Imagine you are at work during lunchtime and you start getting hungry. Maybe it is raining heavily outside and you simply do not feel like going out to grab something to eat. Or maybe it is sunny out there, but you do not have enough time to walk out of your office. This is a typical hassle faced by most of us every single working day.
What’s more, this was also the issue faced by Shea Coakley and Peter Roy; the two of them found out the solution to this problem: they founded LeanBox in late 2013. This Boston startup provides a healthy “fridge” right inside your company building. The lunch-box resembles a regular vending machine from the outside, but the startup itself prefers to describe it as a smart refrigerator packed with freshly prepared meals. In a standard healthy vending machine you will surely not find junk food but still juices, protein bars or salads full of preservatives in order to last longer, even up to sixty days.
LeanBox is a different story. In 20 cubic feet it provides not only healthy but even fresh and natural food; this is the reason why these foods last only a couple of days. Its offering includes meals and drinks like organic burritos, preservative-free crab cakes, couscous, caffeinated granola, artichoke water and even microwavable entrees. Employees just need to swipe their cards (credit or LeanBox card or employee badge), open the fridge and scan the product. In this way, they are always just a few seconds away from their healthy lunch, snack or whatever they may like.
LeanBox food items are perishable, so the fridges need to be replenished up to five times a week. This might not sound very cost-effective. On top of that, the items are sold at their cost, so the price is up to three times lower than the retail one. So, how does LeanBox business model work?
Basically, LeanBox receives revenues from the employers who use the food service. Indeed, they pay a monthly fee to have their LeanBox fridge in their company. Moreover, the waste is minimized by giving employees exactly what they like to eat (a survey is conducted to understand users’ tastes) and by monitoring inventories in real time. This helps LeanBox not only to engage and satisfy employees of the client companies but also to make customized deliveries based on real time sales data.
As for now, LeanBox serves more than fifty companies in the North East Coast area of the United States, including Microsoft, Amazon and Baystate Financial. Recently, it has planned to expand aggressively, considering partnership opportunities and even going internationally. I believe there is room and various opportunities for this kind of expansion, since an increasing majority of people is actually looking for new products that will support their health and productivity. This innovation can really help employees to maintain a positive attitude at work and even to reduce their stress level by making them save time, enjoy healthy balanced meals and reduce costs of buying food at a normal cafeteria.