Chef Dane makes it’s debut in Arizona, with more stores to come.

There is a lot of press about Chef Dane opening additional stores across the country. Their offering is a more “gourmet” and upscale menu that features a few more exotic ingredients that the kids may wrinkle their noses at. However, the market is still literally bursting with all the stores on the scene. Can a store with a more gourmet flair survive in these times? The owners of the new Chef Dane in Arizona think so, even with dozens of other stores in the area.

With more than 40 stores providing a similar concept across the Valley, partial owner Jack Feiter said he bought into the franchise for its unique gourmet spin on the meal-prep concept.

At Chef Dane’s customers can come in and prepare meals such as Atlantic salmon with black bean pineapple salsa themselves. Or, they call their order in and have it made by a store attendant for easy pick up later.

For customers who want to make the meal preparation a social, interactive experience, stainless steel “prep stations” form an island in the middle of the store. Recipe placards sit atop the stations and customers follow the directions using the meal ingredients that are laid out at each station.

For example, at the “chocolate bread pudding with amaretto sauce” station, a bin of eggs, chocolate chips, coffee and other ingredients sit in refrigerated tubs. Customers don plastic gloves, whip up the recipe in a mixing bowl, scoop the batter and sauce in disposable containers, and take the product home to bake later.

Recipes can be altered to suit each customer’s taste. Feiter said some patrons opt to leave out overpowering spices, garlic or pepper. Other customers consult him to make recipes vegetarian or diet-friendly.

Chef Dane also has an agressive expansion plan for the area. A 5 year plan to have outlets across the state.

The company’s Arizona franchise manager, Joe Cunningham, said the goal is to open 14 Chef Dane’s outlets across the state within the next two years, and possibly 30 over the next five years. The chain is also in the process of creating a central Arizona franchise office in Scottsdale.

Maybe gourmet is good. Maybe upscale will upsell. Maybe “fresh, never frozen” will prevail. Singles and maybe “empty nesters” might be more attracted to this particular menu. With a multitude of similar stores already in the area a new store will certainly have to set itself apart and do it quickly to survive.

It will certainly be interesting to see what kind of landscape there is for the meal assembly business within the next two years, let alone five.

And as a final thought… There is something really familiar about those walls…

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4 Responses to “Chef Dane makes it’s debut in Arizona, with more stores to come.”

  • Lililan Shedden:

    Does anyone know what is happening with Chef Dane’s? A few of their locations have been changed to Make & Take Gourmet (including their Surprise, AZ location. What is going on?

  • mysterymiss:

    I thought most of them closed

  • cookgal:

    I think their HO is in CA. Looks like there are still stores open in Walnut Creek and Santa Clara. The website shows many stores coming soon. The Rocklin store seems to be gone…. no menu since October. Also – two franchises have changed over to Make and Take Gourmet. Why would that be? Do you think the two companies (Dane and MTG) are collaborating in any way, or did the two Zees get fed up with Dane and switch to a new Zor??? This is a story I would love to hear more about.

  • cookgal:

    The spring flu has me staying at home unexpectedly and I have filled my time catching up on this site. Wow…. I was totally unaware that so much is happening with the major Zors. All seems to be quiet in Super Supper Camp although I’ve seen quite a few of them for sale. You may have already seen my research on the Dinner Afare/MGFK buyout. Anyway – I was curious about this smaller franchise so I visited the website (and yes…… I looked up their UFOC). I noticed that one location that opened in the last year or so was closed for remodeling. If you just opened do you need to remodel???? What’s up with these guys? The Arizona locations are listed, but take you to a site not found page. I wonder….. will we hear that they are buying the Dinner Afare system someday soon????? Just wondering.


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