13 May Custom Made Meals Named Top Workplace for Third Year in a Row in 2021
Top Workplaces 2021
Custom Made Meals grows rapidly despite pandemic
The company expanded its plant, hired more workers,
and gave raises during 2020
The return of the family dinner hour is one bright spot during the global pandemic. And many of those families sit down to meals that started at the Custom Made Meals plant in Denver.
The Colorado company, which has placed on the Top Workplaces list for the past three years, creates oven-ready meals for 15,000 groceries in 48 states.
“It’s a beautiful thing. Families are now cooking at home and sitting around the table together.” - Dale Easdon, president and chief executive officer.
The company’s business increased by 35% from 2018 to 2019, then increased by 35% in 2020. This year, it’s on pace to increase by another 40%, Easdon says.
To meet that demand, the company has expanded its Denver plant, added more automation, and added a new test kitchen. The company also is making plans to build a second plant later this year, likely in the southeastern U.S., he says.
Custom Made Meals not only kept its employees during 2020, but it also gave them raises and hired more.
Our employees work hard, and they take a lot of pride in what we do. - Katie Prekel, vice president for human resources
To keep its employees safe during the global pandemic, the company used an onsite certified nursing assistant to check temperatures and ensure employees were healthy, Prekel says. The company provided N95 masks for employees to wear at work and use at home and share with family members.
Custom Made Meals also expanded its break room, staggered break times, and used tents and tables with umbrellas outdoors to provide more break space for employees. It also offered free vending machines.
The company moved its administrative employees out of the main building and leased an office building to provide space for them to work safely.
The company also made sure employees knew they should stay home if they felt unwell.
We didn’t want them to worry about sacrificing their income, so we made sure they knew we’d pay them to stay home if they needed to do so. - Sean Saunders, chief financial officer and chief administrative officer
The company also added nearly 100 employees during the year and often hired family members of current employees, Prekel says.
Innovation will continue to be crucial for Custom Made Meals. The company plans to add more automation and focus on ergonomics to ensure its employees work in a safe environment, Easdon says.
The company offers continuous improvement training and gives employees opportunities to grow in their careers. In the past year, 17 employees have been promoted to management positions.
We’re constantly looking for future leaders, Prekel says. We want to promote them and get them ready for leadership opportunities.