Work and Money
She’s Changing the Food-Delivery Game, One Home-Cooked Meal at a Time
After working a full day, putting dinner on the table can be challenging even for those who love to cook. While companies such as Home Chef, Blue Apron, and Hello Fresh deliver ingredients and recipes, they still require meal prep and time. To help those who want a home-cooked meal, but don't have the time or desire to cook, Heidi Finley created Maven Meals — a Seattle-based company that delivers fully prepared, home-cooked meals to local doorsteps.
From an early age, Finley had a knack for cooking and would often plan her family’s meals and grocery lists. “My passion for food continued to grow, and during graduate school, I was asked by a classmate if I would prep meals for her family,” Finley tells CircleAround. “I agreed, on the condition that my friend find at least a half dozen families who were also interested to make it worth my while.”
Finley worked for various families for nine months before officially launching Maven Meals. Initially, she was doing everything on her own — planning menus, buying ingredients, preparing the food, packaging it, and delivering it to her customers. Today, her main role is working on business development and strategic planning, while focusing on logistics and operations.
High-End Ingredients, Low Maintenance
Most, if not all, Maven Meals are designed to be eaten with little to no preparation, outside of heating up in the oven or microwave. The menus change weekly and include everything from oatmeal and egg dishes for breakfast, soups, salads and sandwiches for lunch, and dinner meals like Bengali chicken with roasted vegetables and spaghetti squash burrito bowls. All are made to provide a healthier alternative to takeout and allow busy people the chance to enjoy tasty, fresh ingredients with low maintenance on their end.
“The most exciting/rewarding moments in my career have actually been through the pandemic,” Finley explains. “As a meal-delivery company, we had a tremendous opportunity to play a key role in helping people stay home and stay healthy by avoiding the grocery store. It was so inspiring to see our whole team rise to the challenge of maintaining operations with consistent quality as business doubled nearly overnight.”
Maven Meals has restructured its business model to prioritize and serve both local healthcare workers and other local businesses. “From mid-March through the first of June, we produced and delivered over 8,100 meals to healthcare workers, as well as partnered with local businesses who lost their distribution channels due to the pandemic,” she adds.
They created a partnership model for businesses, as well. “We started selling their products through our site and have directed over $20,000 back into the local business community.”
Finley has been able to provide quality service and maintain her business in these uncertain times, and the rewards certainly outweigh the challenges. She loves hearing about how Maven Meals has helped all kinds of people, from cancer patients who don't have the energy to cook to new parents who don't have time to cook to grown kids who want to send meals to their aging parents.
“I truly believe that you are only limited by your imagination for what you can accomplish if you are willing to work hard and be brave enough to admit when you need help,” Finley tells CircleAround. “One of the things that has helped keep me grounded and moving forward when things get overwhelming is something my dad always said to me when I was growing up. In those situations he would always ask, ‘Heidi, how do you eat an elephant?’ And I would reply as he taught me: ‘One bite at a time.’ Such a simple question, but one that always helps me stop and breakdown the tasks at hand so I can start checking things off my list.”