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My family has both ran and participated in Meal Prep Clubs over the last twenty years, and not only does it make life easier, it’s fun, and can be profitable for the host if done right.
So, What is a Meal Prep Club? A Meal Prep Club is a group of people who get together in a single kitchen to prep food for their families for the coming days, weeks, or months. Such clubs can be an informal group of friends or run as a business by the host.
Now lets dig into the details of what a Meal Prep Club is and if you can actually run one from your home as a food business.
How A Meal Prep Club Works
First, let’s remember that A Meal Prep Club can be ran as a business or as a social Meal Prep Party for a group of friends.
The goal of these clubs is for everyone to come together in one kitchen to meal prep three to ten family meals so that everyone in attendance leaves with a set of those family meals to feed their own family.
Better yet, A Meal Prep Club can and should be a lot of fun and save everyone involved time and money, while the feed their family better food.
Usually, one person decides on the menu for the next Meal Prep Club Party. That person also creates a shopping list with all of the ingredients and packaging required to prep meals for everyone in attendance.
Then one or two people will do the grocery shopping the day before the Meal Prep Party.
As you can guess, those two steps are a lot of work, and that’s why these clubs are often run as a business by the host who does the planning and shopping. At the very least, many hosts can feed their family for free with a few days of work.
Then on the day of the Food Prep Party, everyone gather’s and works together preparing meals for all the families involved.
At the end of the meal prep day, everyone pitches in to help clean up and then head off to home with days and days of prepared meals ready to be cooked at home, or even just reheated.
So Can You Run A Meal Prep Club From Home?
A Meal Prep Club doesn’t fit well into the regulations of most cities and counties.
Honestly, if we all asked our local Department of Health or Department of Agriculture if we could run a Meal Prep Club from our home, I expect we’d got a number of different answers that would range from…
- “No – It’s a food business, you need a licensed commercial kitchen.”
- “Well…maybe. As long as it’s just for friends who are all basically preparing their own food, you wouldn’t need a licensed kitchen.”
- “Umm…don’t ask don’t tell.”
- “It’s Fine. You are just shopping for ingredients, and everyone attending is preparing their own meals so you’re good to go.”
I’m not a lawyer, and I’m not giving legal advice. If it were me, I’d ask and frame it you to ask before starting one, but I’d also frame the question to lead to answer #4.
If you find out you can’t run a Meal Prep Club out of your home, then you can look for commercial kitchens in your community to rent. If you can find one in a church, they might not even charge you rent if you are providing a service for the families of your community.
A lot of people run Meal Prep Clubs for friends and family from their home and never even ask for permission.
What Kinds Of Meals Are Made At A Meal Prep Club Party?
It’s really up to the host and participants to decide what kind of meals are going to prepped at each Freezer Party.
I’ve seen clubs focused on one of types listed below, and other’s do a mixed menu each month.
Types Of Meal Prep Club Items
- CrockPot Meals In Ziplock Bags
- InstaPot Meals In Ziplock Bags
- Oven Ready Meals In Aluminum Pans
- Lunch Meals In Microwaveable Bowls
- Oven Ready Kid-Friendly Casseroles
How Much Do Meal Prep Clubs Charge?
This deserves a much larger article, but let’s at least cover the basics here.
Meal Prep Clubs decide the cost-per-participant with a basic formula.
Cost Of Ingredients + Wages For Host = Total Cost.
Total Cost / # Of Participants = Price Per Participant
Still, most people find that a meal prep club costs less than meal prepping on their own because of the savings of buying in bulk.
In addition to the savings, participants have a great time and get to try new recipes.
Alternate Names For A Meal Prep Club Business
This type of business is called a verity of things, but I believe that Meal Prep Club is the most common. If I’m missing an alternate name, please let me know in the comments below and I’ll update the article for future readers.
- Food Prep Party
- Freezer Meal Party
- Freezer Meal Club
- Freezer Prep Club / Party
- Meal Prep Partners Club
Pros Of Starting A Meal Prep Club From Home
- You can get paid while meal prepping for your own family.
- It doesn’t take a lot more time to meal prep shop for five families than it does to shop for one.
- With practice, planning family meal prep gets easy.
- You can design menus that are super easy to prepare, making the prep-day work easy.
- It’s a great excuse to hang out with your friends and make new friends.
- It’s fun!
Cons Of Starting A Home-Based Meal Prep Party Club
- Your friends are going to count on you getting the Meal Prep Planning right, and that adds some stress to the processes.
- You really need people to pre-pay for the Meal Prep Party so you don’t get stuck with extra groceries that you paid for.
