Get to know Team Planted Meals!
Do you want to know why these entrepreneurs started their business, or what the first meal they learned to cook was? We chatted with Natalie, Corbin and Michael from Planted Meals about everything from their journey and goals, to favorite foods.
Planted Meals is a Vancouver based Vegan meal delivery service, their goal is to make Veganism affordable and convenient. We are proud to say they are a member of Commissary Connect.
How was the idea for your business born?
- Natalie: Corbin and I met through cycling. I had switched to a plant-based diet and started making snacks and hosting dinners for our cycling club.
- Corbin: My wife and I had been looking to switch to a plant-based diet but didn’t know how, but Natalie showed us it wasn’t that hard. As someone who works a lot and couldn’t be bothered to cook, I saw the need for a super convenient plant-based meal service that was also affordable. With my business background and Natalie’s cooking, I figured we could feed Vancouver!
- Michael: I had been looking to start a business and had worked with Corbin in the past at Cactus Club Cafe, so when Corbin proposed this idea I jumped right in. I’m not vegan, I knew nothing about vegan food but I love food and was ready to work hard – sometimes that’s all you need!
What has been the hardest part about being an entrepreneur, and what is the best part?
- Natalie: The hardest thing has been shifting my mindset from one of an employee to one of an entrepreneur. I’ve always been a very task-oriented person without giving much thought to the big picture. The best thing has been becoming so much more self-aware – I have to explore other parts of my personality, recognize weaknesses and strengths, and learn to work within those!
- Corbin: The hardest thing has been finding enough good people to build your team. The best thing has been finding new problems to solve and the feeling when we win. I also love meeting new people.
- Michael: Everything is unknown. The best thing is you’re always breaking down walls and moving to the next stage.
What is your favorite restaurant in Vancouver?
- Natalie: That’s a really tough one, but I frequent Panz Veggie on Fraser a lot! She makes a lot of my favourite Chinese dishes but vegan, and still super tasty. Virtuous Pie is also amazing, completely revamping the pizza and vegan scene at the same time.
- Corbin: I don’t think I have one.
- Michael: South Castle – it’s a Korean restaurant in North Vancouver.
What would be one food you would want with you if your were stranded on a desert island?
- Natalie: While probably not the most practical for a hot desert island, I’d love a ramen with all the toppings including tofu karaage, and end with some ice cream and mochi. All vegan of course!
- Corbin: Fried rice, or seasoned beans and rice. I like neutral food.
What was the first meal you learned to cook?
- Natalie: Instant noodles, but my mom would make me cook the noodles separately, drain and rinse them, make a soup out of miso paste, add some bok choy and frozen beef balls, and THEN add the noodles back in.
- Michael: Ramen.
- Corbin: Mac + cheese (KD style)
Best dinner you have ever had?
- Michael: When I was in Grade 4 (living in Korea), my mom took my sister and I to korean bbq. I don’t know why but to this day, I still remember how good it was.
- Corbin: The dinner at my wedding. I taste food emotionally – it was a good day.
Who inspires you the most?
- Natalie: Maybe I spend too much time with them but I look up to Corbin and Mike. I’ve never met two more hard-working individuals – and not just in their professional work, but in their hobbies, passions, families and life in general.
- Michael: Anyone who is willing to put in time and willingness to grind – those kind of people will solve problems without any complaints.
- Corbin: My dad and my mom. They both have worked so hard and established their careers. Elon Musk is also a good one.
Top success from 2019?
- Breaking 1000 meals produced in one weekend and consistently retaining customers
- Getting into our first retail chain, BEC
- Customers continually rave about our food
- Getting into No Frills on Broadway
- Establishing relationships with other companies like Body Energy Club, Spent Grounds, and Juice Truck
- Grow our part-time staff to 20 people, including one full time
Create a program/system for us to track orders, output orders
What are your goals for 2020?
- Double our current revenue
- Add new lines for our existing service, like healthy snacks and breakfast options
- Create consumer packaged goods that can be sold in large grocery stores
- Create a resource for plant-based living