Meal Kits are Here to Stay
COVID-19 and nationwide lockdowns have changed the restaurant industry irrevocably. In fact, the pandemic has altered the way we get our food as a whole. As a result, many individuals are opting out of their weekly trips to the grocery store.
So how are these Americans getting their food? It appears that many are turning to meal kits. Companies like Blue Apron and HelloFresh will deliver meals directly to someone’s door, eliminating their need to visit the grocery store or their favorite restaurants. Meal kit services had been losing popularity as recently as 2018, but the national lockdowns and fear surrounding COVID-19 caused subscriptions to surge during the past year. In fact, research firm Grandview research estimates that the meal kit industry will generate 19.9 billion dollars by 2027.
How can America’s restaurants hope to compete with the allure of these meal kit services? Sometimes, it’s best to live by the old saying: if you can’t beat them, join them.
Bringing Restaurant Dishes Home
During the pandemic, many restaurants began releasing meal kits in an effort to drive sales despite government-mandated closures. Meal kits speak to a different demographic than takeout meals, as they require the customer to do a little cooking themselves. Meal kits allow customers the opportunity to test out their cooking skills on restaurant-quality ingredients — and, if they do it right, enjoy a meal from one of their favorite eateries.
The types of businesses that tried their hands at meal kits this past year ran the gamut from quick eats to gourmet establishments. New York City’s Cote Korean Steakhouse released a butcher box that offered customers pre-portioned high-quality beef cuts. Seattle Mediterranean restaurant Homer introduced Homer at Home, their new meal kit service. Even fast-food powerhouse Chick-fil-A offered meal kits at select locations, allowing customers the opportunity to make Chicken Parmesan out of their famous breaded chicken breasts.
While each of these restaurants offered something unique from their cuisine, each met a key need for the public — the need for delicious dishes they can make for their families at home. Your restaurant could be the next to join the meal kit craze!
Embracing the Meal Kit Model
If you want to jump into the fray and sell meal kits from your restaurant, there are a few things you’ll need to consider first. First, make sure you have the logistical means to deliver the kits to your customers. Will you use a service like GrubHub or DoorDash? Will you do deliveries with your own team? Figure out these details before you advertise anything!
Next, consider which menu items you’ll offer in your kits. Research suggests that 80% of a restaurant’s revenue comes from only 16% of their menu items, so make sure you know which dishes will give you the most significant ROI.
Finally, make sure your customers know how to make the dishes they purchase! Provide recipe cards that are clear and easy to follow, or film your chefs making the dish and post it online so customers can follow along as they cook.
If done right, a meal kit service can give you a new revenue stream for your restaurant, giving at-home diners a special meal for their weeknight and reminding restaurant lovers why they need to visit you soon! Contact Synergy for assistance in your menu development as we continue to find innovative ways in response to the “new normal.”