The Real Good Life’s Recipe for Success: EasyRoutes and Community-Minded Meal Delivery
"EasyRoutes has taken a 6 hour a week job and turned it into a single hour. Great tool that works seamlessly with our Shopify store.”
When Maggie Skarich Joos founded The Real Good Life (TRGL) in 2016, cooking meals for friends and neighbours from a local church kitchen felt like the perfect fit for a lifelong lover of food and flavour. Fast forward seven years and TRGL, now operating out of a kitchen of their very own, has grown exponentially into one of Milwaukee’s top meal delivery services. Boasting two unique, family-friendly menus per week that include a rotating array of fan favourite dishes (and often a culinary surprise or two courtesy of Executive Chef Sean Pickarts), TRGL uses EasyRoutes to deliver to hundreds of hungry customers across Milwaukee County.
During peak season, meals need to be delivered quickly and efficiently to 150 customers, twice a week. With a delivery zone extending up to 25 miles from TRGL’s kitchen in Wauwatosa, this required an often complicated and tedious route optimization process. TRGL’s Director of Operations, Ryan Buenning, found their previous route planning workflows and software inadequate: “The sequencing or the route optimization was not good. It would constantly optimize. I could never get it to work.”
TRGL’s delivery coordinator recognized the efficiencies that could be realized by migrating their virtual storefront to Shopify, and using an app that integrates seamlessly with the Shopify platform. After giving EasyRoutes’ powerful route optimization tool a try, Buenning was also quickly convinced: “That part of EasyRoutes has been terrific. EasyRoutes has taken a 6 hour a week job and turned it into a single hour.”
EasyRoutes’ hassle-free driver onboarding and route dispatch features have further streamlined TRGL’s local delivery workflows. Instead of a time-consuming process of registering and creating profiles for each new driver, EasyRoutes allows Shopify merchants like TRGL and Buenning to quickly add drivers and dispatch individual routes using each driver’s phone number: “I like onboarding new people. The fact I'm just sending them a text.” EasyRoutes’ flexibility for adding and removing active drivers has proven invaluable, enabling TRGL to both scale their delivery operation to accommodate customer demand, and keep costs in check outside of each week’s two designated delivery days.
As a Shopify-based merchant, Buenning also appreciates EasyRoutes’ seamless integration with the Shopify platform and admin: “The fact that it's built in with Shopify where all our orders are, and it all plays nicely together is super too. It allows for stepping in and stepping out much more seamlessly.” Once meals are on the move, TRGL’s drivers use the EasyRoutes Delivery Driver app to navigate their routes and provide customers with updates along the way. “We’re using the picture capture for Proof of Delivery - that's been a huge deal,” notes Buenning, touching on one of EasyRoutes’ features that provides merchants and customers alike the added peace of mind of successful delivery confirmation.
Saving time and resources with EasyRoutes has allowed TRGL to continue delivering on two pillars of their mission statement: giving back to the local community and highlighting the wide array of flavours on offer throughout Milwaukee. Donating 2% of all gross sales to Hunger Task Force, Milwaukee’s only free and local food bank, is just the start. “We’re a people first organization,” says Buenning. “That was very important starting off for our founder, Maggie, and we all echo that same sentiment.”
TRGL was particularly well positioned during the COVID-19 pandemic, able to attract new customers who suddenly found themselves with far fewer options for a quick, easy, and delicious meal. ”Our niche is tailor made for pandemic stuff, right? I'm staying at home and we'll deliver it right to you. So we launched a local flavor program, where we get entrées from local businesses that might have been struggling at the time,” adds Buenning. “We've actually just continued that on - it's largely to get money in the pockets of folks that are just starting off and entrepreneurial, with a special focus on people of color and people of other minority groups.”
When asked about plans for TRGL’s future growth, Buenning indicates that this dedication to the community will remain a guiding principle: “The vision for our next space would be a collaborative type kitchen for food trucks, for people getting off the ground. The absolute dream would be to support other businesses’ launch from that facility.” As TRGL continues to thrive and evolve, affirming their position as a reliable and community-oriented meal delivery service, EasyRoutes proudly supports their local delivery operations. With the ideal combination of dedication, flavour, and efficiency, TRGL stands as a testament to what passion paired with the right tools can achieve in creating a positive impact on businesses and the communities they serve.
If you're in Milwaukee and hungry for a taste of The Real Good Life, visit TheRealGoodLife.com to place your order today!