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Meet Mariana Rossano of Z.E.N. Foods in Sun Valley

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mariana Rossano.

Mariana Rossano is an entrepreneur with 17+ years’ experience in the Healthy Food Delivery Business. She has proved that with diligence and hard work, you can still raise money in a bad economic climate. She has an eclectic group of investors from doctors, nutritionists, pro-athletes and other fellow entrepreneurs who are successful in their own right and have faith in her ability.

Mariana’s career and compilation of health knowledge began in the personal fitness industry and from there expanded into a consultant position at the famed Zone Gourmet in New York during its infancy stage. The instinctive marketing acumen of Ms. Rossano contributed to the organizations rapid growth and overwhelming success and positioned her to open and head Zone Gourmet in Los Angeles as the regions’ Chief Operating Officer. She then helped pioneer the development of a program for rapid weight loss at Hemma Foods (called Atkins at Home) and helped structure the world’s first oxygenated nationwide delivery program called Zone Nation. Both innovative programs were an extension of Zone Gourmet.

As Chief Operations Officer of Zone Gourmet, she oversaw and maintained all facets of business operations including managing the facilities staff of 130 employees. This included sales, customer service, quality control, menu and food preparation, deliveries, marketing and public relations. During her six year tenure with Zone Gourmet, Ms. Rossano established a customer base well into the thousands. She expeditiously learned and mastered the nutritional requirements of the programs to assure customer satisfaction and retention. When she left Zone Gourmet, she went on to create Fresh Dining as Co-Founder and President. Fresh Dining was a concept similar to Zone Gourmet, yet her vision was to create the business with a more distinct focus on the food. While at Fresh Dining, all menus were created by Ms. Rossano from her experience in knowing what clients love to eat, as well as what makes them healthy. She brought to Fresh Dining not only her invaluable experience, but a knowledgeable staff and a huge following of loyal clientele. Her efforts also included the job of Director of Marketing. She proved that marketing can be done inexpensively when done in-house, yet still be hugely successful.

Mariana’s marketing and networking efforts include physicians, dieticians, nutritionists, athletes, agents, entertainers and personal trainers to name a few. She maintains solid ongoing relationships with these contacts and they continue to contribute to her ongoing success. She has a proven track record of structuring cost effective and successful marketing strategies. Her experience includes knowing exactly what it takes to attract customers as well as meeting their individual needs by addressing personal preferences and the demand for variety. Mariana attended the Lee Strasburg Institute in New York City and has formal training in the theatrical arts which lends to her visibility representing the company in the public eye as well as overseeing marketing efforts.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
With Z.E.N. foods, we have had to work extremely hard to differentiate ourselves from the ongoing competition. People look at this industry and think, I could do that. Well it’s not that cut and dry. I’ve seen them come and go, quite a bit in the last few years. Those who don’t understand the obstacles can lose a lot of time, money and sanity. The world of food delivery is ever changing and you either move with the changes or get left in the dust. When I ran the Zone Delivery many years ago, everyone ate the same thing. There was no such thing as gluten free, dairy free, vegan, vegetarian, Paleo, organic and GMO free!

At Z.E.N. we employee 3 nutritionists that develop customized menus for our clients on a daily basis. Although I can say with confidence, nobody does it better! We have options no other competitor has as well. Such as our Z.E.N. Select, which gives clients the ability to pick their own meals from a great variety of choices in every category. So yes, we’ve had our challenges. Our software has been in constant upgrading mode, since day one. And 6 years in, we are still adding new things. Without it, you can’t be in this business. There is nothing that upsets a client more than getting a dislike in their food. The software is super customized and there aren’t many companies that can or are willing to take it on.

I like to explain the fact that we are not just pretty pictures. A Lot of the competition will purchase their photos and pass them off as their own food. This can be very confusing to the consumer. Because the reality of what the food really looks like can be a real disappointment. It also ruins the opportunity for those very few good ones out there, by jading the outlook of those who may have stayed on if they found a good company.

