2022 Retrospective, Survey Stats, Responsibility, and the Future
Hi, I’m Tim, CEO/Founder of Vite Kitchens, who’s hair is just refusing to behave today. But that’s okay.
What flavors are the most popular in 2022? What surprising things did we find from the survey? What problems have we encountered, and how are we addressing them, and what are some of the big plans for 2023? Read on to find out!
How Old Are People Who Buy Vite Ramen?
How old are people who buy Vite Ramen, or, at least, had the chance to respond to our survey? Mostly I’m saying it like that because confirmation bias is something to watch out for-- Survey age results always tend to skew higher, since younger people don’t like answering surveys. Important lesson there is to not trust data 100%, but to use it as a tool, and to understand its limitations.
Anyway, here’s the results:
4.8% are 18-24
20.3% are 25-31
43.5% are 32-45
13.8% are 45-55
17.8% are 55+
Fun fact: our previous survey in 2021 had slightly different age ranges, and had a 25-34 majority audience before. With this survey having a majority 32-45, it looks like a lot of people have crossed that threshold to 32+ in 2022!
This is pretty close to what we figure is the case, as... well, I’m 30, so a lot of what we do will resonate more with the people who also grew up in the same kind of era.
How Often Do People Eat Out?
Most of you say you order delivery or takeout 1-2 times a week, at 55.1%
The next highest is “almost never” at 22.1%... which... man, how do you do that? I get sick of my own cooking.
Closely following that is eating out 3-5 times a week, at 19.1%
Only 3.7% eat out more than 5 times a week.
I’m also wondering how accurate self reporting is on that, since... a lot of people I know do eat out a lot more often than they care to admit... myself included. The way we distributed the response clusters makes it pretty normalized in a bell curve though, so that’s not entirely unexpected.
What Versions of Vite Ramen Have You Tried Before
We actually have a lot of people who have filled out the survey who have been with us since the very beginning, with 18.1% having tried every single version, from v1.0 all the way to v3.0.
That does fall into confirmation bias a bit, because the people who fill out this survey generally are our greatest supporters. Which, love you guys, thank you so much for your support over all these years.
It looks like we have quite a few new people though, with a ton of you having only had v3.0. For everyone new, welcome to the Vite Club. Is that what we’re going with now? I dunno, we keep using Vite Club to mean different things, sorta, but eh, guess we’ll roll with it.
The first rule of Vite Club is to, uh... I’ll get back to you on that one.
Second rule of Vite club is chaos.
Third rule is... I haven’t gotten that far.
Yeah I don’t know where I’m going with this either.
Fun thing though, most people haven’t tried VRGO. I’m curious, have you guys been interested in VRGO? Is it something you guys want to try if you haven’t before? Let me know in the comments. If there’s enough interest I can see what I can figure out to make it easier to try for subscribers and longtime Vite Club people.
How Many People Have Monthly Vite Ramen Subscriptions?
Speaking of subscribers, about 25% of respondents have subscriptions, and 6.4% of people have paused subscriptions
By and large, people enjoy the subscription discounts more than anything.
If we look at second important rankings though, we actually see flat rate shipping and early access neck and neck. This makes sense since west coasters wouldn’t care as much about the flat rate shipping, but east coasters would definitely enjoy it more. Split makes sense there.
Shipping, Fulfillment, and Taking Responsibility.
Which... Hey, let’s talk about shipping and fulfillment. I want to apologize to everyone about the continued problems with shipping, fulfillment, and customer service. I talked about a problem in the system we found with our shipping/fulfillment service in an earlier video (link), which, if you didn’t watch the video, means that with how the system batched orders, it would sometimes and constantly push old orders back into further old batches, and once it reached the front, re-batch them into an older one for some reason, leading to massive delays on some orders.
The mass majority of our orders made it out before the 4 week MTO time. In fact, 99.2% of them actually made it out before the MTO time. 78% made it out before 2 weeks on a 4 week MTO time.
But almost 1% of orders is still a lot, and a lot more than we’d like. Realistically, I can talk about confirmation bias making the problem seem much larger than it actually is, but...
In the end, I’m responsible for this. I should’ve caught the order recycling problem faster, and spent more time monitoring these issues. We also have discovered a similar issue with our customer service ticketing system, which is why some people have been getting their tickets handled the day of, while others seem to not have a response for weeks. The system organizes by “last activity” rather than "FIFO", or "First In, First Out", meaning when people sent another email before their first one was responded to, it moved them all the way to the back of the queue.
We’ve since resolved the problem, but this is also still my responsibility. Same with the delayed supply chains. Same with each and every problem that happens.
