My friends all know that the one thing they should never buy as a gift is a cookbook. I love food and eat well but I don’t like cooking. I wish I did and should make more of an effort to do so but for many it’s also a case of not having the time. Working long hours means many don’t have the time to meticulously prepare the meals they really want and the only convenient food delivery services are wildly unhealthy, feeding a vicious cycle of long working hours, lack of nutrition, lack of energy for exercise and sleep deprivation.
It was during his four years practicing as a lawyer in the city that his frustration about food led Jared Williams to set up Fresh Fitness Food – the personalised meal delivery service that’s now a favourite of celebs, athletes and city professionals. Jared recently sat down with us to answer our 7 questions, over a healthy and delicious breakfast of vanilla protein waffles with fresh fruit.
What did you want to be growing up?
There wasn’t one thing; one month I would want to be a writer or a lawyer, the next I would want to run a pub or a string of car boot sales, I’ve always known one thing though; I want to be passionate about whatever I do. Growing up the one thing I didn’t consider was being an entrepreneur and the thought of seeing my own ideas to come life; I have always loved self-improvement, challenging myself and the feeling of standing back and saying “I did that”. Entrepreneurship is not taught at school, but I learnt these entrepreneurial qualities from my parents (who actually did run a pub, but not car boot sales!). So rather than being able to say “I wanted to be a [something]”, it’s more accurate to say “I wanted to build something”.
Where did the idea for your brand come from and how did you bring it to life?
I started Fresh Fitness Food as a result of passion and frustration. I have always been passionate about great tasting food and fitness. The frustration came when I moved to London and started working as a corporate lawyer. Long hours, late nights and working over the weekend meant that I was not able to eat the way I wanted to eat. I actually felt that I was eating the way London wanted me to eat – low quality, on-the-go food, full of processed ingredients, refined sugars and various preservatives and other nasties. I wanted to break this trend, introduce a service that tackled these issues not just for myself as a city worker but for everyone and anyone who is conscious about what they’re putting into their bodies and the result of that on their goals.
The vision for Fresh Fitness Food was pretty simple; personalised nutrition and chef prepared food delivered daily to your home or work. The business started in my flat in Notting Hill and I handled everything including sales, marketing, cooking, delivery and customer care. It terms of ‘how did I bring it to life’, it was really a combination of building a service that I knew I would pay for and a lot of hard work. That and recognising that all businesses need to be self-aware and responsive to feedback. It’s how they use this feedback that then builds a successful product.
What has been the greatest challenge to your brand/work?
We have a very simple goal; to offer the best personalised meal delivery business in the world. But sticking to this goal is far from simple.
The service we offer is incredibly bespoke. Clients can choose the number of meals and snacks they want, pick which days of the week they would like food delivered and what’s more it’s tailored to their tastes, allergies, lifestyle, and health and fitness goals. From an operational perspective, this presents a number of considerable challenges – we often joke internally about how easy life would be to just provide the same meal to everyone, but that’s not Fresh Fitness Food and a successful business isn’t always simple!
The bespoke nature of the service also presents a number of challenges in terms of management and leadership. Every growing business is going to face problems and the temptation to cut corners (and compromise quality) will present itself daily. We have worked extremely hard to build a team that is happy not to take short cuts. We believe in what we do, even if it takes a little longer to get there.
Who was or is your greatest influence?
My parents. What I have come to realise is that they built a successful business out of nothing. My Dad had been in the navy and had never pulled a pint, and my Mum had worked as a teacher and had never cooked and served food in a restaurant. Yet they threw themselves in, worked tirelessly and built an amazing business. ‘Amazing’ not just because it was profitable, but also because it provided a focal point for an entire community. It became much more than a place to have a drink and a bite to eat and, looking back, I know this was because of their energy and the standards they set for themselves.
How would you describe your personal style?
Currently lacking! I know how I would like to dress but I never seem to get around to shopping. I find buying clothes to be one of life’s most painful experiences and, as a result, I tend to wear the same two outfits all the time depending on what I have on that day:
- I have meetings = blue trousers and either a blue or white shirt.
- I don’t have meetings = jeans and a white, unlabelled t-shirt.
Tell us something no one knows about you?
I constantly talk to myself (internally) and I would estimate that at least 10 times an hour I tell myself off for not concentrating, not being efficient enough, etc. For some reason, whenever I do this I call myself “a massive prat” or “a bloody Norman”. Nothing against anyone called Norman, but for some reason it has stuck.
7 words to describe yourself
Ambitious, entrepreneurial, loyal, committed, passionate, focused and very, very all-or-nothing.