When constructing a list of things that people need to know about a company, it is important to be balanced and present both the good and bad sides of the business. It’s true that many opinions are biased; people either will swear by it or swear at it. This is especially true when it comes to the food industry, as people don’t want to spend a lot of money for something they don’t like. But there is also the company and its management to consider, as a well=managed company will tend to always make things better over time. With this in mind, take your time and browse through these 20 things about Blue Apron that will either make you want to try it or want to give their competitors a try out.
1. It’s a service that restores your family to the dinner table.
With the crazy lifestyles of many teens and adults, there has been much discussion about families sitting down together for a meal. Fast food is the fast choice, but with Blue Apron you will find the family back together – at least for a short while. One reason is that reheated Blue Apron food is a contradiction in terms simply because that is not the way it is created. Fresh is one of its major selling points, and everyone will prefer to have a family sitdown having a freshly cooked meal instead of leftovers.
2. The company was named for a long standing chef’s tradition.
Though Blue Apron has been around for a number of years, its name comes from the tradition of beginner cooks wearing a blue apron to identify themselves as such. But what is really behind the name is that the brand encourages people to get back to home cooking. Even if you have never cooked before, Blue Apron has step-by-step instructions complete with photos. A blue apron is not included, though it would be a great marketing idea for new customers.
3. You will need a variety of cookware to make your culinary dream come true.
To balance things out, one of the more common criticisms is that a large number of their recipes require using a lot of cookware and dishes. This is understandable since people generally don’t like doing dishes. However, the brand name suggests that this service is for cooks, not microwave heroes. That said, one of the reasons there are so many dishes is because they offer a unique approach to cooking, and being able to remove the blue apron does have its requirements. If you have an automatic dishwasher (or several not-so-reluctant children) then the dishes are not a major obstacle to giving the service a try.
4. It is a service that will get your family cooking.
This is to be taken in the literal sense. It has been said that making home meals can be the most important factor that contributes to a family’s health and general well-being. But even if you’re single this is true. Blue Apron meals are a simple way to slow down your day and eat a healthy meal. You can have your days of fast food or going out to restaurants (more on this later) but most people can benefit from shifting down a gear or two and eating healthy.
5. Blue Apron’s CEO was a co-founder of petridish.org.
Chances are you have never heard of petridish.org but it isn’t a website that has anything to do with growing molds or fungi – well, almost. Back in 2012, CEO Matt Salzberg and Ilia Papas collaborated to start the website which was created to help researchers have their scientific research projects crowdfunded. Rather than compete with many of the other crowdfunding platforms that catch the eye of the general public, pertidish.org stands as one of the few platforms that serves a niche market and is likely to help create a safer and healthier living environment.
6. The co-founder of Blue Apron is an actual chef.
Fortunately for its customers, Blue Apron was not started by a business entrepreneur who saw the opportunity to make money. Chef Matt Waidak along with Matt Salzberg and Papas who together co-founded the business. The idea came when Waidak was wondering what happens to recipes that were once used, then never seen again. Original cooking creations take a lot of time and money to become reality, and both men thought this was a waste of a lot of things. What was not a surprise was that they were not the only ones to see the problem, so they decided to do something about it.
7. The recipes are created for the person who is interested in trying new things.
While McDonald’s has their menu, Blue Apron has a wide variety of selections that change on a regular basis. A couple was overheard asking what they want for dinner tonight. The answer was a not surprising, “I don’t know.” The thing is, they were in a grocery store! Blue Apron is an answer to the question that makes sense. If you are someone who searches for healthy and interesting supper alternatives, Blue Apron was created for you. It also helps you not to think about answering the question, and when you do stop in at an Arby’s their menu may actually seem to give you choices.
8. You don’t have to love cooking but you do have to cook.
The company realizes that not everyone even wants to think about donning a blue apron, and another common complaint is that you actually have to cook the food (instead of throwing it in the microwave). Time seems to be the biggest reason not to cook, as the 30 – 45 minute meal requires preparation time, cooking time, and cleaning up time. That’s fair enough. But from a healthy eating perspective it is more of the rule than the exception that healthy eating requires some amount of preparation. The recipes are relatively simple to assemble, and quite frankly Blue Apron couldn’t have made things any easier.
9. The company uses a different measurement of success.
Blue Apron’s value has been staked at $2 billion or more. They claim to be able to deliver to 80 percent of the population of the United States, a figure that is amazing. But here’s the point. That 80 percent is not a measurement of geographical area, say 80 percent of the state of New York, but 80 percent of all the people living in New York regardless of where they live. This is a sign of a well-run and well-organized business that has executed its business plan effectively amid growing competition.
10. The CEO used to run the Harvard laundry service.
Maybe not the highest qualification for starting a business in the food industry, but Salzberg won the Manager of the Year award for his efficient operation of the laundry service. As it turns out, he would also graduate from Harvard with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics summa cum laude (highest honors) and a Harvard MBA five years later. He also served on the school’s Board of Directors for Student Agencies, laying a foundation for his future managerial skills.
