Person of Interest: Ryan Hansan, Tiny Grocery

You may have already heard of ScratchDC, a bundled dinner delivery service that has your food chopped, diced, sliced, marinated, and all ready for cooking. Whether you have or haven’t, Founder and CEO, Ryan Hansan continues to find ways to bring amazing food to busy people who desperately want to stay healthy. He recently launched Tiny Grocery, the vending service which makes healthy eating much easier, especially for those of us who work in an office and forget our lunch on a daily basis (guilty).

According to their website, “TinyGrocery turns your break-room, lobby, mailroom or awkward corner into your new happy place. Whether we install a TinyGrocery machine or stock our food in your existing market, you can be sure your team is getting the highest quality, downright delicious breakfast, lunch and dinner options available.”

The food is stocked daily, and there is a constant rotation so it isn’t the same old bag of plain potato chips and trail mix.  This is real food, delicious food, and good for you food.  Everybody knows that most of us immediately regret the decision to eat a giant cheeseburger and fries for lunch, what if your break-room could instead have something like this?

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Ryan was able to answer some very important questions regarding life as a local business owner.  Here are some fun facts about Ryan, and his team.

What is a typical day for you (or your team)?

We have a pretty big team at this point, but the heart of it is our kitchen team.  Our kitchen team is in early each morning, receiving meats and produce from our distributors, who source from a number of VA, PA, NC and MD farms.  The first part of production is the prep – washing, peeling, cutting, trimming, etc. Then we move to cook, and finally assembly.  Our first kitchen was a TINY kitchen we rented from a bar, but last year we moved into our very own, brand new 8,000 sf facility, giving plenty of room to grow!
  
Hardest part about being a small business owner?

For me (and I think for the rest of the management team) is the fact that there is always SO much to do. We are currently running three companies – TinyGrocery (high quality, ready to eat food production/distribution), scratchDC (our parent company, a dinner kit delivery company founded in 2012) and TasteLab (a commercial kitchen, launched in 2015).

Each of these companies has their own little nuances but for the most part our days are spent juggling customer service, accounting, menu planning and testing, delivery logistics, marketing, PR, HR, facility and fleet management and maintenance, compliance, licensing, sourcing, food production, branding, tech development, and sometimes we even get a chance to eat!

Best part about being a small business owner?
See below!
 
Advice for new entrepreneurs?
As silly and cliche as it sounds, my biggest advice would be to do something you love. To me, there is nothing better than sharing great food.  I love feedback, I love to see the look on peoples faces when they try something delicious that came out of our kitchen, and most of all, I love to eat. Putting yourself in a situation where you surround yourself with the things you love gets you through those rough days and mistakes that happen to every single company that has ever existed. Doing what you love keeps you going.
 
If you weren’t involved with Tiny Grocery what would you be doing with your life?
I have no idea, but I bet it would eventually get back to food.
 
What/who influences you the most?bad saint
This one is easy! Like I said, it’s all about the food, so I’d say my biggest influences are chefs and restauranteurs.  I love new, exciting flavors and I try to extract or learn something for my businesses from literally every bite I take. Some of my favorites at the moment are Seth Brady (Our head chef!) for his ability to take grand ideas and make them a reality for our models; Bad Saint (Tom Cunanan) for the creativity and uniqueness of his dishes; Komi AND Little Sorrow (Johnny Monis) for just out of this world customer experiences; and Le Diplomate for the impressively consistent quality at scale.
 
I need to relax. You’ll find me at/doing
Probably drinking wine and catching up on shows with my wife Lisa and our pitbull/official mascot, Billie.
 
What neighborhood do you live in?
I’ve lived in Columbia Heights since 2009. It’s been amazing to see the changes since then and I could not be more happy to call the neighborhood home.
 
Biggest DC pet peeve?
Hmmm… I don’t know if it’s a pet peeve, but perhaps the fact that our sports teams are cursed? I grew up in Reston, so I’ve been a DC sports fan since I knew what sports were and it’s just such a consistent, seasonal, team by team cycle of disappointment and sadness…
 
Who do you think is the most attractive person to ever live?
Hands down, it’s my wife, Lisa Lee Hansan!

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