I am enjoying interviewing professionals and mom bosses about their line of work or their side hustles. Today I am sharing an interview with Muriel of the What’sForDinner meal planning tool.
Tell us about yourselves and the WhatsForDinner online meal planning tool.
I (Muriel) am an engineer, wife and grateful mom of 7yo b/g twins. Erin (my co-founder) is a very talented designer and one of the most positive people that I know. We built What’sForDinner because we were tired of figuring out (drumroll please) “what’s for dinner today?”. Our online meal planning tool allows you to generate a meal plan for your family in less than 60 seconds! Buying the week’s groceries in one go avoids last-minute trips to the grocery store, saving you both time and money.
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What inspired you to start a business to make a meal planning tool?
Equality between men and women has always been an important theme in my life. I care not only about gender equality in the workplace, but also at home. Having found a wonderful partner means that me and my husband split the “to-do’s” 50/50 and that’s great. But there’s a different type of work, an invisible type of work which cannot be split. I call it the “figuring out that” work and I am the person in our household who does that. From talking with friends I’ve come to learn that it’s the same for many other households: figuring out that a kid needs to go to the dentist, figuring out that we need to buy a gift for a birthday party, figuring out dance lessons for our daughter, etcetera, etcetera is usually done by women. This emotional labour is unrecognized and goes unthanked. I wanted to find a way to lighten this burden for women. That’s why we built What’sForDinner – because figuring out what’s for dinner today, every day, 7 days a week is a really tough chore. I wanted to make this as easy as possible.
Give us some examples of the look and feel of the tool.
Generating a meal plan in What’sForDinner is super easy – you simply swipe through some recipes (right to add to your meal plan, left to skip), and voilà, just like that your grocery list for the week has been generated.
You can now choose to have your grocery list sent to your inbox, or we can deliver the groceries directly to your door, from your local grocery store.
We do everything in our power to make sure that the recipes are things that your kids will eat and that is healthy. Originally all recipes in our database were hand selected by a nutritionist & our smart algorithm makes sure that you see recipes that you like. Because nobody wants to try something new 7 days a week, we also made it easy for you to add your family favorite recipes to your personalized recipe book.
How are you doing the grocery delivery from the local grocery store? Are you partnering with a third party like Shipt, or directly going to order from the grocery store per the user’s home address?
We’re directly ordering groceries from your local grocer & delivering it to your home through them.
When I had the tool send me the shopping list it came with a list of ingredients and links to the blog post for the recipe, rather than having the recipe housed in the tool. So is this tool like a mini Pinterest for this week’s selected recipes?
We don’t create any recipes ourselves and there’s a good reason for that: there are already millions of recipes on the internet so no need to create more. The most important thing we do is to filter those recipes to ones that are (1) healthy (2) easy and (3) fits your taste. Originally all recipes were added to our library by a nutritionist to ensure that they meet this criteria. Now we have a smart filter in place to ensure that the recipes uploaded by users are shown to other users who might like them. Pinterest for recipes, yes, that’s a great way to describe it!
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Is there an app to download or is this all on the website link?
There is no app – just the website (saves you some space on your mobile phone ;). You will get a weekly reminder text which also logs you in and takes you directly to the main menu, no need to type (and retype) username and passwords!
How does your tool help busy moms?
If you’re already meal planning, What’sForDinner will save you time – meal planning (which can take up to an hour) can now be done in less than 60 seconds. If, on the other hand, you’re currently doing groceries on a daily basis, you will save not only time but also money: buying the week’s groceries at once avoids both trips to and impulse buys at the store. When your kids ask you “what’s for dinner today?”, you’ll have an answer (and ingredients) ready. Our goal is to make sure that dinner is delicious, nutritious and something that the kids will want to eat!
What are some of your favorite things about running your business?
I really like the creative process of building and improving a product that I know will help others. The best part of my job is when one of our users tells me that we’ve made their life easier, even if it’s in a small way. It makes my day, every time!
What were some challenges you ran into when starting your business?
I think the hardest thing for me was that there were several people who didn’t believe in our idea. It took me a long time before I realized that these are people who have someone else in their lives doing the “figuring out what” work for them.
Any advice you want to give moms?
Heh, I don’t really feel like I’m the type of mom who should be giving advice to others 😉 I just do my best, sometimes I fail. If anything, I guess this: if somebody doesn’t believe in your ideas, it often has nothing to do with you and can be attributed to a lack of experience from the other person. Don’t lose faith – hang out with people who cheer you on!
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