Adam Friden’s August CEO Note

Buenas Tardes Familia,

We could use some cause for celebration!  The only things more fun than birthdays and holidays are anniversaries.  August is a special month for all of us on Team Catered Fit and the celebration wouldn’t be the same without all of you!

It was July 2010 and I had yet to figure out a way to marry my love for health and fitness with my entrepreneurial passion. Early in my life, health and fitness became an obsession. I was regularly stopped at the gym and social watering holes and asked if I could “write a diet or fitness routine”. That’s when my buddy Jay brought me a three page article he said I needed to read. It was co-authored by the CEO of the first meal delivery service in America to really make a name for themselves. (Six years later we acquired that company 😉) As I read the last sentence of that article goosebumps riddled me from head to toe. I knew this was it. I had found my calling and three weeks later Catered Fit was born.

Over the course of the next six years Catered Fit grew by leaps and bounds. We had grown out of our little home kitchen into what is now our 33,000 sq/ft national headquarters. We went from a couple of clueless guys in a home kitchen to a team of nearly one hundred, cooking and delivering thousands of meals a day throughout every major metropolitan city in the state of Florida. What a journey indeed! By 2016, I had reached the proverbial “fork on the road”. Our little company was now doing millions of dollars in sales and was operating eighteen hours a day, six plus days a week. 

Even though I was reaching my personal and professional goals, I was nearly burnt out. In those days Catered Fit had no technology, everything was completely manual and we barely had an office staff. All of the investments over the first six years were in the kitchen. I knew that we had to focus on the product, nothing else mattered if the meals weren’t nutritious and delicious. Me and my now wife wore multiple hats, worked insane hours and in doing so went seven years without a vacation or even two consecutive days off. Money was no longer the prize if our sanity was the cost. It was time for change and the perfect solution presented itself at the most opportune of times.

Jump ahead to the summer of 2016 and I was regularly having crazy person conversations with myself in the shower each morning. (I knew it went too far when I wasn’t just talking to myself, but also responding.) I would ask myself, “How much longer can you work like this?  How many more birthdays, holidays and weekends can you miss? Does money really make you happy if you can’t take time to enjoy it?” That is when the CEO of that same meal-delivery company from the article walked into my office, congratulated me on our success and offered to sell us that company (more so it’s technology). If it wasn’t for him, at that moment, I would have likely tapped out or sold Catered Fit to the highest bidder, because I was physically and emotionally drained. While the other company was still leaps and bounds larger than we were at the time, they were not profitable and were on the brink of closing their doors and laying off their entire staff nationwide. I was not focused on their established brand name, or even their membership, I was most interested in the FREEDOM that would come with the technology they had built to sustain their national business. I knew that after a few more weeks of busting my a$$, I would be free from the manual processes that kept me chained to my desk for 12-14 hours a day. I would be free from no days off. I would finally get some of that work/life balance that you hear so much about.

Today, we have another anniversary to toast🥂 🍻  (although internally we also call it a birthday) because on August 7th, 2016 the new Catered Fit technology team launched the first of many major technological tools, systems and automated processes. We called it Phoenix. Phoenix changed the game. It became our CRM, our auto-renewal system, how we managed recipes, marketing campaigns, deliveries and so much more. It was customized for exactly the needs of Catered Fit and therefore made the transition from manual processes to scalable automation so much easier. Today on August 7th, 2020 as a company we are celebrating Phoenix’s being four years old. (If you speak to Customer Service today, be sure to wish them a happy birthday!) I look back now and I am so grateful for this journey. At times it has been arduous, but we have taken big swings and been able to hit it out of the park. I know that had we not taken risks, we would not have ended up where we are today. With two offices, two large local delivery areas and a national shipped version of our product that is deliverable to 48 states. 

Today’s world is not the one I knew when I launched Catered Fit. Ten years ago, the vision for this company was about providing healthy and delicious meals to people who valued nutrition and taste. Now I know better. We provide much more than just tasty meals. To many, we provide the balance in their lives when they don’t want to cook after a long day’s work. We help provide what I so often was missing… time. More than ever I know that what we do in our kitchens helps you all in your homes. When many of the pleasures we have all grown to take for granted have temporarily come to a screeching halt we should take the time to appreciate our many blessings. For you all, and the support you have given us over the last ten years, I am so incredibly grateful. Teammates and members alike have become dear friends and family and I want to thank you all for for a decade of loyalty. We love you!

Health is Wealth

Adam Friden / CEO

What I’m reading: an Indigenous People’s History of the United States

What I’m also reading: A People’s History of the United States

What I’m watching on Netflix: The Untold History of the United States by Oliver Stone

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