11. Salzberg was no stranger to startups when he took on the Blue Apron concept.
With any company it helps to know that the person (or people) at the helm have some clue as to what they are getting into. Beyond just his Harvard education, Salzberg took his economics education and connected with a venture capital group that specialized in healthcare, retail, and information systems. All of these helped him to understand the business side of entrepreneurship. Added to that was his experience with tech startups such as those in the digital and mobile sectors, and that created the recipe needed to launch Blue Apron with two other people who were specialists in their own right.
12. Blue Apron gives you a selection of meals to choose from.
The business is not about delivering food to your door but changing your lifestyle to cook at least one meal a day. Variety is always an issue, as well as one’s personal palate, so you get a minimum of four recipe options every week. There are a variety of plans to choose from, so there is a multiplier effect. Remember that there are many recipes that would otherwise have found their way to the dumpster if it weren’t for Blue Apron giving other people the opportunity to try them out. As time goes on you will know your personal favorites and make those your default recipes.
13. The service has been criticized for being too expensive, and unusable for many people.
Blue Apron requires a number of collaborations and food sources to make its service viable. In other words, the criticism may be justified if you are only looking at things from a price perspective. There’s the purchasing of the ingredients, followed by the packaging and shipping. That is what is basically required to get the product to your door. Then there are the recipe creations and instructions that are at the heart of the service. Yes, all of this costs money and may be beyond what some people can afford. But given what you get for what you pay, the service is fairly priced. Plus, you are not cornered into buying something every week.
14. Their meal plans are both flexible and optional.
First, you don’t need to place an order every week. In fact, you can skip ordering for several consecutive weeks without worrying about having to go through the process of starting up the service all over again. How many weeks? Up to 5 at a time. You can also cancel at any time. The company is not interested in having customers strain their budgets nor are they interested in selling you something you don’t want. So if you want to binge on fast food or carry out for a while, Blue Apron will still be there when you’ve had your fill.
15. Blue Apron management believes in the power of innovation.
Innovation is often seen as changing things but Blue Apron’s CEO adds the concept of being diverse in the way one thinks. Before there can be innovation there must be a thought process that addresses a specific problem that needs to be solved. Blue Apron was created using this very principle, and it continues to look for new ways to make their product and their service better. Despite increased competition, the company has continued to grow and innovate to the advantage of its customers.
16. Environmentalists are concerned about the amount of waste that goes with the service.
The primary focus of the criticism is all the packaging that comes to your door. There is the box, then the individual packaging inside of the box, and then there are freezer packs to keep the fresh food fresh and the frozen food frozen. If this were to happen once a month it wouldn’t be a problem, but one or two boxes or more of food mounts up, including what to do with all those freezer packs. Part of the reason for all the packaging is every ingredient is packed separately to avoid having flavors mixed and ruining the quality of the final result. Still, there does seem to be room to improve their packaging methods and reduce the amount of potential plastic waste.
17. Going from packaging to the completed meal takes many steps, making the process more of a project than a simple meal.
This is one of those things where there are two sides of the story. Since you are likely to have only heard one, we’ll give you both here. On the complainer end they maintain that 20 steps or more to go from start to finish is way too many. There is a difference between easy and frustrating, and Blue Apron’s recipes are in the latter group. But remember the purpose of Blue Apron is to get you started to learn how to cook. The company likely doesn’t expect you to be a Blue Apron customer for life since you’ll learn to do things on your own, know what you like, and know what to shop for when you go to the grocery store. You will develop shortcuts on your own and be able to significantly reduce the number of steps. Blue Apron was never intended to be addictive.
18. It’s convenient.
This has to be included in the “don’t knows” because between the general perception of the service and the frequent criticisms it’s easy to lose the obvious in your line of sight. Everyone pays for convenience (think 7-11 prices) but what was pointed out earlier was that deciding what to make for supper, or any meal for that matter, can take up more time than is necessary. For people whose lives are time compressed yet are focused on a healthy lifestyle, Blue Apron is actually very convenient. And when it comes to waste, the only waste of food you will have is what you don’t eat. Less garbage, more convenience.
19. It’s not for everybody.
This is a catch-all list item that covers several issues. First, it may be beyond the budget of many people, but this is often true if their diets aren’t what they should be anyway. At McDonald’s $6 will get you a 10 piece McNugget, medium fries, and a fountain drink. If that’s healthy eating then Blue Apron is not for you. Another issue is the amount of time it takes, which is reasonable. Only 30 – 45 minutes a meal and you are eating. If that amount of time seems excessive, then Blue Apron is not for you. As much as the company would like your business, they are not in the business of trying to be all things to all people.
20. The company’s hiring policies will often leave positions unfilled.
This last point is representative of the service the company offers as well as how it makes business decisions. They no more want to hire the wrong person than they do selling their service to a customer who isn’t truly interested in what they offer. This translates into: the more they watch their money, the more they are watching out for the customer’s money as well.
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker