Baker moved back home, liquidated his 401k, and combined it with his savings to provide the initial $15,000 needed to fund his business venture. Throughout our conversation, I noticed a common theme: sacrifice. That’s what it ultimately takes to be a successful entrepreneur, and Baker seems to be no stranger to it.
Starting Moon Meals was far from easy; Baker admits he had his fair share of naysayers after quitting his stable corporate job. Friends and family members questioned his decision. It wasn’t until he landed his first big 800-meal catering order from a Fortune 500 global commercial real estate firmÂ that they started to believe he and his small Moon Meals team were onto something.
Moon Meals later received capital from an angel investor; the company was also able to secure a business loan.
For those entrepreneurs seeking funding of any kind, Baker has this to say: “You have to put skin in the game starting off, because no one is going to give you money unless you’re already making money.â€
Since 2012, Moon Meals has grown by 125%, the company reports, and has added another business unit, retail wholesale of its shelf-stable menu items, like its wildly popular vegan burrito which is available in local Chicago coffee shops and cafes.
Just how did Moon Meals secure such big wins and gain momentum?
The secret to Moon Meals’ success is Baker’s acute attention to taste, quality, and customer service. Because he’s an athlete, Baker considers food fuel, but taste does not have to play second fiddle.
Mostly serving mid-size to large corporate clients in marketing, law, finance, healthcare, technology, and education, Moon Meals prides itself on serving fresh, healthy, high-quality food that is flavor-infused, without unhealthy amounts of salt and sugar.
That means much of the meat on the menu is organic, non-GMO, and free-range. There’s also tasty vegan and gluten-free options; and the company is earnest about sourcing locally as much as possible. And while “qualityâ€ and “tasteâ€ are relative terms in the food service industry, every entree on Moon Meals’ menu has been reviewed by a nutritionist (nutrition facts and ingredients are displayed conspicuously on its website); and its recipes have been perfected by a Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef.
Each meal comes with an entree, a side, a dessert, and a drink for a flat fee, which includes delivery. Customers can choose from delicious offerings, including zesty Southwest fajitas, vegan burritos, spinach wraps, stir fries, and Moon Meals’ top-selling smokehouse burger.
Baker also emphasizes that Moon Meals provides value in a market that’s saturated with cheap options. The company’s kitchen (used only for preparing orders) is strategically located just outside downtown Chicago, near the United Center where the Chicago Bulls and Blackhawks play. The company operates on a “just-in-time delivery” method, requiring clients with catering orders of 10 or more meals to place them 48 hours in advance. This notice allows Baker and his team to create every meal fresh and to eliminate food waste.
Baker also believes that superior customer service has been a key to his success. He takes a hands-on approach with Moon Meals’ corporate clients, doing everything he can to ensure that the entire process from ordering until the time of delivery is as smooth and delightful as possible. He says customer service has been key in allowing Moon Meals to secure a long list of big-name corporate clients, even as a small startup.
More on Moon Meals’ founder’s advice on how to reach success on the next page …