Toronto entrepreneur Will Bowcott is on a mission to re-think dinner.
In an age when #MealPrep is not just a trendy hashtag, but a lifestyle, consumers are looking for new ways to fit healthy eating into their increasingly hectic schedules. However, many struggle with time, cost, and skill level when it comes to whipping up a wholesome meal after a busy day. As a result, all those good meal-prepping intentions can quickly turn into a trip through the drive-thru on the way home from work.
Listening to these tales of healthy dinners sabotaged by busy scheduled, Will and his business partner Kevin Le concluded that there was a need to reduce the barriers to enjoying healthy, cost-effective meals at home. From Will’s perspective, everyone should be able to able to eat nutritious, high-quality food—regardless of their lifestyle or income
Sensing a need for a new way to approach eating in, WIll and Kevin decided to take the guesswork out of meal prep with a weekly meal delivery service called Yumba. Unlike other meal delivery services, Yumba takes orders from customers in advance to create fresh, chef-crafted meals each week. As Will explains,
“We order the exact ingredients to make the meals our customers have purchased, allowing us to avoid over-purchasing ingredients that traditional retailers would end up throwing in the garbage.”
After preparing these gourmet meals, each order is then delivered right to the customer’s door in a chilled, thermal bag and reusable containers. From there, customers simply need to pop the meal in the microwave and enjoy—no prep required.
While Yumba makes meal planning both easy and convenient, this doesn’t mean that the meals are lacking in quality. In fact, Yumba offers high-quality, well-balanced dishes that taste just as good as your local restaurant. Because the startup only buys ingredients based on exact orders and operates out of a commercial kitchen facility instead of a storefront, the savings are passed on to customers. This means customers can enjoy restaurant-quality jerk chicken or mushroom peppercorn steak for less than $11 per meal.
The Drawbacks of DIY
While Yumba quickly began to disrupt the Toronto food scene, the growth of the business meant that the company’s finances became increasingly complicated. This was a task that fell on the shoulders of Will, who initially thought he could handle the company’s bookkeeping on his own. He even went so far as to purchase accounting software and teach himself the basics of the program.
But like most startup founders, Will found his time needed on other parts of the business, and there weren’t enough hours left in the day to learn the intricacies of bookkeeping and complex accounting software. As Will admits, “we tried to use QuickBooks on our own, but that quickly became really confusing.” Will says that like many entrepreneurs, accounting for small business is not something you’re generally trained in and it can be tough to try and learn the process while also running a growing startup. As he explains,
“There’s a bunch of different rules and technicalities and it’s all quite overwhelming for anyone starting a business to focus on.”
A Startup Solution for Startup Problems
As Will began to lose more and more hours to bookkeeping, he realized it was time to consult with an accountant. Will began chatting with the OpenDigits team to understand how they could take some of the tedious record-keeping off his plate and give him back more time to focus on growing his business. As he explains,
“I deal with a lot of companies that talk a big talk. So many of them charge first, promise after, and then never live up to those promises. OpenDigits really put their money where their mouth is. They just showed up and helped us out big time right at the beginning.”
For Will, the human touch on the other end was the biggest reassurance that his books were in good hands. “As a startup founder, I know that there are a lot of things that are just too technical to do with software; you just can’t replace the idea of having someone who knows what they’re doing and keeping an eye on the whole thing,” he explains. “OpenDigits was the perfect hybrid between humans and software.” In other words, Will wanted a software solution to handle “the mundane tasks that no human should ever be doing,” but he also wanted a person on the other end to “call upon to answer the more complex questions.”
“OpenDigits strikes that balance between what should be done by a computer and what should be done by a human, then compartmentalizes it and put it into affordable packages that make sense for everyone.”
Finding a solution that seemed right for his business, Will handed over his books to OpenDigits—no small feat for any startup founder. As he explains, “I handed everything over and I instantly got hours of my week back.”
He credits most of this to the accountant on the other end of his books for handling his books with such care. As Will puts it,
“I know how difficult it is to run a company and for him to run a company and still care as much as he does and to keep an eye out for his clients, it was the human aspect that really made a difference.”
With bookkeeping off his plate, Will and the Yumba team are ready to cook up the next big thing in food delivery.