A DAY IN THE LIFE OF REVIVE SUPERFOOD’S CEO
My name is Yousuf Soliman and I am one of the Founders and the CEO of Revive Superfoods.
As some of you may know, Revive Superfoods is a family-run business. My cousin, Anis Barakat, came up with the idea and we worked together to translate this vision into reality.
With a background in investment banking, I was confident I had the financial and entrepreneurial acumen to help bring everything together. Fortunately, I wasn’t the only one with a love for business. Our entire founding team brought on unique skills that enabled us to reach our goals as a company.
At the time I was approached with the idea, I had just started out on my own health journey. I realized eating well made me work better, think better, even sleep better! The idea of quick and healthy smoothies at the time was exactly what I needed and knew so many others would benefit from as well.
I hope this conversation can give you a glimpse into Revive Superfood’s culture, and why I’m passionate about our mission and serving each and every one of you.
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF RSF’S CEO
At what time does your day usually start?
I typically like to start my day around 6 AM by hopping on the treadmill or hitting the gym.
What does a typical workday look like for you at RSF?
Looking at my day, I’m still learning how to manage people as well as my own incoming traffic of emails. Everyone has their own systems in place and it’s a matter of figuring out what works best for me. When you have 600+ emails coming in per day, you definitely need a good system.
During my workday, I usually hop from meeting to meeting, overseeing different efforts being made by our various departments. As the CEO, you want to get involved and help steer every ship. But what I learned is the best work gets done when you empower your team leaders to keep doing the great work they’re doing. I guide, they lead. That’s how the work gets done. In doing that, I’ve found that I was able to focus on the bigger picture.
For the past 6 months, our RSF team has been working remotely. It’s been great to slowly start seeing our team come back into our new office. That face-to-face interaction is so important. However, I must say that for us, working remotely has been highly efficient. You can have back-to-back calls for hours.
For those who aren’t familiar with this role, what are the main tasks of a CEO?
The job of a CEO is really to set the vision and ensure that people are executing on it. Everyone has phenomenal ideas, but most people don’t execute them.
As the CEO, you want to empower your team players and make sure they’re equipped to execute their ideas.
How do you prioritize what needs to be done first?
Anything that has to do with customers receiving an order or ensuring that the customer is happy is always a priority on my schedule.
In fact, there are two branches to customer-related work: issues related to customer happiness and new projects related to customer happiness
At RSF, we’re very customer-driven. We like to put ourselves in our customers’ shoes and see how we can improve their overall experience. To do so, we stay on top of customer inquiries and are as involved as possible with Quality Assurance (QA) testing.
The other branch is related to product development. We ask ourselves: How can we keep our customers engaged and benefitting from the product? It’s so important in our industry to keep our customers long-term. The ultimate goal is to create a product they can adopt as a part of their daily routine.
At what time does your day usually end?
I usually work into the night from home and finish pretty late in the evening.
GET TO KNOW YOUSUF
Why did you start Revive Superfoods? What was the motivation behind it & What issue did you want to solve?
I was someone who used to eat anything and everything. I wasn’t very mindful of my health. When I started eating better I realized the power good food had in bettering my life. The idea of giving people a quick, healthy, delicious option was a no brainer for me.
Traditionally, the view on eating healthy is that it’s time consuming and not always delicious. People on the go are often resorting to unhealthy options because they are quick and affordable. We’re challenging that notion head on by providing healthy and delicious food that is ready in minutes and doesn’t break the bank.
From a business perspective, I really wanted to build a diverse team of young professionals who could grow both professionally and personally along with the company.
As I mentioned earlier, we brought in a lot of family on the team, which automatically created a very diverse pool of officers and managers at RSF. When it was time to hire, we wanted to promote diversity and inclusivity. Not only in terms of ethnic background but also in terms of experience. In general, you’ll find people with very similar profiles and backgrounds running these types of businesses. At RSF, we’re different and we’re very proud to be.
We welcome anyone from experienced professionals to recent grads. To us, the opportunity to mold a new team player into exactly what we need them to focus on is gold.
Why was it important for you to create a healthy, convenient and affordable product?
In my own experience, eating good food has allowed me to live better. There were so many times where not being mindful of my health and what I was eating affected my productivity, happiness, and overall life. I knew I was not the only one. When approached with the idea, I knew it would help folks like me who didn’t want to compromise on health and taste but also didn’t want to spend a lot of time and money either. The idea of people grocery shopping has been turned on its head. There are so many options out there that allow people to order and deliver groceries with a click of a button. We’ve seen meal prep, meal kits, and meal planning take off over the past few years, but it still required time and effort to do.
Recently there’s been a trend towards the ready-to-eat category. An option for people who want to eat well, but don’t have the time to keep up with it. That’s Revive Superfoods. We’re in the business of saying no to the status quo and shaking up how people enjoy healthy food. Our product is ready for you when you are. We plan, prep and do all the heavy lifting so all you have to do is enjoy. Our products are convenient, healthy, and delicious. No compromises. In doing this, my hope is that people will live better given that they are making healthier choices. The more good there is in the world, the better a place it will be.
What other CEO/Brands/Entrepreneurs inspire you?
There are quite a few actually.
When you look at some of the success stories in the DTC industry (direct to consumer), I’m thinking Freshly, HelloFresh and Goodfood, all those companies have proven to be successful when it comes to an industry that is constantly changing and has tight margins but are now profitable.
As the CEO, one of my main responsibilities is to raise capital and unfortunately, given the many failures in our industry, it can be difficult to gain investors’ trust. It takes good operational excellence to raise money. When I look at HelloFresh for example, they’ve done an incredible job at moving past what had already been done. They are looking at several ways to solve food insecurity and I respect that approach a lot.
What type of corporate culture do you aim to promote at Revive Superfoods?
I think it is fair to say that we have a culture of focus and execution at RSF.
Oftentimes, minor details can fog the main objective of what you’re trying to achieve. What I like to emphasize amongst our team is commitment. A lot of our family that has been involved with RSF have had to move or even put their careers on pause to help the company grow.
At the end of the day, we all feel comfortable with the level of success we’ve been seeing. The company culture here is a culture of winning. We really want to be winning at all times for ourselves and most importantly our customers.
As mentioned before, my job is to empower our team leads to get the job done. All of our goals are intertwined and depend on seeing other team members succeed. That’s how you harvest a company culture of respect, hard work, and focus.
How do you see the company evolving within the next two years, and how do you see yourself creating that change?
When we first started, we truly did not think within 2 years we would be where we are today. We’ve grown incredibly fast and have learned so much along the way.
I don’t see that stopping, or slowing down.
I think we’re going to see continued growth in the D2C space in general, and in ready-to-eat frozen products as well. It’s extremely fast-growing.
Personally, I think my involvement in that change will come from continuing to innovate around new products that might’ve been seen as impossible before. We’re building our niche within the frozen space rather than refrigerated. To do so, we need to continue to build out our supply chain and distribution network, which is very scarce in the frozen space. There’s not enough supply, yet a lot of demand. I want RSF to be part of the solution.
Finally, we heard there’s a new product coming out next week, which comes from your family. What’s the story behind it?
That’s right. Although I can’t say too much just yet, I will say that being Egyptian, food has always been an important part of our culture. Coming out with a Middle Eastern product allows our founding team to share a part of our culture with the Revive Superfoods family.
Stay tuned for Monday November the 23rd for the product reveal!
Any final remarks or anything else you’d like to add?
I’m excited for what the future holds and all the exciting products and initiatives we’ll be releasing soon. Thanks for reading my story and learning a bit more about Revive Superfoods.
Co-Founder & CEO