The other problem seems to be the price sensitivity. It’s hard to sometimes convey what a great deal it is to have your breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack and dessert prepared fresh every day, when the client hears the pricing. I like to explain to them, we are basically a nutritionist and private chef in a bag. What is that worth? Much more than we charge. That’s for sure.

Marketing can be another struggle. Things have changed dramatically in the last 5 years with social media. I can tell you it’s a great tool, but not necessarily for high end products. Direct mail, TV commercials, radio, newspapers and magazines. In my almost 20 years in this industry, we’ve tried them all! Most know longer work.

Staffing can be another problem, but luckily through the years, we have found some amazing people. So I can say, yes it’s been hard. And yes, it’s still hard. But compared to most, we run like a beautifully well-oiled machine and it gets better every year!

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Z.E.N. Foods – Zero Effort Nutrition – what should we know?
Want a healthier eating lifestyle? Z.E.N. Foods, which stands for Zero Effort Nutrition, will help bring you toward a healthy eating lifestyle with our gourmet food delivery services.

With the help of our diet food delivery nutritionists and dietitians, we deliver nutritious meals designed to improve your health right to your doorstep every day. Whether you’re on a strict diet or simply want to adopt a better lifestyle, our gourmet, calorie-controlled meals are your perfect partner.

Our gourmet food delivery services are for:

People who are struggling with their weight
Health buffs who want to keep up with the latest trends in healthy eating
People on a strict, calorie-controlled diet
Busy families and executives that don’t have enough time to prepare healthy meals

Z.E.N. Foods works with top healthy eating experts, which includes a large network of doctors, trainers, pro athletes and more.

Z.E.N. Foods programs are designed to provide the healthiest, most nutritious, and balanced meals available. We use the highest quality ingredients in their most natural state, and the attention to detail that goes into the preparation of your meals is second to none. The combination of quality ingredients and culinary excellence allows us to deliver a product that will exceed your expectations. We make it easy to live by the slogan, “Eat Clean, Live Lean.”

We are known for the freshness and culinary expertise. WE are also the go to company for Hollywood’s A-List when they are preparing for a film or getting ready for any of the awards shows. We help make the bigger or smaller for their roles, under their doctor’s supervision.

I would say we specialize in pleasing our clients, whether it’s Paleo, Vegetarian, Athletes meals or family dinners, our main concern is keeping our clients happy. Our customer service is second to none. The person who starts you on your program, sticks with you throughout. Kind of like your food therapist. That’s why the clients keep coming back.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
I have to give most of the credit to my partner, Kane Picoy, who is also my husband. No matter how tough it has been, he never gives up the faith that together, we’ve created something amazing here. He also keeps everything running smoothly on a daily basis and he has a way with clients that makes them feel pampered. I would not want to run this business without him. My parents also play a big role in instilling in me that I can do anything if I work hard and stay true to my beliefs.

My co-workers are without question the backbone of the company. All of them! From the cooks, the platers, the packers, the drivers, the sales and customer service team, my forever loyal Director of Marketing, routing, Data entree and our controller, who keeps us all in check. They are like pieces of a puzzle that finally after so many years, fit together perfectly.

Mentors? A few of my investors are brilliant and successful men. They have taught me things you certainly won’t learn in school. But in the end, I can say I’ve learned a lot by failing and by having people who have not been what they’ve pretended to be betray me in some way. I do believe that mistakes and betrayals can make you stronger. So for that I thank them. You just need to get back up, dust off and go out to fight another day. Success is only accomplished by hard work and perseverance.

I am proud to have come from a hard working family that taught early only, nothing worth having is free.

Pricing:

  • Programs start at $29.95 and go up to $100 per day for customized athletes programs. 4000 calories and up.
  • Cold pressed juices – $75 per day Made fresh every morning before delivery

Contact Info:

  • Address: Z.E.N. Foods
    7225 Clybourn Ave
    Sun Valley Ca. 91352
  • Website: www.zenfoods.com
  • Phone: 818 764-9368
  • Email: info@zenfoods.com
  • Instagram: @zenfoods
  • Facebook: zenfoods
  • Twitter: https://twitter.com/zenfoods
  • Yelp: Z.E.N. Foods

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