Blue Apron’s CEO Talks About the Meal-Kit Company's Coronavirus Revival

Long-ailing Blue Apron had almost been given up for dead. Then came Covid and a rush of homebound customers for its meal kits. Its CEO is counting on some of that kitchen love outlasting the pandemic.

What have you learned about your business during the pandemic?

That no matter what happens as restaurants open, people have gotten a lot more confident in the kitchen, and they plan on continuing to cook at home. And they want interesting solutions to help them think about how to make that time more connected to family and less focused on preparation and planning.

Have you had problems with your supply chain and logistics?

Oftentimes, we’re sourcing from the same places that restaurants source from. So we’re able to get really high-quality ingredients and had minimal disruption. When we have had a disruption, we can just swap recipes between weeks to make sure we’re getting the freshest possible products.

Have you had to tweak your product?

Simplicity is key when faced with rapidly changing environments. So early on, we did make some modifications to our menu, to streamline some of the recipe availability to make it faster and easier to pack and manage logistics. Over time, we’ve reintroduced that complexity. We’re already back up to full service on our family menu, and very close to full variety on our two-person menu. We’re going to continue that, along with introducing the new products and variety.

Let’s talk about the gorilla in the room: Amazon. Are you worried about it coming into your business?

I’m less focused on whether big players that might focus on multiple things are going to come into the space, and more on how can we actually make the best product, because this is all we do—and we’re experts at it. Our culinary authority and [ability] to create restaurant-quality experiences on an individual basis in every person’s home, that’s really most important to me.

Interviews are edited for clarity and length. Listen to Bloomberg Businessweek With Carol Massar and Jason Kelly, weekdays from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. ET on Bloomberg Radio.

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