Archive for May, 2008

Dining Out Declines

But people have to eat… at home…

The restaurant industry is taking a hit as economic struggles plague the country. New consumer research from Mintel1 reveals that over half (54%) of people who dine out regularly are cutting back on restaurant spending because of the economy.

Rising gas and food prices, home foreclosures and a fear of recession have caused many Americans to curb out-to-eat spending. Seventy percent of those trying to cut back are saving money by going out to eat less, rather than by choosing cheaper entrees or dining at less expensive restaurants, reports Mintel.

But as budgets tighten, home cooking is getting a lot more attention. Mintel found that 72% of people who regularly cook at home do so because it is cheaper than other options

Dining Out Declines

But people have to eat

I cringe when I see this phrase and it ranks right up there with people have to live somewhere.

While these may in fact be true statements (except for people who are starving and homeless) I don’t see how you can build a business or justify its existence on such a vague notion. And this statement has been cropping up when it comes to meal assembly for at least a year now.

It seems like when you run out of ideas on why you have a good business idea you whip this little gem out. People do indeed need to eat, but that doesn’t mean you have anything in your stable they want. Meal assembly was considered a non-essential luxury when times were good. Now that we have turned the corner I doubt anyone is even going to consider meal assembly an alternative to eating out no matter how many times you say this and no matter what your survey says. In their minds, now more than ever, they can make it cheaper at home.

They can make how many pounds of spaghetti for $5?
They can make the kids how much macaroni and cheese for $5?
Bulk ground beef for tacos is how much?
Soup and sandwiches will set you back how much?
Breakfast for dinner will put how much of a dent in the checking account?
Peanut butter and jelly is how much again?

That pretty much looks like eating to me and aren’t these meals what kids want to eat anyway? So let’s just have a look here. For $30 I can make everything above to feed the kids for a few days and keep them happy versus spending $20-30 on a single MA meal which will last one night. Are they the best meals? No. Are they exceedingly nutritious? Nope. Will the kids eat them? More than likely, yes. (And if not it isn’t that big of a waste). Are they cheap? Yep, and that’s all that matters.

By mid-summer when gas hits $5 a gallon, people will be grilling cheap burgers and hotdogs and the kids will love it. The cost savings is going to override all other concerns. Dinner may come from a box or can more frequently these days, but as long as it’s cheap it will get the thumbs up.

Sure, people have to eat, but you show me three good reasons why any of those people will be eating from meal assembly offerings. For those understood the process, buying in bulk was a benefit, the time saved was a benefit, having the meals done ahead of time was a benefit, but people sloughed that off over a year ago.

It’s all about saving money and spending $5 on pasta to feed a family of four is going to win every time over that pre-assembled MA meal…

How NOT to close a store

I’m not bringing this up to single anyone out; rather I think there is a lot to learn from this post. I think it’s safe to say this is not the best way to go about closing down your store.

It’s interesting to note that the store was still selling gift certificates even though they were closing down.

Sending out a blast email with a free-for-all-first-come-first-served-take-all-you-want mentality probably isn’t going to be well received and may just be a sure fire recipe for disaster and pissed of buyers.

It’s a great idea to make as many meals as you can and use up as much inventory as you can, but keep a clear head when you do it. You don’t want to just toss open the doors and let the chaos ensue. Closing should still be professional and orderly with a focus on try to accommodate and please customers rather than a last ditch effort to aggravate them.

You still need to conduct business in town, and you certainly don’t want to be the person people refer to with the phrase “Oh… that’s the person who…”

Well, my SIL Carrie forwarded me an email she received from the company stating that they were closing and they were having a sale on their May menu and it excluded the June items.  Prepackaged frozen meals were 50% off. Awesome deal. So me and a  couple of my girlfriends (who happened to be regular, loyal customers to MGFK since the day they opened mind you) went to go grab some grub.

My life, my love, my reality…: My Girlfriend’s Kitchen is a bust

The lawsuits are racking up

Not meal assembly, by franchise lawsuits in general. From fitness centers to coffee shops so many franchises seem to be getting caught at selling a crap idea that looked good on paper. Read a few days worth of articles at FranchisePick and your mouth will hang open at the schemes that people have bought into. I really don’t know anything about these franchises or the owners, but it does strike me at how they all seem to share that same common factor that caused all the problems – franchisor greed…

I guess we can look on the bright side that by the end of the year so many of these companies will be out of business, either they’ll be sued out of business, people will read about their misdeeds or they will skip town and run for the hills.

It seems part of your business strategy is to have a franchise attorney at the ready to sue your Zor when you find out they’ve screwed you.

It’s quite disturbing trend.

Blogger Kings Caught Telling Whoppers

Is Burger King taking a page from the Dream Dinners playbook or is it the other way around? Seems people frown upon this sort of lying, err, impersonating. Or do they?

Don’t despair, perhaps he can find work at Dream Dinners… He might even get a raise and a promotion…

(FranchisePick.Com) Corporate blogging shills and sock puppeteers take heed: In the blogosphere, honesty is the best policy.

Just ask former Burger King VP Steve Grover and former spokesman Keva Silversmith, who were recently fired for “sock puppetry”: online shill posting of pro-company comments under a fake identity. In the BK case, the two also indulged in a bit of slander against the farmworker advocacy group they’ve been battling, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers.

Blogger Kings Caught Telling Whoppers

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