Bob Shallit

Fit-food company looking to markets beyond Sacramento

Fit Eats CEO Don Arnold is seen with meals ready for sale at his retail store in midtown Sacramento.
Fit Eats CEO Don Arnold is seen with meals ready for sale at his retail store in midtown Sacramento. Insight Public Relations

A Sacramento startup that prepares healthy meals for home delivery or sale at its own retail shops is about to take its act to the Bay Area and perhaps points well beyond.

Fit Eats, which started operations here in January 2014, is opening a kitchen in Hayward in the next few months with plans to deliver fresh, low-calorie meals to consumers in the Easy Bay and South Bay before tackling the San Francisco market.

That delivery business will be supplemented by the opening of the first of several retail stores there by early next year, said company CEO Don Arnold.

“It’s proof of concept,” Arnold, 31, said of the foray into the Bay Area.

Arnold also has just completed the legal paperwork necessary to franchise the business and reports he’s in talks with people interested in opening Fit Eats locations in Reno, Phoenix, Seattle and New York.

Arnold started Fit Eats by taking over a small local firm that was delivering a limited choice of food offerings to about 3,500 Sacramento-area residents each month.

The monthly customer count now has grown to about 18,000, Arnold said – with more than half of those meals being delivered to homes and businesses through online orders and the rest being sold at the company’s retail shops in midtown Sacramento and Roseville.

The company changes up its menus each week, offering a choice of about 40 different breakfast, lunch and dinner options, including meals tailored to those on Paleo and vegetarian diets. Sample entrees this week include Tofu Tacos and a Black and Bleu Bisonburger.

As a society, we’re all moving toward a more health-oriented lifestyle.

Don Arnold, CEO, Fit Eats

They range in cost from about $8 to $12 and top out at 400 calories for standard-size meals and 600 for larger ones.

The main appeal? “It’s the convenience,” Arnold said. “There’s no shopping, no cooking, no cleaning.”

And, he said, the company addresses a persistent knock on healthy food.

“One of the biggest complaints is that it’s boring,” he said. “We create new and exciting recipes that make it taste good.”

The company delivers meals to retirement communities, to professionals with limited time to prepare food and to members of the fitness community.

Fit Eats also does a good business taking meals to office denizens who sometimes find it hard to get away from their desks.

One big example in recent weeks: Folks working in tax preparation offices.

Making retirement work

Retirement is a tricky proposition. Some of us actually have to do it a couple of times before getting it right.

So local financial adviser Scott Hanson has written a book – available on Amazon on Friday – that takes some of the mystery out of the process.

Called “Personal Decision Points,” the 169-page paperback (Irish Canon Press, $19.95) is well-written, full of anecdotes from Hanson’s two decades as co-owner of Hanson McClain Investment Advisors and methodical in outlining the steps people should take if they want to enjoy retirement but also avoid running out of money before they die.

Among the topics: anticipating new costs in retirement, restructuring investments, tax planning, risk management and estate planning.

Some of the advice is common sense, like making more conservative investments as you get older.

Some is less obvious, such as being realistic about expenses after you leave work.

“Most people focus on the expenses that are going away, like (not needing) a fancy wardrobe or commuting costs,” Hanson said in an interview. But they don’t think about new sorts of expenses, such as traveling to see kids and grandchildren.

“You have extra time on your hands and it’s easy to spend (more) when you have ample time,” he said.

This is Hanson’s third book, and he reports he’s already at work on another – focusing on the social aspects of retirement. Things like remaining engaged in your community, developing rich personal relationships and developing new purposes in life.

As he put it, financial preparation is essential before leaving the working world “but you need to spend just as much time planning what your life is going to look like in retirement.”