Diet-to-Go Blog
  1. How Diet-to-Go Went from a Mom-And-Pop Shop to Successful Diet Delivery Company

    The story of Diet-to-Go's Success

    Longtime Customers, Longtime Success

    When Diet-to-Go customer Joe Craw started his meal plan in 1991, he didn’t realize just how far he would go with it.

    But healthy meals, controlled for portion size and delivered right to his door?

    That, plus the variety and taste, was enough.

    Joe, a longtime distance runner, has never left the program — and he’s not alone. Carol. Greg. Those are just a few of the names of Diet-to-Go customers who have been part of the program for 20 years or more — real people who take advantage of the company’s healthy, balanced, chef-prepared meal plans every day.

    They also represent everything Diet-to-Go is about — helping its customers lose weight or maintain a healthy weight for life.

    Quality In - Quality Out

    Getting that loyal customer base, plus the thousands of customers the company serves today has been one heck of a journey. The company, founded in 1991 in Lorton, Virginia, has for over 25 years outlasted the ever-changing food and diet industry, picking up a devoted following and touched thousands of lives along the way.

    That’s because at its core, Diet-to-Go’s mission and practices stay the same: to fill people’s need for convenient, healthy meals that taste good, too.

    “It’s the standards that we keep, the quality of the ingredients, our scheduling, our control on everything we do,” said Hilton Davis, Diet-to-Go CEO. “Whether it’s someone making a muffin recipe, to cooking a center-of-the-plate protein, to people packaging a complete meal...every process we do has procedures and standards.”

    Facility Prep

    Those standards start each day at 2 a.m., when sanitation workers arrive at Diet-to-Go headquarters to start prepping the facility and get ready for the orders that have poured in the day before.

    Meal Prep

    By 6 a.m., most of the kitchen staff, which makes up 70 percent of Diet-to-Go’s 95 workers, are there, busy with pre-operational procedures. And by the time 7 a.m. rolls around, it’s all hands on deck — everyone’s baking, cooking, slicing, dicing, you name it.


    Customers Dine, Rain or Shine

    Diet-to-Go has to be a full-on, seven-day operation — five of which include distribution for the company’s national mail-order, fresh pick-up and fresh delivery operations. It’s the only way the company can ensure it sends out the highest quality food to customers.

    Rachel Burdo Headshot“We always laugh when people ask us if we’re closed on snow days and holidays, because if we were customer orders wouldn’t get made,” said Rachel Burdo, Vice President of Administrative Services. Burdo has been with the company for 20 years.

    “Cooking, plating, packaging, we do it all right here,” she added. “It’s a lot of ‘make-it-or-break-it’ kind of stuff. Even when the volume is crazy or the weather is bad, we we still have to get the orders out.”

    And the orders have to taste good, too. That’s priority one, even though it can make things more difficult, Burdo added.

    “If you think about what would be easier ... it would be easier to outsource or take one week a month to cook and stick it in a freezer,” she said. “And sure, we could do that. But what we’re going to serve Tuesday, those ingredients arrive Saturday. That’s why the food is fresh. That’s what takes all the effort. It’s fresh ingredients — that’s what goes out as the fresh product.”

    Quality Ingredients Have Been A Passion for Decades

    Diet-to-Go was actually placing orders with local farms and specialty ingredient shops “before it was the hot thing,” Burdo said.

    “We have found a lot of local producers and we use a lot of local products, as much as we possibly can,” Davis added. “You get quality, a fresher product, and sometimes a more unique product.”

    Even when they can’t buy local, Diet-to-Go staff make sure to buy from good companies — companies they’ve worked with for a long time.

    “We buy top notch ingredients from the best resources we can find — the highest quality meats, pre-washed fresh veggies, and it's because we care about the quality as well as the safety,” said John Stewart, Executive Vice President of Diet-to-Go and a 24-year veteran in the company.

    Healthy, Delicious Options

    Diet-to-Go meals ready for delivery

    Besides tasting good, the meals have to be varied — and Diet-to-Go chooses to follow strict, national recommended guidelines that fit within nutritional specifications to ensure they’re healthy, too.

    “The meal plans follow evidence-based guidelines. We don’t take chances with fad diets,” Davis said, adding that Diet-to-Go employees are constantly documenting customer feedback to improve.

    To ensure flavor and variety, Diet-to-Go also brings in guest chefs and uses specialized software to calculate nutrition and calorie counts.

    “We do it because we want to give people more variety, get what you like,” Burdo said. "We just try to provide more options.”

    And those efforts with customers go beyond the kitchen, too.

    Customer Experience Is Key

    A high-quality customer experience is priority one, said Diet-to-Go President Mary Beth Riordan, who has been with the company since 1992.

    “As part of the customer experience, we encourage customizing the menu,” Riordan said. “You get to choose what you like. People can, meal by meal, customize their menu.”

    And they'll do so by using the online menu tools or by talking to one of Diet-to-Go's seasoned, on-site customer service representatives, like Laura Salmon, pictured below.

    Burdo added that Diet-to-Go customer service representatives are big on making things right and ensuring customers are happy at all times.

    “We try to leave them with that feeling of even if something happened, they say ‘OK they made it right,’” Burdo said. 

    Making sure customers have the best experience starts with the staff, Burdo said.

    “We don’t outsource our customer service like a lot of our competitors do,” she said. “Everyone’s here. This allows us to personally look into any issues or problems and actually fix them." 

    "We also have a positive work environment and an incredible staff of very dedicated individuals. They want to help our customers, and it shows,” she added.

    Standing the Test of Time

    Of Diet-to-Go’s 95 employees, 20 percent have been with the company for 12 years or more.

    “That’s one of the reasons we do so well,” Burdo said.

    Hiring Great People and Taking Care of Them

    Diet-to-Go looks for people whose philosophies are in-sync with the brand — people who believe in taking a common sense, balanced approach to healthy living, according to Riordan.

    “We give them the tools to be successful,” she said. “We do whatever we can to support our folks and let them know we have their back.”

    And that support runs deep — Diet-to-Go has invested in their employees throughout the decades. “[We] feel it was the right thing to do, and it’s fostered incredible loyalty," Riordan said.

    Cultivating Happy Customers

    The retention resonates with customers too. For marketing purposes, Diet-to-Go turns to real customers — not paid actors — to tell their story and share their experiences with the company.

    Diet-to-Go Real Testimonials

    “We don’t hire actors because we don’t have to,” Burdo said. “The before-and-after stories we have, we pulled from our current customers, and it is really successful.”

    Starting With Really Great Food

    Davis said it’s possible to do that because Diet-to-Go, unlike many of its competitors, worries about the quality and taste of the food first, and then builds from there.

    “Our model is to start with the food and go ground-up. We’re a food company, not a marketing company,” he said.

    “That's why we produce a product we're so proud of — customers come, and they stay,” Stewart added.

    And it’s that philosophy that Davis said he believes will help the now 26-year-old company continue to outlast competitors, as well as new convenient-food and weight loss concepts that enter the market.

    “We have a narrow niche, it’s weight loss, healthy eating,” he said. “We’re so successful because we’ve created this atmosphere of customer service and efficient operations. We don’t try to be a company we’re not.” 


    Author: Caitlin H
    Diet-to-Go Community Manager

    Caitlin is the Diet-to-Go community manager and an avid runner. She is passionate about engaging with others online and maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle. She believes moderation is key, and people will have the most weight loss success if they engage in common-sense healthy eating and fitness.


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