PREPARED FOODS

DeliverLean celebrates opening of new Oakland Park facility

 
 
Olga Kuzenkov, founder, and Scott Harris, President & CEO of DeliverLean, a South Florida meal delivery service, stand in the company’s new kitchen space in Oakland Park.
Olga Kuzenkov, founder, and Scott Harris, President & CEO of DeliverLean, a South Florida meal delivery service, stand in the company’s new kitchen space in Oakland Park.
WALTER MICHOT / MIAMI HERALD STAFF

cherrera@MiamiHerald.com

DeliverLean, one of South Florida’s most successful food-delivery businesses, celebrated the opening of its Oakland Park facility Wednesday afternoon with a five-course meal presented by the chefs who have fed stars from Beyoncé to Barack Obama.

Executive chefs Andrew Whiteman and James Donato rushed around the counter at the test kitchen, faces at eye-level with the plates, meticulously preparing the meals that are also delivered in plastic containers and thermally insulated cooler bags to doorsteps from Jupiter to Kendall. About 30 invited guests feasted and toured the 30,000-square-foot facility, at 4351 NE 12th Ter., which houses the company’s office, commercial kitchen, combination ovens and separate dehydration rooms.

The brainchild of mortgage-industry executive Scott Harris, DeliverLean opened in September 2011 as a convenient, healthy option for people looking for balanced diets. The meals are prepared fresh daily and delivered to customers between 3 and 6 a.m.

“All you have to do is wake up and eat healthy,” said Chief Marketing Officer Candy Tree.

The latest expansion, at a cost of $250,000, is intended to increase deliveries to a total of 5,000 customers from the current 1,500. With more space and improved productivity, Harris said, he expects to extend the company’s deliveries north to Tampa.

Since 2012, DeliverLean has gone from $2.9 million in revenue to an expected $10 million by the end of 2014. More than 130 employees work the kitchens and the 20 delivery cars that line the parking lot of the new office. In 2013, the company won the People’s Pick award in the annual Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge.

The company’s success caused it to quickly outgrow its 8,000-square-foot Boca Raton facility, which was struggling to serve the number of customers who had caught the health craze wave.

“It was coming like a tornado,” Tree said.

The new facility gives the company a more central position for delivery, allowing it to pursue additional projects.

Since 2011, the company has grown to include organic juices, low-calorie desserts and shelf-stable snacks. Harris said the company expects to open a juice bar selling its juice brand, On Juice, in the Aventura Mall in the next six weeks. The team plans to expand to New York by the end of 2014 and Los Angeles by 2016. Also in the plans: a kids’ line to be delivered to schools and a line for diabetics.

Harris said the growth will help him broaden the reach of his ongoing goal: to help people maintain a healthy lifestyle and discourage fast food as a convenient but unhealthy option.

“We didn’t want to be a weight-loss or diet company,” Harris said. “We find that vanity is a byproduct, but it’s really about being healthy.”

Meals are priced at $7.95, and customers can mix and match dietary plans, choosing from six meal plans. Each DeliverLean package includes a breakdown of a meal’s calories, protein and carbohydrates.

At Wednesday’s event, working parents Jessica and Donovan Campbell were ready to sign up. Their 10-month-old son, Kingston, wobbled between tables, munching on kale chips.

Wedding and event planner Jessica Campbell said she likes the convenience of DeliverLean. “A company like this could not only give me time back but prepare dishes that I’m not familiar with,” she said.

For WSVN-Fox 7 sportscaster Donovan Campbell, who often works irregular hours, convenience is also key.

“You just never know when your next assignment is going to be and you never know when your next meal is going to be,” he said. “It’s good to have these meals already prepared and you just grab the bag and go.

“At $8 or less a meal, you can’t beat that.”

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