When I first heard of Dinner Twist and its simple concept I thought, “What a great solution!”, then proceeded to do nothing about it for quite a while. Sound familiar? It took our family quite a few months (and moving in next door to their office) to stop procrastinating and order our first box. At the risk of sounding a bit cliche, we never looked back!
If you haven’t had the pleasure, the concept is simple: Dinner Twist will plan, recipe test, shop and deliver your weekly meals while all you have to do is cook them! In modern life where most parents work and there is already lots to think about and accomplish daily, this local business solves at least one problem that pops up around 5pm every day: What are we going to cook? Do we have the right ingredients? How long will it take? Can I be bothered? … bugger, let’s have beans on toast (which is shortly followed by the sultry sounds of family complaints).
The box comes full to the bream with locally sourced vegetables, meat, fish and pantry items as well as a book of recipes for the week ahead. My family of four very good eaters find them tasty (without fail), quick and easy, healthy, generous and satisfying. And always with a twist!
Chris and My Tistrand are the couple behind the business that is quickly becoming the talk of the town.
My & Chris, you brought the idea of Dinner Twist from Sweden to Australia. Can you tell us more about the background of your business and its early days?
We always knew that one day we would run a business together – but we didn’t know it would be a food business and we sure didn’t know it would be on the other side of the planet! The concept has been around in Sweden for quite some years and is very popular as it saves time and brings the fun back in to cooking healthy meals.
On a trip back home we had dinner with friends when the doorbell rang. It was their delivery of fresh produce and matching recipes. Our friends (and maybe the wine) got us inspired and we decided then and there to take the concept to Perth, that was September 2011 and the first dinner box was sold in March 2012!
We’ve gone from delivering 5 boxes spread all over Perth in a friends cooled van to a team of 20 delivering hundreds of boxes out of our 400 sqm cool-room in Fremantle.
Being successful requires innovation and always being ahead of the game. How do you think ‘outside the box’ to deliver an outstanding service to your customers every week?
From the start, we have tried our best to offer a quality product at an affordable price. The fresh food industry has very low margins with short shelf life which is a tough combination. By using technology, such as SMS ordering, automatic payments, automatic book keeping and routing software on iPads we minimize the hours spent and the risk of errors.
In saying that – our success comes down to a dedication that is now shared by our team members and passionate suppliers. They do an amazing job week after week!
We often hear that working with your spouse is a recipe for disaster. You two get along famously! What’s the secret?
Boundaries are crucial. In the beginning we kept overstepping on each others responsibilities and at time took great pleasure in pointing out when the other made a mistake. We quickly realized we had to have a clear split of who does what, that’s when My focused on the creative side and Chris on the operational. And of course it helps that when we don’t get along in the office we can fight it out in Swedish!
I believe we all get challenged – in business and in life – before arriving at success. Tell us about a time when things didn’t go the way you wanted.
When we first came to Australia in 2009, we struggled to feel a sense of belonging. We were continuously discussing where to live, where to go next, back to Sweden or not. At the same time Chris was frustrated working for large, slow moving corporates. As we had our first child, we were somewhat unhappy with our situation. Raising our child and starting Dinner Twist really gave us a sense of purpose and commitment to Perth. We are now feeling at home every day and hope to call Perth home for a long time to come.
Are there any surprising facts about you that not many people know? Perhaps an unusual hobby or something on your bucket list that’s yet to be ticked off?
We love to travel – before (and if..) we leave Australia, we want to get ourselves a motor-home and drive around this beautiful, friendly continent!
What is your absolute favourite part about running Dinner Twist?
Dinner is such a personal and valuable time for people. We love being invited to dinner tables around Perth every week.
Our customers are so generous telling us how Dinner Twist has a positive impact on their health, well being and quality of life. It makes us stoked and proud every time!
A proud and very exciting milestone was achieved last week, and your team was there to celebrate! Chris, you shared stories of perseverance in the early days, when it seemed Dinner Twist wasn’t going forward. Looking back we understand those obstacles were necessary and lead the company where you are today. What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs who are starting off in business and may face great challenges?
Dinner Twist is now a growing and thriving business with 20+ staff. But on that journey, we have been so close to throwing in that messy kitchen towel many times.
It took us much longer and cost much more than we expected to reach the customer base required for a healthy business. It was pure determination and the fact that we had invested so much that made us keep going. And for some magic reason, when we were about to give up – a customer would send us an email of how life changing our product was and we would get reinvigorated for another month!
There are two common mistakes in a startup and we were guilty of both. We underestimated the time it would take to build a large enough customer base and we underestimated our overheads. A big learning BUT, if we had calculated correctly, we would never have embarked on the Dinner Twist roller coaster and we absolutely love what we do!
Ordering process is simple: head to their website and pick the perfect option to suit your family! There is no lock-in contract if you decide to try, NOW is the best time! Dinner Twist is offering one of you a FREE Family Box for 4 people with extra fruit! Comment below to be in the running. We’ll draw the winner next Wednesday, the 23rd September!