Industry

Meal Delivery

Client

Timeline

December 2018 - July 2019

INTRODUCTION

Toronto-based Honey Bee Meals help busy people eat well and thrive by delivering meals packed with taste and nutrition. Here’s how the seamless hybrid of ecommerce and logistics technologies help.

Health and fitness start with diets. Anyone who has tried to improve their physical and mental health would begin by assessing activity levels and what they eat.

Yet, for really busy people who’re time- and energy-starved, getting enough exercise is difficult, let alone prepare healthy meals at least three times a day. And as people grow in sophistication and knowledge about human nutrition and meal planning, their demand for better food and physical performance also increases.

Toronto-based Honey Bee Meals help busy people eat well and thrive. The food business delivers freshly prepared and hand-crafted meals packed with taste and nutrition.

Surprisingly, this started by chance. “It was accidental. This started four years ago,” says Amy who owns and runs Honey Bee Meals. What started from her parents’ kitchen is now thriving as one of the top meal delivery options in Toronto.

GETTING STARTED WITH MEAL DELIVERY

“I was an NCAA athlete. After graduating from university I went back to school for nutrition,” Amy shares.

It was a two-year online program and she also worked on a personal training certificate. By the time Amy started Honey Bee Meals, she had become a certified Holistic and Sports nutritionist and also a CrossFit-L2 trainer.

“Then, I started posting my meals on Instagram. Some clients I was coaching for nutrition then started asking me about my meals,” Amy shares.

However, she soon found out that her clients didn’t have the time nor energy to meal prep for health and performance.

So, Amy started cooking at her clients’ house for meal prep. Then, as her operations grew, she moved to her parents’ house. Of course, even that became unsustainable after a while.

“I needed to start hiring chefs and delivery riders,” says Amy.

She now works with a team of cooks to produce a sustainable supply of healthy and nutrient-dense meals with stringent standards, using local produce whenever possible.

Honey Bee Meals
Honey Bee Meals
Honey Bee Meals
Honey Bee Meals

THRIVING THROUGH TECHNOLOGY

Now, Honey Bee Meals complete hundreds of deliveries for thousands of meals every week.

“Our food stays fresh for three days,” Amy says. “We always service deliveries twice a week and produce for two days. Our cycle’s cook and deliver, cook, and deliver.”

At the start, Amy had to print orders manually to know what to put in everyone’s’ bags and highlight relevant orders in different colors.

“I called that my hours and hours of ‘arts and crafts,’” she laughs.

As Honey Bee Meals thrived, Amy started looking into improvements for her business. “I identify with a lot of operational issues that have been solved by technology,” she shares.

ORDER AND DELIVERY MANAGEMENT

Shopify is the ecommerce platform upon which Honey Bee Meal’s website is built. The platform helps customers order meals seamlessly, and also allowed Amy to do some coding herself and make customizations. She also started using Routific, a routing software for deliveries, and worked with their head of logistics.

The two software platforms operated separately. This meant that Amy had to export data from Shopify and import it into Routific - and pray that it worked.

But sometimes the data transfer didn’t work out and more often than not, Amy had to manually intervene. Her precious time was eaten up by tedious work: converting rows of Shopify data on Excel into a format suitable for Routific.

On top of taking up hours of her time which could be spent on meal preps or better recipes, it meant that there was a possibility of human error. A single error could mean lots of angry customers, messed up meals, and wrong deliveries.

HOW AFI LABS INTEGRATED ROUTIFIC WITH SHOPIFY FOR BETTER ORDER MANAGEMENT

Thankfully, “Afi Labs helped us navigate some challenges, such as integrating Shopify with the Routific platform” Amy says.

Responding to this problem of seamless data transfer, Afi Labs built an integration so that Honey Bee Meals could send customer address data from Shopify into Routific automatically. What took hours now took seconds. More importantly, she could import the addresses back to Shopify in route optimal order so that her staff could load the meals from first stop to last, so that her drivers would not need to scramble to find the customer’s order when they arrive at an address.

Amy explains: “We have orders coming in every week, and they change. Order data needs to be sent to the kitchen so the cooks know what to make. The same data needs to be sent to the delivery software to be routed. There are lots of things that need to talk to each other seamlessly without us humans inputting stuff!”

PROVIDING GREAT CUSTOMER SUPPORT

Another area where technology helps Honey Bee Meals is in providing great customer support.

Amy’s team receives a lot of questions and fielding them is a challenge, especially when there are so many channels of communication. Customers could make enquires via text, email, Instagram, or Facebook.

“Making sure we are on top of everything and that everyone is happy is a big challenge every day,” Amy says. “We’re in the service business - we serve people.”

With Afian and his team’s help, Amy could now field questions more effectively.

For instance, the website now has a postal code lookup. This means customers can find out themselves if Honey Bee Meals deliver to their area. “That’s eliminating some customer service inquiries,” Amy says.

AN ESSENTIAL PART OF LIFE

Despite COVID-19, Amy and her team are doing fine.

“We’re an essential business which means we can still cook and deliver,” Amy says.

“We’re thankful to provide good and healthy food that people can order from the safety of their homes.”

Her team has been hit by supply chain issues around herbs and vegetables they use for nutritious meals, but they are keeping an eye on potential shortages.

One obstacle is that they couldn’t reuse cooler bags for deliveries due to the virus. To stay cautious yet environmentally conscious, they’ve switched to one-time recyclable paper bags and stuck with compostable packaging.

The company eventually plans to expand to deliver to other areas, but are now focusing on providing the best food they can in areas they service.

The team’s north star? “The goal is to help people around the city and sooner, around the country eat better food, feel good about themselves physically and emotionally and their performance,” Amy says.

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Vancouver

ADDRESS

595 Burrard Street
Vancouver,
BC V7X1L4
Canada

MAIL

[email protected]

PHONE

+1 415-802-2286

Singapore

ADDRESS

12 Marina Boulevard
Marina Bay Financial Center Tower 3,
Level 17-01
Singapore 018982

MAIL

[email protected]

PHONE

+65 6241-3013