I do a lot, and wear a lot of hats in the company, probably more than the mass majority of business owners. It’s not just the strategy, company direction, and high level business decisions I make, but I also do R&D, write the emails, create content and copy for emails, social media and social media responses, taxes, operations, landing page creation, agency management, ambassador liaison duties, machine repair, and much, much more.
I can do everything and anything in the company at a competent level. And... as nice as that might sound... that is the root of the problem. I do too much myself, and cover too much. Over all these years, I’ve taken no vacations, no time off, and consistently worked some 80 or more hours each week to get everything done.
And during 2022, as things looked like they were improving, I wanted to rest more. Relax. Not work 80+ hours each week, maybe finally take a vacation or two.
I was tired. Burning out. And I wanted a break.
But... I did it too early, it seems. I never did end up taking that vacation, but I stopped working weekends as much, pulled back on hours, didn’t do as much as I used to, didn’t watch things as closely as I should’ve.
And I am too lax, many times, with making sure others are keeping to their work commitments, and I jump to cover someone else’s work far too often when they fall behind as well. I am stretched too thin, and unable to put the kind of focused attention on any one thing as I should.
For all the problems that has caused, for the late orders, the lacking communication, the delays, and everything else, I apologize. I am deeply sorry, and deeply frustrated with it. I want, more than anything, for everyone to have a good experience with Vite Kitchens and what we do. I don’t want your orders to be held up, I don’t want you to not be responded to.
I built this company from the ground up, from designing the production line to making recipes to making the noodles myself on the line when we started. I’m not here for the profits. I’m not here because I want to be rich. I want more than anything to just make awesome things that make people’s lives better, because that’s what’s cool about life-- Being able to see someone excited, happy, smiling, and their lives made better. Whether that’s Vite Ramen, Naked Noods, Nanoboost, fun videos or educational blog posts, I want to put my all towards making them the best I can.
The only reason this business exists is because it’s the only way I could make the ramen I dreamed of. You just can’t make new products like what we do without a business behind it, buying and selling and doing all of that. I want, desperately, more than anything to get away from spreadsheets, away from the taxes and legal pages and contracts. I want to create. I want to make. I want to be on the line making noodles, I want to be blending new recipes, I want to be running around filming all kinds of fun, crazy, dumb things, laughing, enjoying, and building new things.
I am not the best at these parts of the business that I don’t like. I also don’t have, as much as I wish I did, the cash to hire the specialized people with the specialized skillsets to handle these things I don’t like doing. But at this point, I’ve also realized that my problem lies also in abdicating these duties to others who are no more experienced in these tasks than myself, and hoping that they’ll learn to do it as quick as we both hope they will.
The business was built on this foundation of doing things myself. It is both my skill and my curse. Instead of covering for others, I know I need to take full responsibility for these tasks. Instead of assigning it to others to figure out, I need to take the additional time to truly focus and solve the problems myself. It is, in the end, my fault, and so I will be the one to fix it.
This means that, yes, I will be taking on even more in the coming year, including things like assisting and tending to customer service. I will be even busier. But sometimes, that’s necessary in the short term to make things right, to do things right. By taking on things myself, I am then able to plan out the entirety of the tasks before me, prioritize them, instead of being blindsided by things that weren’t completed in time, and having to scramble to cover what wasn’t done. It is more busywork, but more organized, and in the end, I will still have more passion for some arbitrary boring thing like fire inspection documents, because it’s part of the hard, boring things that make the things that I want to do possible.
I will be communicating more. Talking more. Doing more. This year, I want to talk with all of you more. I want to know what we can do better. I’ll send out more surveys, do more streams, and try to figure out how to host better Q&A sessions so that we can do everything we can to nip problems in the bud before they become problems.
Whew. Okay. That was kind of a rant in the middle of everything. We uh, were talking about the survey still, right? Alright, let’s get back to that.
How do People Find Out About Vite Ramen?
A lot of people seem to have found us through YouTube sponsorships, and a similar amount through our Facebook ads. They’re... very much not like the kind of ads you usually see. Gotta insert all the chaos and fun that Vite Kitchens is into those videos, right? Over this year I’ve made a lot more videos and video ads, and am planning on doing more, so make sure you do follow our YouTube to see them! I’ll also include the link to a playlist with them down below in the description.
Gotta give a shoutout to our Twitter and streamer/vtuber partners as well, there’s a good number of people who have found us through there.
Also, remember to follow our social media to keep up with everything we do! Definitely the most active on Twitter though.
What Content Are You Interested In?
As much as I’d love to do more Vite Nite gaming streams, it seems there’s not too much interest there, all things considered, but there’s actually a surprising amount of interest around the Gijinka content, even though I... admittedly haven’t done anything for them for quite a while. I’ll get back to it after the New Year, I promise! There’s actually a ton of worldbuilding I’ve already done for them and storylines written, I just... need to actually execute on them.
