CEO Nevell Provo told Entrevestor in an interview that he expects to spend the next two or three years preparing to sell franchises. Meanwhile, he sees the possible expansion outside Halifax as a way to show prospective franchisees that his business model is viable in a range of markets -- not just one city.
Smooth Meal Prep is a subscription service that delivers prepared meals to customers’ doorsteps twice a week. Its menu offerings are focused on health food, with a low-carb subscription plan, a muscle-building plan and a pescatarian plan, among others.
“Our meals are all fresh, already cooked, you just have to pop it in the microwave and go,” said Provo. “Our mission is to help people stay on track with their fitness goals, by way of healthy food and technology.”
Symplicity, founded in 2013, has more than 400 Atlantic Canadian clients who it advises on questions of corporate structure and governance, as well as crisis management.
Provo, a former Team Canada basketball player, founded Smooth Meal Prep in 2018 with his mother, professional chef Karen Provo.
He said that the focus on healthy food and the ready-to-eat presentation of Smooth Meal Prep’s offerings differentiate it from meal kit startups like HelloFresh, which delivers ingredients, but leaves its customers to prepare the food themselves.
“With those other models, it’s more the meal kits and things like that,” said Provo, referring to competitors. “We kind of take it a step further and really provide that convenience.”
He added that he hopes the franchise expansion will see Smooth Meal Prep open its doors in underprivileged areas, with supporting marginalized communities being one of the company’s founding goals.
“We want to create a business that can be repurposed and recreated in other underprivileged communities, whether that's a women's community in Quebec or (First Nations) community in New Brunswick -- communities that could use a hand,” he said.
So far, Smooth Meal Prep has been largely bootstrapped, although the team won $25,000 from startup hub Volta’s Cohort pitch competition last year. Whether a venture capital raise should be on the horizon is one of the issues Simplycity has been hired to examine.
Provo now has 21 employees. Six are full-time and the rest are part-time. And in keeping with the company’s goal of helping underprivileged groups, 95 percent of the staff are black and 10 are under the age of 18.
“We really pride ourselves on helping improve that community and providing youth their first job, and really just access into the workforce,” Provo said.