Meal kits hit the drive-through
A big name fast-food chain is giving food retailers and meal kit companies some competition by launching a meal kit that consumers can pick up via drive-thru window.
Chick-fil-a announced that starting in August, the popular fast-food chain will release a meal kit system that is exclusive to their home city of Atlanta. The company will launch Mealtime Kits at 150 restaurants across the Atlanta area. The company says that the kits are designed to make it easy for customers to cook their own meals at home using fresh, pre-measured ingredients that can be picked up in the drive-thru, at the front counter or on the Chick-fil-A One app.
“We know our guests are busier than ever and need a variety of convenient dinner options. We’re excited to offer Mealtime Kits as a new way for us to serve our guests by providing fresh ingredients to enjoy a delicious meal at home.” said Michael Patrick, an innovation program lead at Chick-fil-A who is leading the Mealtime Kits effort. “We designed our offering so our guests don’t have to order ahead, subscribe to a service, or make an extra stop at the grocery store. They simply pick up a Mealtime Kit at one of our restaurants at their convenience – for example, when they’re already at a Chick-fil-A restaurant grabbing breakfast or lunch, or in the drive-thru on their way home.”
The Mealtime Kits will include five different options, including Chicken Parmesan, Chicken Enchiladas, Dijon Chicken, Pan Roasted Chicken and Chicken Flatbread. These options will be rotated during the test period. Each kit serves two people and costs $15.89. These meal kits will only be available to customers in Atlanta until November 17, but during that time other customers nationwide can express their interest in trying the kits by filling out an online form.
Meal kit providers burst on the food retailing scene five years ago, the digital hype cycle kicked in. The concept of pre-portioned ingredients to create specific meals was new and interesting and quickly hailed as a major disruption to the food retail industry.
The coming year promises to be challenging for pure play meal kit providers who aren’t the next big thing anymore. Companies such as Blue Apron, Hellofresh, Plated, Purple Carrot, Sun Basket, Gobble and others have enjoyed tremendous media exposure from the countless news organizations who touted their offerings and conducted comparisons of the services. All the publicity helped generate trial, but repeat purchase was harder to come by without huge investments in marketing and customer subsidies. Blue Apron showed how dependent it was on marketing after it cut spending during its third quarter ended Sept. 30. Marketing expense was reduced 31% to $34.2 million, or 16.3% of sales, in the third quarter, compared to $49.6 million, or 24.2% of sales the prior year. As a result, sales increased a meager 3% to $211.
Chick-fil-a currently operates more than 2,200 restaurants.