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Should your restaurant consider meal kits?

Posted on 14/12/2020

With a surge in DIY restaurant meal kits available to consumers to cook at home, is it time your restaurant considered at home DIY meal kits? We will explore this area further giving you key considerations if you are looking to launch a dinner kit for your restaurant.

Traditional meal kits such as the ones offered by HelloFresh, Mindful Chef and Gusto had been steadily growing, but surged in popularity during the pandemic and are forecast to grow further. The concept of getting a food kit delivered to cook at home is made even more exciting for consumers if stamped with the expertise of a restaurant that consumers love.

Image 1 Growth In Trad Meal Kits

Nationally we have seen an innovative response to the pandemic, with restaurants creating an alternative revenue stream in meal kits. So what is in a typical restaurant meal kit? Quite simply individual components and ingredients that customers can cook at home to create the same dish that they would have enjoyed in the restaurant.

Image 2 Ingredients On Table

This small but growing area could well be seen by consumers as the 3rd way to get restaurant food in the future after dine in and takeaways. Just think - consumers are cooking more at home now and more than half will adopt this behaviour in the future, it is undoubtedly an exciting opportunity for many restaurants to create an additional revenue stream whilst opening up their brand to a national audience to enjoy. However before jumping straight in there is criteria which could determine whether your meal kit is successful from the get go.

A great place to start is to look at existing aggregators of restaurant meal kits, such as greatfood2u.co.uk. You will see some common themes; all the restaurant brands featured are brands with a decent (social) following built through telling their own unique story, leveraging relationships they have built with their customers and delivering on the restaurant experience with stand out dishes that deliver (no pun intended) on taste.

Image 3 Brand Story

If you are considering a restaurant DIY meal kit there are a few things to consider;

Dish choice

What are you famous for, what gets the best reviews and creates a buzz that customers can't stop talking about when they visited your restaurant? Offering this rather than anything else is a good start.

Image 4 Loved Dishes

New Business Model

Effectively the opportunity is a new business model for your restaurant that needs costing from the packaging to picking and delivery.

Pricing

Do you want to price your kit below or above what a consumer would typically pay if ordering your hot food for delivery or dining in your restaurant? From a consumer perspective they would expect to pay less for something they cook rather than your chef, but ultimately if your restaurant & dish is renowned and there is no restaurant where the consumer is based then there could be flexibility in pricing.  

Image 5 Pricing

Packaging

The choice of packaging will be influenced on whether the component is ambient or chilled. Also consider primary packaging to hold the individual components, secondary packaging, i.e. the box that hold it all together, and also padding and/or cold insulation to ensure it is kept in the best condition when delivered. To save on printed packaging costs when starting out consider branded stickers.

Dietary Requirements

Make sure allergens are clearly identified and communicated in any secret seasoning mix or sauce that you may or may not include in your kit.

Skillset

A key consideration is how complicated you want to make your kit. Over complicate and you risk losing the consumer & the result not being an accurate representation of your restaurant dish, make it too easy and it is a ready meal bringing less interaction from the at home cook.

Branding

It goes without saying that your kit needs to be branded so that is distinctively from your restaurant. You could even include branded serviettes or recyclable disposables that you would have given away for a takeaway.

Image 6 Branding

Go Direct or via 3rd Party

Greatfood2u.co.uk offer great meal kit services for restaurants helping manage the above key considerations and much more to help you launch.

Boosted by the current climate on eating out and newly adopted consumer behaviour, restaurant meal kits are here to stay and if done well will be an important way to grow your restaurant brand and bring in additional profit.

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Where to next?

Check out the second part of our Home Delivery Report

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