It feels like we keep hearing about Clean Eatery expanding. Their core healthy meal prep service has experienced exponential growth after the humble food truck beginnings less than two years ago, quickly becoming the largest service of its type in the state.
Clean Eatery opened with the Main Street Food Festival in June 2014. The truck was a constant fixture around town providing healthy options. They quickly saw a demand for preparing weekly meals for customers who were not always able to make it out to the truck.
“We had so many customers grabbing extra meals to eat later, and asking us if it was possible to order meals outside of truck time,” owner Ryan McGehee tells us. “Finally we realized that there was a real demand for the meal service and we started off doing meals out of the truck in our off time with a handful of customers who were eager to get started.”
The Clean Eatery truck still runs frequently at food truck meets and festivals, but the meal service quickly got too large to prepare in the truck.
In May last year they moved from food truck only to a spot in Stratton’s Market that featured a larger kitchen space for their growing meal service line, as well as grab and go options. That move opened up even more growth and less than a year later they found themselves out of space again.
After exploring several options, they settled on the former Damgoode Pie’s delivery location on Cantrell. The location allows Clean Eatery to service more than three times the number of customers, and for now meet demand.
At the rate of growth, even the increase capacity may not be enough. McGehee says they are adding up to 100 new orders per week at times.
Clean Eatery’s meal service works with local trainers and nutritionists to create meal plans that match the needs of clients as well as providing overall convenience to eating healthy. The service provides 15-20 meals along with snacks delivered Monday – Thursday directly to customers.
“Our biggest problem now with the growth is sourcing food and finding good workers,” McGehee explains. “There are often days when a delivery does not come through and we are forced to go purchase organic product from Kroger or Sam’s.”
Clean Eatery is not the first local healthy meal delivery, chef Donnie Ferneau operated a similar service before (and after) opening his Good Food location. Clean Eatery’s growth, however, seems to have given even more rise to similar businesses. Crave, which we have featured before, has a much smaller operation and works as a strict gluten free and paleo alternative. A quick Google search reveals at least a half dozen more that have popped up in the last year offering meal delivery such as My Metabolic Meals, Bistro MD, and others.
“We are excited about the competition actually,” McGehee says. “It is bringing extra awareness to the service area and if anything it has increased our business. We really just want to better the lives of both our customers and workers. Customers get a healthy and convenient meal option, where a busy person would otherwise have to eat fast food. For our workers we pay competitive wages and offer health centered perks.”
Clean Eatery has recently taken steps to promote healthy lifestyles beyond the meal service. They are featuring workouts from trainers of the week on their social media, and sponsoring a community workout day each week. This type of overall healthy lifestyle is something Clean Eatery hopes to expand on in the future.
We are very interested in promoting healthy lifestyles when possible, especially when it involves food. The growth of Clean Eatery, and healthy meal services as a whole is especially important to see Arkansas move away from being the obesity capital of the country.