10 Questions With John Machacek: Power Plate Meals

Written by: John Machacek

John Machacek, Chief Innovation Officer for the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corporation, has worked with countless startups throughout our community over the past seven years. He knows their ups, their downs, but most of all, he knows the questions to ask them. Here are John Machacek’s 10 questions for Power Plate Meals Vice President of Marketing and Brand Development Haylee Houkom who is working to bring healthy meals to everyone.

1. What is your Power Plate Meals elevator pitch?

Power Plate Meals is a healthy, ready to eat meal prep company that provides fresh, flavor-packed meals for busy individuals and families. Our meals help you save time and feel better from the inside out. Shop with us at one of our nine retail locations or order online at powerplatemeals.com to have your favorite meals shipped right to your door.

2. Where can someone buy your meals?

  • Shop with us at one of our nine retail locations in Fargo, Grand Forks, and Bismarck, North Dakota, Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Eagan, Bloomington, and Lakeville, Minnesota.
  • Pre-order for same-day, in-store pick up at powerplatepickup.com and we will have your order ready upon arrival.
  • Order from our bi-weekly changing menu at powerplatemeals.com and have your meals shipped right to your door.

3. What made you decide to start Power Plates?

As a couple, we have always had a huge passion for living a healthy lifestyle and wanted to share healthy eating with our community. We wanted to make healthy eating convenient for everyone, show people it doesn’t have to be boring and change people’s lives through healthy food.

4. What caused you to shift to having retail stores?

We started Power Plates at Square One Rental Kitchen here in Fargo. At the time we had a local pick-up option one day a week and also had the option to ship with UPS right to their door. Having a location of our own was always a big dream, but after a fire happened at Square One kitchen, it pushed us to find our own kitchen and retail space. After opening our very first location, we quickly learned that our customers loved our quick and convenient in-store shopping experience which inspired us to expand our retail stores.

5. You’ve grown the company quickly within just several years, you have nine retail locations in three states and over 70 employees. How have you planned and adapted during this process?

As we have grown the last 4.5 years, we have really learned to take things as they come and adapt to change quickly. In the food industry, we have to stay on top of trends, stay innovative in what our customers want, and make sure to really listen to our customers and team members’ needs. We strongly believe in open communication, the willingness to try new things, not being afraid to fail and building a strong company culture. All of these things have helped us through our growth and having strong team members that believe in our company’s vision allows us to continue to grow together.

6. I have been impressed by both your customer email communications as well as your social media. Do you have any tips for the readers on producing and managing these communications?

Thank you, we appreciate that! We are truly passionate about our customer relationships and spreading the word about healthy eating, which drives our marketing practices. For anyone starting a business or looking to improve their marketing strategies, engaging with your customers and learning from them is so beneficial. Comment back, listen to their questions and concerns and be open to suggestions. Also, just like with anything else, consistency is key. Share content regularly so you can continue communicating with your audience and building your brand.

7. I love that your company has very little food waste, since you have the ability to freeze the meals that don’t immediately sell and offer them in your frozen section. Was that always the plan or was it a happy coincidence?

When starting Power Plates, we had the concern of food waste, which is where the idea of switching our menu bi-weekly and selling our previous menu items in the freezer at a discounted price came about. We started our first retail location with this model and have kept it ever since.

8. What would be your 5-10 year dream for PPM?

Our big dream for Power Plates is to make Power Plate Meals accessible to our customers nationwide, in all communities and change people’s lives with healthy food. We hope to do this through our retail stores, new wholesale and vending opportunities as well as expanding our e-commerce across the nation.

9. If you could go back in time to Haylee and Seth from a few years ago, what hindsight advice would you give yourself?

Our advice to our younger selves would be to always trust our instincts. Whenever your gut feeling is telling you to do something, run with it.

10. What is in the works for Power Plate Meals?

We have a couple of very fun projects and partnerships in the works, but one thing we would love to share is that in 2021, we will be partnering with other businesses to wholesale our meals. As for what is still in store for 2020, stay tuned, 2020 is going to get even tastier with a fun, local partnership we can’t wait to share!

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