In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, restaurant owners and chefs have been forced to think outside the box in order to both find new sources of revenue and find creative ways to utilize product they have on hand. Some owners and chefs have now turned toward meal-kits. If you’re considering taking on meal-kits as a new endeavor, we’re going to be breaking down the big questions that might be on your mind.
There’s a proven demand for them. Companies like Blue Apron & Hello Fresh have created a multi-billion-dollar industry by touting the idea that restaurant quality meals can be made from the comfort of your own home. In a time when customers are looking for a sense of “fun”, this could be a great opportunity for your business to expand its offerings and capture some of the meal-kit customer base. You may also find that customers jump at the chance to support their favorite local establishments while simultaneously breaking away from the schedules they’ve been tied to by using subscription-based services.
The options here are really endless and will depend on what works best for you. Your kits can range from completely DIY to items that simply require some reheating. Benny’s Pizza and Burgers of Schuylkill Haven, PA decided to offer “make your own pizza kits” and suggested their customers “let the kids make dinner tonight!” This was a smart move since 68% of people surveyed by Datassential said they would be strongly interested in a build-your-own-pizza Kit. Mansour’s Market of Scranton, PA has been combining the best of both worlds with a “curbside cash & dash” service where on Saturday mornings customers can get fan favorites like lemon ricotta pancake batter, grab & go granola, and other weekly special kits! Selecting the items that you will turn into meal-kits depends greatly on what items you offer/or want to offer that can be easily deconstructed by you and executed at home by your customer. Be sure to think about who your core audience is. Are you mainly serving small families, couples, or larger families with catering orders? All of these factors should help to shape what offerings are a part of your meal-kit menu.
An inventory assessment is key. If you’re using this as an opportunity to test out menu items specific to your meal-kit plan, you will need to order additional items. If you are utilizing inventory you already have in house for your existing menu, then your focus should just be on packaging. Your packaging choices are key here. Your customer is paying for an experience. The experience will surely be ruined if they get home only to find the ingredients that they need to make their meal are in poor quality before they even begin. Invest in the tools you need to ensure everything arrives home the way you intended it to. Test it out yourself by placing an order!
Be sure to print instructions for your meal-kits so your customer knows how to make their recipe taste just like yours. Consider doing a Facebook or Instagram live video to show exactly how you make that recipe in your restaurant. It will get your customers talking about the idea and hopefully feeling hungry!
Finally, be sure to call your SFS sales representative for all of your supply and to-go packaging needs. From portion controlled proteins to the perfect containers for your meals, we’re here to make your meal-kit a success!