No More Sad Desk Lunch: Meet Lunch Jars
I'm guilty of one too many sad desk lunches. Lacklustre salads, leftovers that can only be salvaged with mounds of cheese, toastie after toastie after toastie. So what do you do when you can't handle one more can of tuna?
Enter Lunch Jars, an Adelaide-based service ensuring you never have a sad desk lunch again. Helping you avoid the lunchtime rush with fuss-free delivery (just order before 11AM the previous day), there's also huge variety of options for all dietary requirements AND each packs a healthy serving size for the same price you'd spend on food court noodles. Win win win.
And lucky us - co-founder Alicia Rafiei let us choose a bunch of jars (and delivered them personally) so we could sample the product. Office reaction? Straight up yum.
We chat to Alicia about the success of Lunch Jars, and how the kitchen became an officce.
BNKR: Why Lunch Jars over a regular salad?
Alicia: When we envisaged Lunch Jars we had three important issues we wanted to address.
1. How can we get delicious, fresh lunch out to the people of Adelaide?
2. How can we package our product without adding unnecessary waste to landfill, and
3. How can we make our customers enjoy they’re workday?
We brainstormed ideas to create what is now Lunch Jars, delivering delicious, wholesome food in recyclable jars, saving our wonderful customers the time in preparation involved in creating lunch for their working week.
Our Lunch Jar recipes are the result of many years in the kitchen cooking for family and friends, and now we can share our food with our customers.
Tell us about how you got started.
My family have always cooked. Having owned cafes previous to having a corporate job, we felt the most comfortable in kitchens - that was our office! With my mother wanting to return to cooking in restaurants, and me realising there was a gap in the market for fresh deliverable lunches, we decided to collaborate.
What’s the response been like since you began the business?
We've had such a wonderful response since we launched our products online. A combination of great food, sensible packaging, and a friendly delivery service has resulted in return customers and the majority of our new customers are from word of mouth and recommendation - and for us that's the best compliment. The only criticism - if you can call it one - is that there is too much food!
Most popular Jars on your menu?
Without a doubt our most popular Jar we deliver is the American Club Salad followed closely by our Chicken Lunch Jar with Chipotle sauce. Our regular customers are always raving about how tasty the Ranch Dressing and Chipotle sauces are. Healthy carbs, fibrous vegetables, protein and delicious homemade sauce makes for the perfect combination.
Your go-to healthy snack?
For a healthy snack, we can’t go past the yogurt and granola jar. The contrast of the yogurt, granola and tart berries make it super tasty and a great snack for a guilt free natural energy hit in the afternoon.
Tell us about your delivery service.
Once your order is placed, we buy all the ingredients, prep, and then cook up your fresh lunch. Based on your preferred delivery date, we head out from Lunch Jars HQ, delivering your lunch anytime before 12.00 ready for you to enjoy.
Do you have a recycling or jar pick-up option?
To contribute in the reduction of waste in landfill, we encourage all our customers to recycle their jars where possible. But the best contribution is that we pick up the jars with your next delivery. Once the empties are collected we take them back to HQ, wash and sanitise the jars and then store them ready for re-use with the next order.
What challenges have you run into as a small business, and what have you done to overcome them?
We were lucky enough to start our small business without many overhead expenses that most people starting up would run into. This gave us the opportunity to start Lunch Jars small, gradually building customer relationships and regulars. It wasn’t until the business had gained enough momentum that we decided that we could pursue it as a full time job. Another challenge has been gaining initial trust within the food community, so that they were confident enough to purchase our Jars online. Our concept is quite new and it can sometime be difficult for customers to try something they haven't had before. We have overcome this by offering samples to new customers, kind of like a try before you buy. We are happy to say that every sample we have sent out, we receive such wonderful feedback and in most cases they result in being a new customer with return orders.
All images courtesy of Lunch Jars/Alicia Rafiei.
Order your own Lunch Jars here, plus give them a follow on Instagram or Snapchat @ 'lunchjars'.
Words: Lucy Ahern