When Monica Klausner talks about Veestro, she is talking about family. She was Veestro's second employee after being hired by her younger brother, Mark, to help him get his idea for a plant-based food company off the ground. Monica and Mark are two of four siblings who are originally from Costa Rica.

Mark used to be a banker and could never find something nutritious to eat or have on hand when he arrived home from many hours at the office. He called her up and said: "Why can't we get food that is as good as what we grew up with?" He didn't get why it was so hard to buy food that was healthy, plant-based, not boring, and not expensive. From that frustration, the idea for Veestro was born. Now, the two LA-based siblings, who both went to the University of Texas at Austin, are crushing it in the meal-delivery space.  They are offering The Beet readers 25 percent off their first order with the code THEBEET25 at checkout.

When you read Monica's story you understand that this is personal, which is why she wants you to try out Veestro as a way of eating healthier, plant-based food, that's as healthy as it is convenient.

Q. What is Veestro all about and how is it different from other meal delivery services?

Monica: Growing up in Costa Rica, we grew up eating mostly plant-based since meat was expensive. We wanted to eat mostly fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds and grains just like we would eat home.

Monica: One day, Mark called me and said he had this idea for a business to make food that is totally healthy and ship it to people nationwide. We hired what we thought was a kitchen manager but it turned out he was a real chef with 30 years of experience who happened to be vegan! He had been out of work for a while so he wanted to take any job. He is from Bolivia and he grew up a vegan. So back in the day that was not very common.

Monica: I had been a stay-at-home mom for 5 years before starting Veestro and worked in sales and marketing for 15 years. Mark's background is in logistics, finance, and operations. There are four of us siblings altogether. My sisters don't work at Veestro but both of their husbands do. Mark and I used to fight like crazy when we first started out but no squabbles now. We have five years between us. I was used to being in charge, so it was hard for me to relinquish control and let him be in charge. He pretty much created the logistics of the business which are can be complicated.

Q. So was it your plan to make it vegan all along?

Monica: At that time we had not discussed the vegan aspect of it. At the time, Mark and I were both reading The China Study when we sat down and talked about the details. We agreed to make it vegan because that's just the healthiest way to eat. It turned out that vegan meals were simpler [for production] since there are a lot fewer issues with the health department when you don't include meat.

Q. What was your first meal?

Monica: We just wanted to make the healthiest food possible that was also delicious. The first dish we ever made was the red curry with tofu and veggies. The enchilada casserole was the second dish, shortly after. We launched with five dishes total.  The first year we had maybe only 150 customers, all over the country. The meals were shipped with dry ice since it doesn't melt but it dissipates at a constant rate. If a package has to be on the road for 3 days, we know how much dry ice we need to put into the box to last three days.

Q. Where is the Veestro food made?

Monica: We have a big industrial kitchen in Downtown LA where the food is made. Our distribution center is in Delaware and we distribute east of the Mississippi from there. It allows us to distribute quicker: Two to three days tops.

Q. What is the most popular dish? And how many people do you serve?

Monica: The most popular dish is the red curry and the country fried chicken dinner -- made out of soy protein and ancient grains. Now we have about 20,000 active customers. Active customers are those who have ordered in the last three months.

Q. I bet everyone wants to get meal delivery now! How has your business changed?

Monica: Orders skyrocketed in the first three days. We have definitely seen a significant increase in daily orders since this all started. The supply chain is pretty good. We deal with one consolidator for the produce and one for the dry goods. Luckily, I haven't needed to look outside of them. A few ingredients take a few very specific ingredients and the production unreliable so we took those out.

Monica: We have about 60 employees right now. We had some lean years but became profitable last year!

Q. Okay so what if I don't like certain ingredients, or want customization?

Monica: You can choose a high protein, gluten-free, weight loss, nut-free, low-calorie and kosher. We are actually kosher certified, and I think we may be the only meal delivery that is.

Q. Did you ever want to just throw in the towel?

Monica: In the first six years, there were so many times we thought this is too hard, it's not going to happen, or we were running out of money and a million reasons we wanted to bail.  What kept us going was our drive to have an impact on the environment and help people eat vegan. We know we are making a difference. We can ship up to 40,000 meals per week.

Q. Amazing. So what does someone need to do to get their first order 25 percent off?

Monica: Just go to the site and order, and when you get to check out, to get the 25 percent off with the code THEBEET25. That brings the cost down to under $9 a meal. Try it!


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