Ex-City lawyer delivering you food
When Jared Williams left his City legal job at 2 yrs pqe, he set up Fresh Fitness Food with the aim of being “the number 1 choice in London for those looking to transform themselves through nutrition.” If you want more than just good intentions, then read on to find out how you can have healthy food delivered to your desk!
mtl: Hi, can you start by telling us about your legal career?
Jared: I trained at Cameron McKenna and qualified into the projects/infrastructure group, where I stayed for two years until I was made redundant. I’d known since about 1yr pqe that it wasn’t for me and my motivation and drive had slipped a bit from that point.
Although I liked the work, the intellectual stimulation and the people I worked with, I wasn’t passionate about what I was doing and was no longer enthusiastic about the job as I couldn’t see myself as a senior assistant or partner in the future.
If I hadn’t been made redundant, I’m not sure at what point I would have left law but am certain that I would have done. Maybe I would have tried a smaller firm or still be planning my exit now… However, I felt certain that I was being pulled to do something entrepreneurial.
mtl: So what did you do next?
Jared: When I left Cameron McKenna, I’d already spent six months thinking about what sort of lifestyle business I could set up. I considered several different areas but would have been spreading myself too thin to cover all of them so I decided to focus just on nutrition and food.
I have always loved food – in fact I’d wanted to be a chef when I was younger, partly due to having grown up with my parents running a pub. I’ve also always been interested in fitness. The older I got the more I realised that excellent health, performance and (of course) body composition were all connected to the food we eat. With all this swimming around in my mind, the idea for Fresh Fitness Food began to take shape while I was on holiday in April 2011.
mtl: Tell us about Fresh Fitness Food and how you set it up…
Jared: When I did the research, I realised that there was nobody in London delivering freshly prepared, tailored food programmes for different types of athlete or different types of fitness goal, whereas in the USA and Australia the concept was quite established. I looked into how these companies worked from marketing to logistics to menus and saw that there really was a gap in the market.
I spent a few months building a network of specialists - e.g. nutritionists, chefs, personal trainers, dieticians, therapists etc. There was a lot to do, but the first things were the website and testing menus. I had to think how the food would taste and look and how it would work from a nutritional as well as a financial point of view. Initially I did everything myself e.g. sourcing and preparing food as well as delivering it. I now have a few members of staff who cover all the cooking and delivering.
The food I provide is tailored to the client’s weight, height, levels of physical activity, food preferences, allergies/intolerances and of course what they want to achieve – be it shedding a few pounds, gaining some muscle, beating last year’s marathon time or totally transforming their body. It is almost like having a chef and a personal trainer in your kitchen. At the outset, the delivery area was restricted to parts of zone 1; it is currently most of zones 1 – 3, parts of zone 4 and is growing.
The food is produced in the evenings and delivered overnight, mostly to offices, in temperature controlled bags, which are swapped each day. The food is microwavable but (for nutritional reasons) I recommend that it is eaten cold. At the moment clients can order anything between a meal and two snacks to three meals and two snacks a day (or more should their goals require).
mtl: What have been the highs and lows?
Jared: I am absolutely loving it and although it is stressful and tiring, it is really right for me. I love getting feedback from people who are really enjoying the food and I have some really interesting clients e.g. one who has lost over 24 kg and one who has had to consume around 9000 calories a day as he attempts to row a marathon a day for 26 days. I know that nobody else in the UK is providing such bespoke nutrition, so what I am doing is unique and has the potential to really impact people’s lives.
The main challenge has been juggling all the different skill sets required – e.g. marketing, nutrition, food sourcing and production, food safety, delivery logistics etc. There is only so far I can take these areas without getting some help. My main challenge now is to ensure scalability by putting into place processes, principles and standards so that I can find the capacity to meet a much greater demand.
mtl: Do you have any advice for our readers?
Jared: If you are in a position of stability where you can plan your exit, think about what will make you bounce out of bed on a Monday morning. Speak to people, consider the income and lifestyle of what you are proposing and then just get on and do it as you could spend years planning – it’s about getting the balance right between planning and action.
mtl: Good luck with your business.
You can see Jared’s site here
An example day’s food:
Breakfast: Slow cooked beef and apple burrito with cabbage, bee pollen, flax seeds and goji berries,
Snack: Peanut butter and pumpkin seed flapjack (without flour, sugar, butter or salt)
Lunch: North African lamb stew with harissa, almonds and apricots with lentil salad and mixed seasonal veg
Snack: Smoked salmon with steamed kale and spinach
Dinner: Teriyaki chicken with ground almonds and pecans, quinoa and steamed veg
Trainer/Assistant, CMS Cameron
Set up Fresh Fitness Food