- You’re going to have to figure out how to handle people (friends?) who don’t show up for the Meal Prep Party.
- You need space in your kitchen to prepare the meals for all of your friends.
- You might have some challenges keeping all that food at cold safe food handling temperatures before the prep party and after.
- The legality of running a business like this from your own home is not clear.
|Cost To Startup (Scale: $ to $$$$$)||$|
|Full Income or Side Hustle||Side Hustle|
|Income Potential (Scale: $ to $$$$$)||$$|
|Profit Margin (Scale: 📈 to 📈📈📈📈📈)||📈📈📈📈|
|Time To Build (Scale: ⏰ to ⏰⏰⏰⏰⏰)||⏰|
|Time To Run (Scale: ⏰ to ⏰⏰⏰⏰⏰)||⏰⏰|
|Complexity to Run (Scale: 🤹 to 🤹🤹🤹🤹🤹)||🤹🤹🤹|
Cost To Startup A Meal Prep Club At Home
There’s really no start-up cost associated with starting your own Meal Prep Club, unless you need anther refrigerator to store all of the ingredients.
You’re not going to be advertising this all over town.
You’re not going to be buying ingredients while guessing how many orders (participants) you are going to have, so you don’t have to buy ‘inventory’.
This is a cheap food business to start from home.
Is a Freezer Meal Club A Side-Hustle or a Full-Time Food Business?
As long as this is home-based, it’s going to be a side-hustle. And I think that’s were these food business idea belongs, as a side-hustle.
As you probably already know, my wife and I have been supporting our family with a home based Prepared Food Delivery Business for over fifteen years.
From 2010 through 2013, there were five different Out-Of-Home Food Prep Club Businesses started in our small city. All failed. The overhead just killed them, even with franchise support.
I honestly believe that a Meal Prep Club is a side-hustle business, but that doesn’t make it without great value.
If you are a stay-at-home mom (or dad), this is a way to have adult time while providing the majority of your family’s suppers for ‘free’. That doesn’t suck, right?
Likewise, if you are a person who loves meal prep planning and hanging out with friends, you can combine your passions and earn some spending cash too. Once again, that doesn’t suck.
So, are you going to get rich running a Meal Prep Party at home? Nope.
Can you make your life better? Yep.
What is the Income Potential For A Meal Prep Club Home Business?
I feel like a broken record, but know one is going to get rich running a Meal Prep Club. That’s okay.
What Is The Profit Margin For A Freezer Meal Club Home Business?
The profit margin for a Meal Prep Party Business is really great.
You don’t have to invest much into this business to make it a profitable and fun side-hustle.
Time To Build A Meal Prep Club Business
You don’t need a lot of clients to make this a great home-based food business. Just a handful of great friends, and a few alternatives, makes this a great and long-term foodie business that you can run from home.
That means that you need almost no time to build this business up…though you’ll need some time and practice to get really good at running a Meal Prep Club Business from home.
Time Required To Run A Meal Prep Party Business From Home
There’s not a lot of office work associated with running a Meal Prep Party. You’re not going to be spending time marketing, brand building, or networking.
However, during the week of a Meal Prep Club meeting, you’re going to have some days of work. That work includes:
- Making A Menu
- Finding Out Who Is Coming To the Meal Prep Party & Getting Their Money
- Making A Shopping List
- Organizing the Meal Prep Day
- Cleanup (with help from attendees)
So day-to-day, running a Meal Prep Club from home doesn’t take a lot of time, but leading up to the prep day is going to have some pretty intense days of work.
How Complex Is It To Run A Meal Prep Club?
It’s not terribly complex, except for compiling your combined shopping list and making sure that you have the right amounts of ingredients.
Fortunately, there are some great software packages to make this part of this home based food business much easier.
One of these days, I’ll find time to write about my favorite recipe software packages. If you want to see that article sooner than later, please let me know in the comments below.
Do you Need Employees To Run A Meal Prep Club From Home?
No, this is really a solopreneur food business…it works best with just a single owner / operator.
If you want to run a business like this with a friend, go for it, but you should really think long and hard before making it a full partnership. If the friendship gets stressed, there’s no reason to shut down a successful business.
I’m a fan of one owner with generals profit sharing for key employees (or friends in this case).
Conclusion About Starting A Meal Prep Club From Home
I love Meal Prep Clubs. They are a great way to socialize and help the families of your community.
If you can make some side income while running a food business like this that’s just gravy.
It’s also great practice for meal planning and shopping which are both great home-based food business ideas.
Go for it!