Kate Save, Co-founder and CEO of Be Fit Food, talks to The Ortus Club’s Sabrina Manansala about the importance of passion and ingenuity across a growing organisation, as well as her company’s proven approach to recruitment.
To watch Kate’s interview, you can subscribe to our Ortus Chats interview series on Youtube. You can also listen to the interview on Spotify or pour yourself a cup of coffee and read the full interview below.
Can you give us a one-sentence summary of your company?
Be Fit Food is a doctor and dietitian-designed, scientifically formulated, home-delivered meals company that delivers rapid weight loss of 5 kilos in 2 weeks.
Can you describe the of role a CEO in one word? Why?
Inclusive. I guess my role as the CEO in the business includes every aspect of the business. There’s nothing in the business that I don’t contribute to. I consider the big picture amongst our team, so I think that the role is very inclusive.
What current challenges are CEOs facing right now? Can you identify a solution?
One of the biggest challenges, I guess, with COVID is not really understanding what the future might look like and for us in Melbourne, Victoria, we’ve had the hardest lockdowns in the world. I think that’s put a lot of strain on all aspects of the business and more so with our third-party providers, specifically our logistics providers and the warehousing. They are stuck for staff and resources and there’s also been a lot of additional costs that were coming to the business.
The solution for us is really to just be creative around different methods and different opportunities that we can find in the pandemic to be able to market to new audiences and grow the business in a way that really starts to overcome some of these costs on the other side of the business.
How do you explain the success you’ve had in your career?
So, Be Fit Food was developed around 10 years ago now. A weight loss surgeon and I got together and looked at the industry as a whole. We could see that there was no real solution out there for people that wanted to lose weight rapidly and not regain that weight back in the long term. So, we wanted to create a real food or whole food solution, where people could eat breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks that would teach them healthy eating behaviours and help them get healthier from the inside out.
Our program shrinks the liver, reduces the fat storage hormone insulin, reduces blood sugar levels, and, by changing the physiology within the body, enables the side effect of weight loss. However, the effects go wider than that, so it actually helps give people better gut health. By doing that, the gut connects to the brain and makes them feel happier. It helps with their mental well-being as well as their overall physical health.
Can you tell us about a time you took a major risk in your career?
The biggest risk I’ve taken to date was really going on Shark Tank. I’m not sure if you know of Shark Tank, the television show. It took me three months to prepare. I watched every episode ever made, wrote down every question ever asked, and I made sure that I knew everything about my business, including every number.
When I auditioned for the show and was successful, the filming was nearly 3 hours of being interrogated in front of the 5 judges. Then, they edited it back to just the piece that they wanted, and that was quite terrifying because you wonder how the television studio is going to edit the footage.
Fortunately, we were successful. But, on the flip side of that, not being successful could have been quite detrimental to my reputation and that of Jeff Draper, the bariatric surgeon, being leading medical professionals. You don’t want to go on a show like that and come off worse off than where you went in.
I think our product has all of the science of research and the evidence to show that it works and our reason for going on Shark Tank was really to find a quality business mentor and someone like Janine Allis as an investor in Be Fit Food. She’s created brands like Boost and Retail Zoo. She’s a female founder as well as a leader who has scaled a business successfully and is someone to look up to.
How can you see your role evolving in the next two to three years?
Our company’s only seven going on eight years old. However, the concept for the business was developed before we launched. Jeff and I had a working relationship seeing patients together. We’ve seen over 20,000 patients for both weight loss clinics and his weight loss surgery, as well.
It took us a few years to really develop this product that we wanted to take to market. Over the first couple of years, there was a lot of time spent in product development, trialling, testing the market and the marketing, finding the right customer for our product. It was really only in the last 4 years that we’ve been able to really scale the business.
We grew at 1500% overnight at some point, and we did 100% growth year-on-year for five years. That rapid growth showed us that there was a huge demand for the product that we have, and my role as a business of scale has really become a lot more of managing people, finding the right team, and building the right culture in the business.
Our number one value in the business is for the love of it, so we only employ people that are passionate about health and improving the health of others. They have to have empathy because a lot of people that are going through their weight loss journey have had sadness, trauma, or something in their life that’s made them want to change how they look and how they feel, and they want to feel better about themselves. Our company is really about helping people feel better and, at the same time, achieve better health as well as the body and the shape that they’ve wanted. Most importantly, we know it’s about how they feel, so it’s really about hiring a team that wants to help people feel better.
What career advice would you like to share with CEOs?
The most important thing is hiring a team that is smarter than you and recognising that you don’t need to know or be the best at everything. You need to have a really smart, trustworthy team that’s loyal and that loves what they do. They will give because they want to give. I think it’s very much about a relationship with the team where you give to them and then they give back rather than that taking type relationship just for money. It comes back to our number one value of the love for the work. One of our other values is hiring those people that’ll do whatever it takes because they want to, and they love what they’re doing.
“The most important thing is hiring a team that is smarter than you and recognising that you don’t need to know or be the best at everything. You need to have a really smart, trustworthy team that’s loyal and that loves what they do. They will give because they want to give.”