Drive-through coffee shops, liquor stores and fast-food restaurants have been around for years, but Washington-based Zaycon Foods has come up with a new buy-without-leaving-your-car concept that is taking the country by storm: temporary drive-through meat markets – set up in local parking lots on specific dates – that save time and money as well as supplying the freshest meat you can buy short of raising it yourself.
Now delivering to more than 150,000 registered users in nearly 500 locations across 48 states, Zaycon Foods alerts customers of upcoming delivery dates in their area by email. Consumers can then place pre-paid online orders for products like chicken, ground beef, ham, bacon and fish in cases of 15 to 40 pounds, depending on the item. On the scheduled day, the company dispatches a refrigerated truck to the designated location and unloads orders directly into customers’ vehicles with the help of volunteers who do the heavy lifting in exchange for free product. Last year’s sales hit $9.7 million. The idea is catching on—even ABC Nightly News covered Zaycon.
All products are picked up directly from ranchers and processors as little as one day before the delivery date. They are also hormone-free and fresh – not frozen – where possible. Customers pay wholesale prices, with a typical 50% discount over retail meat departments, in part because they are buying in bulk and need to divide it up for storage. Example: fresh chicken breasts sell for as little as $1.69 a pound for a 40-pound case.
“The average American eats 90 pounds of chicken every year. At that rate, we can cut $600 off a family’s annual chicken bill. At the same time, our chicken is in customers’ homes within just a few days after it is slaughtered compared to 15 to 20 days for the typical grocery store,” said Zaycon Foods co-owner Mike Conrad. “That combination of freshness, value and drive-through convenience is bringing more customers to our virtual door every day.”
Zaycon Foods was founded in 2010 with a $1,500 investment by Conrad’s brother, JC, a former grocery store meat department manager who started buying meat in bulk for his family to economize and thought other people would embrace the idea as well. Mike Conrad and cousin Adam Kremin joined the company soon after and are the principals today.
“This is a business whose time has clearly come. Our base of registered customers has doubled in the last year, we add an average of 100 delivery locations annually, and most sales events sell out almost as soon as we announce them – including one event we held recently in Boise that served 1,400 vehicles in three hours,” Kremin said. “By combining online ordering, group buying and car pickup, we have literally invented a new way of buying meat with no physical building, no membership fees, and no weekly trips to the store. It’s fresher, faster and cheaper, and that’s why it’s working.”
Registration is free, and new locations are added as soon as enough people in an area sign up. Zaycon Foods also operates a referral program that enables members to obtain free or significantly reduced price product based on the number of referrals, reducing the family food budget even more.
For more information, visit www.zayconfoods.com.