The Foodpreneur #029
Feeding the Future: What Heat and Eat Meal Subscriptions Can Learn from Netflix
Netflix was one of the first modern delivery subscription services—and there’s a lot today’s heat and eat meal services can learn from this powerhouse brand. While, yes, the industries are completely different—unless your audience is up for dinner and a movie, of course—but there are countless principles that apply to both. More importantly, there’s a lot business owners can learn from this constantly-evolving megabrand. As you’re planning for 2024, consider this:
#1. Personalization and Recommendation Make a BIG Difference
Netflix is known for its sophisticated recommendation algorithms that suggest content based on user preferences and viewing history. While there’s no need to develop something as extensive as Netflix’s backend, meal subscription services can implement similar algorithms to recommend options based on a customer’s dietary preferences, previous orders, and feedback. This can enhance the customer experience by making it easier for users to discover new dishes they may enjoy.
#2. Don’t Skimp on Content Variety
Netflix offers a wide range of content, including movies, TV shows, and documentaries, catering to diverse tastes. Similarly, meal subscription services should offer a diverse menu that caters to various dietary preferences and restrictions, including vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and more. This variety can attract a broader customer base.
#3. Aim for Something Truly Original
Netflix has invested heavily in producing high-quality original content that can’t be found elsewhere. Meal subscription services can follow suit by creating unique, chef-crafted meals that are exclusive to their platform. This can help differentiate them from competitors and retain customers.
#4. Make Sure Your User Interface and Experience is A+
Netflix’s user-friendly interface and seamless streaming experience have contributed to its success. Meal subscription services should prioritize a user-friendly app or website interface, easy meal selection, and a smooth ordering process. A great user experience can lead to higher customer satisfaction and retention.
#5. Make Customer Feedback and Ratings Part of the Experience
Don’t shy away from customer feedback—for better or for worse. Netflix allows users to rate and review content, which helps other viewers make informed decisions. Meal subscription services can implement a similar system, not just allowing but encouraging customers to rate and review meals. This can help build trust and assist others in choosing their meals.
#6. Track Every Taste
The key to delivering these epic experiences and spot-on recommendations has been Neflix’s ability to capture real-time customer data ns insights—and, from there, leverage those insights to understand user behavior, preferences, and trends. The end result? An exceptional and deeply personalized experience for every single subscriber.
Again, while you don’t need to take tracking as far as Netflix does, heat and eat meal services can use data analytics to track customer ordering patterns, popular dishes, and seasonal trends. This information can inform menu planning and marketing strategies, as well as offering targeted promotions, special offers, and other unique opportunities to key customers.
#7. Invite Everyone to the Table
If you aren’t offering subscription tiers or customizable delivery plans and schedules, think again.
Netflix offers different subscription tiers with varying features and pricing, ensuring virtually anyone can dive into their brand experience—and, once engaged, may opt to upgrade over time. Similarly, meal subscription services can introduce tiered pricing plans that offer additional benefits, such as discounts, exclusive meals, or faster delivery, to incentivize customers to upgrade their subscription. It can be as simple as offering options for number of meals per week—maybe people can opt for 2, 3, 4, 5, or even more days of meals—or different pricing tiers with the option to upgrade based on desired selections. Whatever you choose, this is an easy way to lower a very common barrier to entry.
#8. Commit to Customer Engagement
Likewise, if you aren’t engaging your customers beyond their meal deliveries and the occasional email, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and strategize. Netflix engages with its audience through social media, trailers, and promotions. Meal subscription services can build customer engagement by sharing cooking tips, recipes, and behind-the-scenes content related to meal preparation. Even a quick TikTok or Instagram Reel filmed at your commercial kitchen—or even home kitchen—is a great way to bring people into the experience.
#9. Thanksgiving Lead-Up: Stress-Free Holiday Preparations
Above all, never stop innovating—and Netflix is the master of that. Netflix is constantly innovating by experimenting with new formats, technologies, and partnerships. Early on, Netflix mailed DVDs. Now, they’re a click away, from virtually any device.
Meal subscription services can take a page from this epic innovation playbook. Regularly update your menu, explore new cooking techniques, and partner with local farms or food suppliers to source fresh ingredients.
There’s a lot to learn from traditional food service and meal subscription brands—but there’s a lot to learn from subscription delivery services who have been there, done that and continue to innovate and accelerate. From that vantage point, Netflix is the perfect inspiration for heat and eat meal services preparing for all that comes next.