In the forum, we batted around the new meal preparation and assembly kitchens concept such as Super Suppers and Dream Dinners. There are lot of non-franchised startups, and they already have their own trade association called the Easy Meal Preparation Association. The general sentiment from the forum is that this concept is a “maybe”, with the big questions being
- how much you can charge customers (and margins) before customers will just order restaurant takeout?
- is the change of behavior and lifestyle too much to create a solid base of loyal customers?
- how many competitors, if any, can enter the market and you still survive?Â what if they have slightly lower prices and a nicer, larger facility and more creative menu?
A surprising celebrity newcomer is jumping in this arena – Suzanne Somers. Inc. magazine did a feature article and mentioned this tidbit.
And next? Suzanne’s Kitchen, an entry in the red-hot meal prep category, in which customers move from station to station inside retail stores, assembling family-size dishes from chopped meats, vegetables, and sauces. The first two outposts of Suzanne’s Kitchen, which Somers and her husband and business partner, Alan Hamel, expect to franchise, will open later this year.
Why is she getting in this business? I think it has more to do with an attempt to leverage her brand name to command higher franchise fees rather than this being an inherently superior and profitable business model. Certainly Somers will draw media attention to the industry, which currently suffers badly from low recognition amongst its target audience.