There has been a lot of advice being dispensed by industry experts (including me) about the importance of finding creative new revenue channels for operators, often driven by strategic partnerships. Sarah Lynch, founder of Mama Gaia (GUY-UH), believes that her model will be a perfect fit for convenience services operators.
The smart fridge
Lynch’s Denver-based company and her business model have been evolving since she took over the entity three years ago. The company has developed a smart fridge, equipped with artificial intelligence (AI), which detects sales activity and provides plenty of data for the operator.
Using an app-based payment system, Lynch said Mama Gaia enables an operator to make sales 24 hours a day, harness predictive insights through AI and nurture new and repeat customers through automated engagement.
“This attractive vendor is irresistible to Gen Z and Millennials,” Lynch said. “We see multiple applications that will be very appealing to vending operators.”
What’s in the fridge?
Lynch’s model is driven by her customized partnership with meal kit companies, who typically provide pre-measured ingredients so home cooks can prepare chef-crafted meals from the comfort of their own kitchens, or fully prepared meals that are ready to heat and eat.
“There are hundreds of meal kit companies out there looking for market share for their subscription model,” said Lynch. “Subscription doesn’t work for everyone, especially those who are young, active and on the go. As a result, renewals are a challenge. Mama Gaia offers a way for those meal kit companies to sell product and maybe land some new subscription business,” she added.
Ideal location: large residential complexes
Lynch reports solid sales in large residential apartment and condo complexes. “Residents come home hungry, are looking for something healthy, quick and easy, and Mama Gaia is right there, waiting to serve them,” said Lynch. “We are seeing daily sales from $75 a day.”
According to Lynch, the amenity is so well received, Mama Gaia is in talks with multiple apartment management companies. “We are thrilled by the interest and are preparing for potentially rapid growth,” she said.
Other ideal locations: healthcare, law offices, college dorms
“Any 24-hour location that is dynamic in nature, where people want quality and healthy meals but can’t always plan for it – that is an ideal location for Mama Gaia,” said Lynch.
Lynch said that while law firms tend to resist vending machines, they embrace Mama Gaia because of the healthier fare that is available 24 hours a day. “Between depositions and pretrial work, law firms are working long hours,” she said. “Why would they order from an outside source when Mama Gaia is right there, ready to serve them?”
She also sees Mama Gaia as an excellent alternative to a food vending machine in a traditional vending setting, or as an add-on in micro market location. Lynch said that Mama Gaia can give a vending operator a competitive advantage. “We go far beyond frozen burritos and pre-thawed Italian subs. That will impress many decision makers and energize food sales,” she said.
Mealtime is redefined
“Gen Z and Millennials in particular have redefined their snacking, when they eat dinner, what they eat for lunch and dinner and how a meal will end up in front of them,” said Lynch. “Mama Gaia is the solution because we are right there – faster, healthier and more economical than a meal delivery service.”
“With these high-quality meals being offered for under $10 each, we expect a certain percentage of the workplace to open the smart fridge on their way out the door,” said Lynch. “Just like that, dinner is served – maybe one for them and one more if it’s dinner for two.”
Guess who pays for the smart fridge?
“The meal kit companies are willing to buy or lease the equipment,” Lynch said. “The operator is welcome to find locations, but that will not always be required.
While meal kit companies are excited by the potential of selling products out of a smart fridge, they are more accustomed to delivering to the front door of a residence. They are not in tune with installing equipment and servicing locations. That is why operators are a critical part of the program.
Lynch said that the meal kit companies will simply require that the operator buys the meal kits directly from them and uses their kits exclusively. “Operators will be very happy with the profit margins,” she added.
Mama Gaia seeks to connect with operators
“The role of the operator is to provide excellent service to the client, to fill the equipment, use the AI to maximize sales and minimize their spoilage, plus service the equipment when necessary. We will supply the parts, the operator will supply the labor,” she said.
“Convenience services operators are the vehicle that will drive this program,” said Lynch. “We would like to hear from interested operators. Mama Gaia looks forward to partnering with operators who see the potential here, have the service expertise and are willing to invest the effort required to make Mama Gaia a successful program for all parties involved.”
Sarah Lynch, the founder of Mama Gaia, can be reached at (978) 844-1767 or [email protected]
ABOUT BOB TULLIO
Industry consultant and contributing editor Bob Tullio (www.tullioB2B.com) is a content specialist who advises operators in the convenience services industry on how to build a successful business from the ground up and advises suppliers on how to successfully connect with operators. Tullio’s YouTube channel, b2b Perspective, is designed to “elevate your business in two minutes.” Tullio is currently developing an online course, Leverage the power of LinkedIn to grow your business.
As he is a recognized industry expert in business development and sales, NAMA retained him to write and narrate their online course, “Selling Convenience Services,” which is now available. Use discount code B2B10 for an instant discount and for free access to upcoming Q&A webinars from Tullio in the coming months. Here is a free sample of the course.
On Tuesday, Aug. 17, at The NAMA Show in New Orleans, Tullio will be presenting a 3-hour preconference session, "Selling Convenience Services: A Playbook for Sales Professionals."