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Eat Fit Go opened seven stores in less than a year

Eating healthy can be a challenge given the time and expense required for buying and preparing nutritious meals. Omaha-based startup Eat Fit Go is on a mission to change that.

“Our goal is to provide healthy, high-quality food at a reasonable price,” said Sam Vakhidov, CEO and Co-Founder. “I think we’re the fastest-growing healthy food concept in the country.”

The rapid growth of Eat Fit Go stores backs up that claim. Recent openings in Sioux City, Iowa and Overland Park, Kansas bring the total to seven in less than a year.

“We have ten more opening between now and January 1, with quite a few more in the pipeline,” Vakhidov said. “We do it better than anybody else.”

Quality and customer service

Eat Fit Go places a premium on quality and customer service.

“We take pride in our preparation techniques to provide the highest quality,” Vakhidov said. “Attention to detail, taking care of our ingredients, and great customer service.”

Quality control is maintained by preparing meals fresh daily in corporate-owned kitchens, then shipping to restaurant locations in temperature-controlled vehicles.

“Our Omaha kitchen will be USDA-certified in Q1 of 2017,” Vakhidov said. “Those are the highest food safety standards in the restaurant industry.”

E-commerce and mobile app

In addition to brick-and-mortar locations, Eat Fit Go is working on an e-commerce platform and mobile app.

“We basically want to have healthy food available and accessible anywhere in the country,” Vakhidov said. “We’re working with food technology to extend a fresh product 15 days by vacuum packing.”

Online ordering and meal delivery will leverage the company’s existing infrastructure for delivery to retail locations.

“We produce and package all the food, and we have the vehicles to transfer,” Vakhidov said. “Now we add another piece to do delivery.”

If you’ve ever seen a Schwan’s truck in your neighborhood, you get the idea.

“But we’re more catered to your needs,” Vakhidov said. “A delivery person educated in the product they’re selling, everything done based on your goals and necessities for the week.”

Plans for the mobile app include integrating with wearable devices to monitor calorie output and making meal recommendations based on an individual’s fitness goals.

“Eat based on your needs,” Vakhidov said. “If you’re trying to lose weight, the app will give you options from your meal inventory in a particular calorie range.”

Disrupting the catering industry

Vakhidov is also hoping to disrupt the catering industry.

“We are really working hard to change the way people use catering,” he said. “With us you can order anything off the menu, and every person can get an individualized meal based on their likes.”

This is a departure from other catering operations that charge based on head count and deliver in bulk requiring people to go through a line.

“You have to make sure you buy enough, and people have to go through the line,” Vakhidov said. “The last part – the worst part – is cleaning up.”

Franchising opportunities

Although Eat Fit Go is not aggressively promoting it, there are franchising opportunities. Most of these develop through referrals.

“We look for people who really believe in the concept,” Vakhidov said. “We want to align ourselves with like-minded people.”

Vakhidov said they have more franchising opportunities than they can deal with, partly due to how easy it is to operate a franchise.

“Franchising is super simple,” he said. “Think of owning a restaurant but not having to deal with the food. Your job is running the front of the store.”

By controlling food production at the corporate level, quality and consistency is ensured at each location.

“In order for us to offer high quality to our customers at a reasonable price, we have to do everything at scale,” Vakhidov said. “You have the same experience at each location because corporate controls the kitchens.”