More than anything though, it looks like the cooking streams are by far the most popular. Right now, I can only figure out how to do it with a GoPro, but I’ll see if I can figure out a laptop setup so that I can get multiple camera angles going, which should be fun.
Which is also a good time to mention: I’ll be launching a cooking show under the channel TimJZheng on YouTube early 2023 (subscribe early here)! I’ve gotten a ton of stuff already filmed, I just need to finish editing them. I hope you’ll watch and enjoy when they’re launched!
There’s also a ton of interest in cooking, health, and mental health in general. I’m thinking of making the content across different platforms a bit different for that reason. We’ll see what I’m able to juggle with the time I have, though.
The hope is as things improve more and more, we can then have the extra cash on hand to hire more experienced specialists so I can focus more on the things I want to do, and maybe actually go take that vacation. Hey, I can dream, alright?
What Are Vite Ramen's Most Popular Flavors?
Now-- Flavor ratings. This was REALLY interesting to see.
I’ll start by dropping the rankings with their average ranking. I will say that there’s more than a few of you who rated things 1 when you meant 5... because in the comments you were raving about how good a certain flavor was while rating it a 1. That being said, I really can’t spend the time correcting and finding those across hundreds/thousands of responses so...
- Garlic Pork Tonkotsu: 3.924
- Yuzu Shoyu: 3.912
- Sichuan Chili Edition: 3.83
- Vegan Japanese Curry: 3.772
- Roasted Soy Sauce Chicken: 3.731
- Beef Pho: 3.645
- Massaman Curry: 3.533
- Vegan White Miso: 3.552
TOTAL AVERAGE: 3.738
An interesting set of results, to say the least!
20% of people will be meh on a flavor because of personal preferences, no matter what. This is what I was taught at the Michelin Star restaurant I cooked at, in order to understand why we put crowd pleasers like Caesar Salad and burgers on the menu despite the rest of the menu being wonderfully complex and nuanced. There’s no accounting for taste, as they say.
This actually means that, generally speaking, the maximum normalized score you can hope for is a 4. Being that our flavors are pretty close to that, I’m pretty happy with how our flavors are being received.
I definitely expected a lot more recency bias, but things seem distributed pretty evenly throughout.
This wasn’t asked in this survey, but in the Vegan Japanese Curry survey, most respondents seem to want to continue with Unlocked versions moving forwards. I’ve talked about it before, but no matter how good for you something might be, it only works if you actually eat it, which means flavor and making flavors people really enjoy and want to eat more of seems to be what people want moving forwards.
I’ve also talked about some people needing higher sodium than others, like me, and higher sodium actually giving us more ability to add more flavor than just salt, since things like soy sauce or even mushrooms have sodium in them, so having that flexibility is nice.
The flavors we’ve released so far will keep their levels of sodium, so that there’s a variety of higher and lower sodium flavors to choose from.
There is no one size fits all approach to nutrition, so creating more variety and options is always good to help people choose what’s right for them, personally.
Maybe we’ll also try doing some higher sodium versions of the original flavors as well, and we’ve heard some interest in ones that are trimmed down in micronutrient density, while keeping the macronutrients and fiber, so that there’s more versatility for pre-packaged food for people who might need to watch potassium levels and other things. It’s definitely something we’ll consider and look at.
What Is Vite Ramen Planning for 2023?
With all that being said, what else are we planning for 2023?
Nanoboost, for one. I’m really excited about Nanoboost, Nanoboost Vitality, and Nanoboost Base, which should be out in May.
We’re planning on 2023 having the most new flavors released as well, with the collaboration project with Vtuber Onigiri being available for orders in January, and another new flavor on the way after that in late February or March! Past that, we’ll be sending out surveys to ask you guys which flavors that we’re working on that you’d like to see the most.
Naked Noods isn’t left out in the dark as well, and we’re working on other variations of Naked Noods, as well as potential packaging changes to make it easier to ship. Still testing these though, as there’s a lot of things to think about there! We’ll be sending questionnaires out for this as well to get your guys’ feedback on packaging formats, and what would work best for you.
We’re also considering working on some rebranding aspects as well, and would love to see what you guys think. Packaging changes will be coming in 2023, and phased in slowly as we run through the remainder of our current packaging. We’ll be showing the process and getting feedback from everyone as well for this!
There’s even more coming in 2023, so stay tuned, and make sure you follow our social media, which I’ll link in the description below (or here), and keep checking your emails!
Thank you for all the support in 2022, and we look forward to a better 2023! And to start, here's 15% off with code HERESTO2023
That works as a closer right? Man, I still suck at those.
- Tim, CEO/Founder Vite Kitchens