Transcript Episode No. 3 Mark Wittman
David and Markus: Hi and Welcome to FoodBrews. In this 3rd episode, we are interviewing Mark Wittman, owner and Co-founder of Farm Hill.
Markus: Hi, what’s the story behind your disruptive – innovation thing?
Mark: We are a food delivery company but what we are doing differently is that we make a menu that is 100% healthy and good for you and everything we do is delivered: we are kind of a virtual restaurant. Our mission as a company is to make healthy food, tastier and easy for you to get.
David: But when you talk about not having a front house, the website is your front house right?
Mark: Exactly, because the way our customers interact with us is over our website. Their experience with us has a lot to do with our mobile app and website, because they do not have the chance to enter our restaurant and admire fancy seating or amazing lights, for example. But then, they do have interactions with our delivery drivers and this micro-interaction is one of the most important aspects for us.
They moved on to discuss what role tech plays in Mark’s company. He explains how he uses it to forecast the number of meals they need in a given day, to break down recipes, calculate the amount of an ingredient that they need and so on. Even though the company has an important tech component, Mark clarifies that it all goes back to the food and not the software or platform that they use. As he says: “We have to have excellent food in order for this to work”.
After this, Mark explains how he collaborates with different restaurants to come up with new, healthy and fresh dishes so that he can expand his company beyond the bay area.
David: All right but…let’s go back a little bit. How many days do you deliver? How many hours per day?
Mark: We primarily deliver to companies from Monday to Friday and the minimum order is $25. However, as long as you order more than $25, you can get it delivered wherever you want. We are really concerned about building a brand and what we want is that, anytime you think about getting a healthy meal, you think about Farm Hill.
Markus: Would you say it’s difficult to start in the food-tech business in the Bay Area? Would you say it’s a good area?
Mark: The first think we did was actually renting a kitchen space, start cooking, see if there was demand for that and if we liked it. We did not think about that, we thought that the best way to figure it out was to actually get started.
Markus: Why did you choose this name? Is there a story behind?
Mark: We started with a name although we already knew we would change it. This is how we came up with our name: we changed from our old kitchen to a permanent kitchen and every time we had to drive from the old one to the new one, the exit would say Farm Hill Boulevard. That was when my co-founder told me “What about Farm Hill? We checked the domain online and it was available so…that became our name. I think the name says a lot about what we stand for as a company so it works really well for us.
Markus changes the topic and asks Mark about the IOs button in his website, trying to get some more information about the app they offer to the customers. As Mark says, the app is about making the ordering and delivering process easier and more comfortable for the customer.
David moves on talk about other recent companies that are fulfilling their mission statement alongside them. Mark says that there’s a company that they just started working with and he is pretty excited about it. The company is called Full Harvest and what they do is…they are working with farms to help them harvest their imperfect produce.
“Then, we can take advantage of that and buy, for example, some kale that is not aesthetically perfect but that is not the most important as long as we can buy it organic and cheaper than the conventional one”.
Markus: I’m curious about something…do your customers have a favorite dish? What’s the most ordered one in your platform?
Mark: What has actually been really successful for us is to put a lot of spin into dishes that people already know and love. People love having the chance to eat the meals they love but…without having to feel super heavy after.
Markus: Okay, let’s get into more detail. How do you make those meals healthier? Do you use less butter, less oil?
Mark: Here’s how we describe it: Eat more fruits and vegetables; reduce the amount of added sweeteners and sugars and then we also have very little refined processed stuff. We do use olive oil, healthy fats, of course. We are not trying to dictate the people to have x number of calories per meal.
Markus: At the end of the episodes we always have 2 questions. The first one is: What place would you recommend to someone who is new in the Bay Area?
Mark: the rainbow coop is a good one. It’s an amazing grocery store where they have excellent produce; they have the best cheese selection (I think) in the city. It’s a fantastic experience!
Markus: And the second one…Let’s say tomorrow is your last day in the Bay Area. Where would you go to say goodbye?
Mark: I love running so I would probably go running along the coast…hopefully the weather will be nice as it is always in the Bay Area.
David and Markus: Thank you very much Mark and thanks to everyone for listening, see you on the next episode of Food Brews.