Franchesca Gonzales was a banker for 10 years. To keep up with a demanding schedule and eat well simultaneously, she would spend hours meal-prepping for the week. Then she started prepping meals for friends because it was easier to cook and buy in bulk.
“At that point, you’re making like a bunch of the same thing, or you’re spending two days to make a ton of money to go through that many ingredients. ... So I did that for a little bit until I decided what I was going to turn it into. Then, before I even knew it, it just started taking off,” Gonzalez said.
Prepping for friends turned into selling prepped meals floor by the floor in a Phoenix high-rise.
“It was just all word of mouth,” Gonzales explained, and now she has a storefront, a team of 10, and one of the largest meal-delivery service footprints in the Valley.
“I was doing everything myself and delivering and all that allowed me to build relationships and set a foundation for service,” She said. “[This] allowed me to move the entire Fuel to Fit
operation into a new Tempe location that had a larger kitchen and storefront.”
The move happened early in 2020, and Gonzales hoped to turn that storefront into a cafe. However, those plans were interrupted by the pandemic and restrictions on dining-in. Despite this initial setback, Gonzales continued to build up her team, build up advertising and churn out meals for busy customers.
(From top left) Mongolian beef with sauteed greens; chef’s salad; chicken tacos; healthy turkey bean chili; Jamaican jerk chicken and serrano slaw; and Thai basil turkey and coconut basmati rice.
Fuel to Fit
As of November, their café is up and running. They have a retail section and serve coffee, homemade breakfast food options, and an array of grab-and-go meals that change every week with their rotational menu. The Fuel to Fit café is open in Tempe on Sunday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and meals can be picked up on location.
Meals are all carefully balanced based on macros with regular size and large options available. For example, a regular meal with chicken has about the same nutritional balance as one with Fish or Beef. All regular meals have a ratio of 3 to 4 ounces of protein, one-half cup of veggies, and one-half cup of carbs. Large meals are twice that, and the Fuel to Fit team keeps a wide range of meal options available.
Gonzales says the top three meals she sells the most are their weekly taco rotation, protein bowls, and their “zoodle” option (zucchini cut like spaghetti noodles). The meals are cooked and prepped by the Fuel to Fit team twice a week to keep the selection fresh and exciting.
Meal packs start at $65, and individual meals are available a la carte starting at $9. Meals are easy to cook either by tossing in the microwave or heating up on a skillet. Several of the meals also freeze well to save for later like the turkey bean chili and the Mongolian beef with sautéed greens. Fuel to Fit also has a range of snacks, sauces, drinks, and other food items to make eating well a little easier.
That’s not all that sets them apart from the national meal services. Fuel to Fit has an in-house meal delivery team – this is comforting to anyone who’s called several shipping companies to track down why their box with raw beef is six days late.
As for what’s next, Gonzalez is grateful for her Fuel to Fit team that’s made their operation what it is, and she said, “I’m just really focused on providing a great service to our local community.”
Safe to say, the Fuel to Fit team is delivering.
Fuel to Fit
1900 East Apache Boulevard, Tempe
Walk-In store hours: Monday and Wednesday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.