Archive for July, 2007

Meal Assembly Centers Enter Supermarket Arena: Are YOU Prepared?

An interesting article from the Perishable Pundit with several comments about Meal Assembly Stores showing up in grocery stores.

The problem is that we don’t yet know if MACs are viable. As the article points out, they are booming – but almost all are franchises, and the small footprint of most of these stores allows them to open easily in many locations. In addition, it is an easy concept to understand, and most people looking to start a business would find this concept accessible.

But are these stores earning an adequate return on capital?

Do the families that own them earn an acceptable wage for their work? We really have no idea.

A few interesting comments on what a grocery store meal assembly store can offer versus a stand along store. The idea that grocery stores offer such a wide variety of side dishes, salads, desserts, breads, wines, etc, does offer a competitive advantage for the grocery store.

The Pundit thinks it is well worth an experiment but suspects that simply opening a Meal Assembly Center franchise in a store isn’t taking full advantage of a supermarket’s competitive edge.

For example, many Meal Assembly Centers often offer set menus every month and require advance ordering. You see in the release that Dream Dinners requires people to log in on a computer and order selections from a monthly menu from home. This is partly so the centers can buy and prep the food. Supermarkets offer the advantage of having all the food in the world right at the doorstep. They can support much wider menu options than free-standing stores.

Also, supermarkets have an incentive to keep people in the stores longer. One wonders if they could actually cook the food for consumers and blast freeze it while consumers do other shopping?

Certainly marketing and merchandising will be important. If a consumer signs up to make a particular entrée, selling that consumer appropriate beverages, side dishes, salads, bakery items, etc., could make the experience both superior for the consumer and profitable for the retailer.

You can read the full article here:

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Publicity Mistakes – Don’t Sabotage Your Success

The number one rule of being successful in the world of publicity (or in just about any other field, for that matter): Don’t sabotage your efforts with dumb — and easily correctable — mistakes. Here then are the dumb things that publicity seekers do. Avoid them, and you’ll be well on your way to scoring great coverage!

1. Thinking Like an Advertiser
2. Getting Too Close to Your Product
3. Getting too Close to a Journalist
4. Obsessing Over the Big Hits
5. Reading from a Script
6. Using Outdated Media Lists
7. Not Understanding Timing
8. Not Being Accessible
9. Not Telling the Truth
10. Being Sloppy

Typos, bad printing, hideous press kit covers, poorly shot photos, improperly formatted press releases…these are the signs of an amateur. Amateurs don’t get coverage.

Before you send out anything, proof it. Then proof it again. Then give it to someone else to proof. Then proof it again.

Some good information. If nothing else, it might be refresher or just a checklist to keep in mind.

Read the full article here:

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SupperWorks Opens Eighth Store in Ontario

SupperWorks, headquartered in Oakville, Ontario, has capitalized on this trend in the canadian market.

The SupperWorks brand offers healthy recipes, convenience and a unique in-store experience.

Recipes are thoroughly tested before being added to the menu and provide customers with meals they can be proud to serve to friends and loved ones.

The SupperWorks chain recently opened its eighth location in Waterloo Ontario and has further plans for expansion.

“Not having the responsibility of meal preparation for 2 weeks is such a stress release; it’s heavenly!” says Candace of Oshawa. “I wish I could extend my summer longer.”

Candice’s comment echoes the thoughts of many families. One of the more enjoyable aspects of summer vacation is the thrill of not having to plan or prepare meals.

Read the full article here:

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I really have to protest

Maybe it’s not my place, but if you’re a meal assembly store owner, is it really a wise idea to promote it on MySpace? I have seen a couple of blogs out there for different stores which look professional and have a similar look and feel as their main web sites, but they certainly weren’t on MySpace.

I wouldn’t exactly say MySpace is the platform for launching a business of this sort. It could just be me, but I don’t see the meal assembly customer as the MySpace kind of user. The typical meal assembly customer cringes when they heard that word!

I have my own opinions about MySpace and the type of content they have been infamous for. I just don’t see this as the way to spread the word about your store. There are plenty of other free blog sites which would be much better suited to interact with your customers.

Talk about a role reversal, do you really want your customers wading through pictures of teenagers showing off what they’ve been doing for the summer when no one is looking? Not to mention all the banner ads, horrible templates and general juvenile nature of MySpace.

Do yourself a favor, find another place to promote your store. Perhaps something a little more upscale…

Organic meal assembly

While out on Internet walkabout, I came across an organic meal assembly store, Dinners At Home. Right from the main page:

If you prefer organic ingredients and hormone free meats, these sessions are for you. Walk-in dates, full sessions, and assembled dinners are available to make your life easier!

Just a sample of their menu includes:

Chicken and Cashew stir fry with rice
Chicken Piccata with Lemon, Capers, and Artichoke Hearts
Ham and Asparagus Quiche
Sweet Garlic Tomato Beef and Parmesan Pasta

So there we have it, organic meal assembly. There are obviously other organic stores out there, I just liked the way this one presented it right up front. Plus out of all the stores I clicked, this is the only one that was organic.

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