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The health-conscious co-founders of LeanBox, Shea Oakley and Peter Roy, have streamlined their idea to revolutionize what it means to grab a quick bite. By stationing vending machines filled with nutritious whole foods in offices throughout the city and beyond, the duo aims to have a healthful impact on the cube-cornered culture.

Where did the idea come from?

My business partner and I were experiencing the problem that LeanBox is trying to solve. I’ve been in a cubicle at 1 p.m. and realized I’d forgotten my lunch. The nearest food was a typical greasy sub and took too long to procure. The workplace lunch always seemed unhealthy, uninspired, and boring. We knew LeanBox could provide a better alternative.  

How long did it take for you to be up and operating?

We have taken our time with the concept. We wanted to make sure we had the right blend of food partners, technology, and infrastructure. Maybe about six months ago, we took out the bullhorn. We are growing at a rapid pace, and 2015 looks like it will be pretty nuts in the LeanBox world.

How do you pitch your idea to potential vendors?

We consider ourselves experts in corporate food culture. We know what markets offer and how to significantly upgrade those offerings. We work with each company to understand where the gaps are: Is there interest in grab-and-go salads, wraps, and soups? Or is the group more interested in healthy snack alternatives like fruit cups, fresh cut vegetables, and locally pressed juice? When that’s been determined, LeanBox provides a customized offering that isn’t like anything in the market.

Have any studies been done to track whether having LeanBox available is transforming employees’ dietary habits?

We are just grazing the surface of understanding how much of an impact LeanBox can have on a corporate office. It’s amazing how much a convenient and healthy food option can affect a company’s recruiting and retention rates, employee wellness, and office culture.

What goes into determining food and drink items for each site?

Every office is different. Our program lets us know what foods are working where. It allows us to tailor offerings for each individual office. The LeanBox goal is to make healthy and crave-worthy items available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

What do your long-term goals include?

We want to change the way the American workforce eats. We see a LeanBox in progressive workplaces throughout the country. We want to empower companies to keep their employees happy and healthy.