My Muscle Chef expands into $55m Western Sydney facility
An Australian health food delivery business will flex its muscles with a new $55m facility in Western Sydney as it prepares to increase its output by 240 per cent.
My Muscle Chef announced it would move into a new “start-of-the-art” 10,000sq m manufacturing and logistics centre in Yennora, about 29km west of the Sydney CBD.
The new move forms part of a plan to bulk up the business output from the current 500,000 meals per week to over 1.2 million, said chief executive Tushar Menon.
The business had almost doubled year on year since 2019 when it was delivery about 75,000 meals per week, Mr Menon said.
“I remember thinking at that time that there’s no way we’re going get to that to keep up. Fast forward three and a half years and we’re doing 500,000 meals a week so the growth opportunities are definitely there,” he said.
Mr Menon started the business with his brother Nishant, who serves as chief technology officer, in 2013 out of a kitchen in Potts Point. Mr Menon, who exercises often, said at the time he was tired of preparing healthy meals to support his own training.
“I was making my meals every morning before I went into work, and I really got sick of doing and I thought surely there’s a better way and there’s other people in the same situation as I am,” he said.
“Surprisingly, at that time there was nothing available in our supermarkets. There was just your sort of old school frozen meals and nothing for someone like myself that needed meals that are high in protein and really wholesome.”
Today, My Muscle Chef has about 20 per cent market share of Australia’s ready-made meals market, recording $200m in revenue of the past 12 months.
The company’s main competitors are Light n Easy and Hello Fresh, who also compete in the market which is valued at $1bn.
My Muscle Chef’s move arrives as the nation’s food and delivery market has faced some serious headwinds over the past few months, suffering the sudden collapse of Deliveroo and 15-minute grocery deliverer Voly.
While My Muscle Chef operates in a slightly different space – primarily as a subscription model – recent collapses have left a mark on investors in the space.
Supermarket behemoths Coles and Woolworths have also muscled their way into the race for speedy delivery, a trend largely inspired by the Amazonification of business.
Woolworths offers 2-hour grocery delivery or 60 minutes via their Metro 60 service meanwhile Coles announced 60-minute delivery last week.
US delivery company DoorDash announced in November it was piloting a drone service in southeast Queensland to deliver groceries and healthcare items from a dark warehouse – the supermarket equivalent of a dark kitchen – in which businesses store items solely for the purpose of delivery.
Mr Menon said My Muscle Chef would continue to grow by focusing on a direct-to-consumer approach with meals available to try at 5000 retailers around the country including Woolworths, Coles and a number of fuel stations, he said.
The company has space to increase its headcount by 20 per cent in the new facility which will consolidate its current three Western Sydney facilities. By the end of 2023 the current staff count of about 500 will have grown by about 75 people, Mr Menon said.
The site will employ chefs, food technicians and engineers, quality testers as well as be home to the corporate side of the business with finance, marketing an product development teams.
Mr Menon said My Muscle Chef would continue to grow in Western Sydney where he grew up.
“I’m very passionate about investing in the Western Sydney area. We also source all of our products from Australian growers, sourcing 90 tonnes of vegetables and 70 tonnes of protein every week,” he said.
In line with the brand, the new facility includes a 130sq m gym that Mr Menon said almost rivals commercial gyms.
“It’s got all the bells and whistles from cardio and weight-lighting equipment and we’ve sourced personal trainers to come in to run sessions as well,” he said.