power Foods, we considered many different ways of operating the company. In making these decisions, we vetted them by the principles of our company and my Mom's 9 rules. It led us to these structures in our business model, which we believe will be more cost-effective in the long run.
One choice we made was how to manufacture our product. One option frequently used in the food industry is using what are called "co-packers." These are contract food manufacturers that make food for other companies. When we considered our small batches, frequent runs, and need for flexibility, that just wouldn't work for us. We found a shared kitchen that allowed us to have all of those benefits at a very reasonable price, and we are entirely in control of the process. Ultimately, we'll have our own facility and cooking staff, but for now, this arrangement works out perfectly for us.
Another decision was around how we deliver our product. Our options were delivering our product to customers ourselves or outsourcing it to a company like Uber Eats or GrubHub. We chose to deliver ourselves because it provided a window into our customers' lives. There is nothing like seeing your customers face-to-face, hearing their stories, making them smile. And the payback is tremendous. Customers express to us frequently how much they appreciate what we're doing and the effort we put into serving them.
On the surface, it may seem expensive. But we've learned that while it does cost slightly more monetarily to deliver ourselves, it's way less costly in terms of the social capital we create. Someone delivering another company's product to you just doesn't care as much as someone who is part of a company that cares about its employees, customers, and community. And a significant aspect of the era we live in is that I have access to all the same technology that large companies do. I can plan, make, track, and deliver my product with the same capability, and I can guarantee you my cost is much less because of the minimal overhead we have.
But even more important is the ability to build relationships. When we can talk to our customers directly, see them face-to-face, work around their schedules, it creates an exceptional bond, and it's priceless. People trust when you believe you have their best interest at heart, and our approach allows us to show that to them.
It would be easy to buy larger boxes, add insulation, and put some frozen gel packs to leave our product on porches for up to 24 hours. It would simplify our lives, but it goes against everything we believe in. You may have spent time on our site. One of our desires is to ultimately be a zero-waste company not only in our internal operations but also in our interactions with our customers. That's possible with the boxes (100% recyclable) and insulation (if it's paper-based), but let's talk about gel-packs. They may claim they are non-toxic (to humans) and are biodegradable, but that doesn't mean they are good for the environment. Biodegradable simply means the material breaks down; it does not mean the material is safe for the environment. Many of these packs or their liquid contents end up in a landfill, which really bothers us.
So we decided instead to work around our customers' schedules and deliver it when someone is home, rather than adding all those materials and creating waste. We've built that into our financial models, so the pricing of our products reflects that, and as you can see, our pricing is still very affordable ($4 a serving for our 10-serving option). Part of that is because we seek to earn a profit, but a reasonable one. We're pleased to give up some profit to be able to personally deliver and not use more packaging than needed.
We are not, as they say, traditional. Our focus is on building social capital (profit is part). When we do that, intending to improve humankind somehow, we're good. We're not worried about getting a more giant pile of money, acquiring more things, or being well known. We're concerned about ensuring the next generations have a healthy, happy, safe world to live in. If we can contribute to that somehow, we've done good work.