I had the pleasure of interviewing Scott Harris. Scott Harris is the founder and CEO of DeliverLean, a healthy gourmet meal delivery service and large-scale food manufacturer. Since inception, Harris scaled his boutique meal delivery service into a food manufacturing behemoth with 300-plus employees, producing over 5 million meals annually in Hollywood, Florida out of a 60,000 square foot USDA/FDA-certified commercial kitchen.
DeliverLean’s portfolio spans 5 nutrition-based brands; including partnerships with Whole Foods, Aramark, Amtrak, Humana, Barnes & Noble, Brightline, Cleveland Clinic, Baptist Health South Florida; and contracts with Super Bowl LIV, Miami Boat Show and Art Basel.
Since DeliverLean’s inception in 2011, Harris was focused on wellness and bridging the gap between eating well and meaningful health outcomes. Initially, he emphasized employee productivity and consumer health through better nutrition, but the goal was always to collaborate with insurance companies to elevate the company into a fully funded healthcare initiative. In 2020, Harris introduced DeliverLean CARE, the first of its kind plan to provide medically-tailored meals to the healthcare community in partnership with Humana and CarePlus Health Plans.
The culmination of nearly a decade of hard work, DeliverLean has a 360 approach to wellness by reaching consumers, wholesale partners and healthcare institutions and patients.
This year, during the onset of COVID-19, Harris launched DeliverLean Cares, a philanthropic division designed to help families in need during the pandemic. Through this effort, Harris has donated over 100,000 meals in coordination with partners including NBA Hall of Famer Alonzo Mourning’s Overtown Youth Center, The Miami Marlins and Inter Miami CF Soccer Team. Also, Harris spearheaded DeliverLean’s effort to provide hundreds of thousands of meals to homebound seniors during the crisis in coordination with Miami Dade County.
Harris directs growth strategy at DeliverLean, disrupting the traditional grab-n-go market and breaking records by producing high quality products while maintaining transparency of ingredients and providing convenient, healthy and affordable meals without sacrificing quality. Harris’ leadership has earned him the title of Endeavor Global Entrepreneur in 2014 and as a finalist for Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2015, as well as profiles in Fast Company and the Wall Street Journal. As a respected thought leader, he mentors emerging business students and speaks on panels throughout the state on health and wellness topics.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Thank you for having me. I started DeliverLean in 2011 when I saw my employee’s productivity was low during and after lunch time. They constantly struggled to figure out what they were doing to eat and when the time came, they typically selected unhealthy items. I conceptualized DeliverLean to first feed my employees healthy, balanced meals and grew the business into a wellness and lifestyle brand.
Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey?
Growing the consumer side of the businesses was challenging at first. We had to learn how to determine the amount of sales and food to order. Then once we expanded our footprint in South Florida, we had to move to a new facility which brought more challenges and growth to the company which we have now expanded into GRABNGO, fresh pressed juices and Senior Meals.
Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?
By offering healthy, balanced meals I knew we were helping people make a big lifestyle change. Nothing makes me happier than seeing people get healthy on DeliverLean.
If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self regarding life lessons, things you would like him to know what would they be and why?
Don’t sweat the small stuff. There are bigger obstacles that will arise throughout your career that will be much more challenging than the little things you thought were going to hurt your business.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
DeliverLean is not a diet or a fad, we’re in the business of helping people change their lifestyle. In the last 10 years we have grown into so much more diving into many different sectors. Going into the senior meal industry has been instrumental in our growth and into our national program.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
It’s always important to take a step back and trust your team. I’ve learned over the last several years that without myself, none of this would be possible.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Team work makes the dream work! The DeliverLean team has really helped the company accomplish so much and where we are today. Without the tireless effort our team dedicates every day, we wouldn’t be where we are today.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
When the pandemic started, we knew we had to step up for our South Florida community. We formed a strategic partnership with Alonzo Mourning and the Overtown Youth Center to provide meals to underserved inner city families in downtown Miami. Since we started the partnership with Alonzo, we have distributed over 20,000 meals and 80,000 non-perishable items and are continuing our partnership as normal life begins to resume as there is still a need. We also formed partnerships with two major South Florida sports teams — Inter Miami CF and Miami Marlins to distribute non-perishables to those in need for several weeks. All in all over the last 3 months we have donated over 100,000 meals to families in need in South Florida.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started my company” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
1. One step at a time
2. Build your team carefully
3. Take risks
4. Know not everything will work out
5. You’ll never stop coming up with new ideas
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
As a community we need to continue changing the mindset on eating. No matter your age — child, teenager, adult — there is a way to get healthy and still enjoy delicious, tasty meals. How can we work together to achieve a healthier community?
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Follow me on Instagram @mr.scottharris and @deliverlean.