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Founder of $600M ButcherBox Reveals ‘Free Bacon for Life’ Promo Was Serendipitous

Mike Salguero often mentions that ButcherBox, the meat subscription company that propelled him to multimillionaire status, was essentially “built on bacon.” While entrepreneurs frequently resort to exaggeration and elaborate language, in this case, it holds true.

During the initial stages when the company was launching through a Kickstarter campaign, Salguero and his team made a bold promise to their supporters. They pledged that if they achieved \(100,000 in sales, every customer would receive complimentary bacon along with their box of grass-fed meat. This enticing offer attracted bacon enthusiasts who rallied behind the \)100,000 goal, as Salguero reminisced in a recent interview. True to their word, ButcherBox included a premium pack of bacon in each shipment.

Transitioning away from Kickstarter, ButcherBox transitioned to processing orders through their website, emphasizing a subscription-based model over one-time purchases. However, an amusing mishap ensued shortly after.

Salguero shared an anecdote about an unexpected issue raised by his engineer about inadvertently providing free bacon to all customers, not just the Kickstarter backers. Due to the irreversible nature of the initial coding, rectifying the situation proved impossible. Nonetheless, a savvy marketing team member proposed leveraging this blunder by promoting a new offer: “Sign up and receive free bacon.” This unanticipated marketing strategy resonated well with potential customers, significantly boosting sign-ups.

Building on this success, ButcherBox introduced the innovative “Bacon for Life” concept, where customers receive a complimentary bacon order in every shipment throughout their subscription. This strategic move, stemming from a technical glitch, contributed to ButcherBox’s impressive growth, now valued at \(500 million, with Salguero’s personal net worth estimated at \)375 million.

The company further expanded its “for-life” campaigns beyond bacon to include chicken wings, ground beef, and steaks, enhancing customer value and retention. By offering enticing deals in each box, ButcherBox has fostered lasting customer relationships, a crucial factor in an industry where customer loyalty is often fleeting.

With a subscriber base of 400,000 and having delivered customized boxes to over 1.6 million households, ButcherBox continues to thrive in the competitive meal delivery market. Salguero, a self-professed steak enthusiast, prefers preparing Tomahawk steaks and ribeye on the grill, emphasizing efficiency and flavor in his cooking style.

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