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New Catering Ideas: Build a Healthy Focused Meal Prep Program

Outside the box thinking is what is keeping many caterers afloat during this unprecedented times! 

During our weekly ICA calls we have heard unique ideas for:  

  • Sales – New revenue sources and sales techniques  

  • OPS – Workforce and guest safety protocols 

  • Chef Trends – Food trends and serving ideas beyond the buffet   

This month, we are focusing in on one of those ideas for a meal prep program from Jimmy Olang of 24 Carrots that focused on Healthy pre-portioned meals partnering with fitness programs. Meal prep programs provide pre-portioned meals (and reoccurring revenue) that just need to be reheated, often in a microwave. Olang, chief operating officer for the Southern California-based caterer, explained why 24 Carrots established their meal prep program, Crafted, and how they maintain it. This could just be your catering businesses next new line of business! You can watch the recorded webinar or read some of the highlights below.  

An additional, less seasonal revenue stream 

One of the most persistent issues in the catering industry is seasonality and today, the effects of COVID-19. No matter what your company’s focus is, there seems to be one quarter that underperforms. Olang said their meal prep program came from a desire to increase revenue in the first quarter. Their healthy meals are perfectly targeted toward eaters with New Year's resolutions.  

24 Carrots has established a new meal prep program called Crafted, which partners with local fitness programs to provide pre-portioned meals.

Additionally, caterers are searching—now more than ever—for another revenue stream. Olang explained how their program was absorbed into their current overhead and detailed how they achieved 72 to 74 percent margins on their meals. 

True e-commerce: nutrition software and a retail website 

A meal prep program is intended to be an additional revenue stream and not your main business. To simplify your program, Olang recommends using two online tools: MenuCalc and Shopify. 

MenuCalc provides FDA-approved nutritional facts for your custom recipes. Members, like 24 Carrots, enter the exact ingredients and quantities for each recipe and receive nutrition details. The website can also guide your portioning.

Join Catersource on June 24 for the Rebuild & Rise Webinar "Can Buffets Survive COVID?" Learn more and register by clicking here.

Olang uses Shopify to host his meal prep program website. Shopify has a number of customizable retail templates you can use to easily maintain your business. 

Partners for pickup 

Lastly, Olang highlighted their partnership with local gyms for meal pickup. Instead of paying a delivery fee, guests can opt to pick up their meals from coolers at certain local gyms or even 24 Carrots’ kitchen. This decreases delivery expenses and attracts new customers.

You can hear more on these ideas and others in the full webinar. Stay up to date on all of the ICA’s monthly webinars by checking out the full list of recent webinars, and be sure to stay tuned for upcoming articles about the new world of catering. 

24 Carrots is a proud member of the ICA. For more information, visit  


International Caterers Association

For motivated caterers, International Caterers Association is a resource that provides Education, encourages peer to peer Relationships and Inspires creativity while embracing all segments of the catering industry. For more information, visit