Archive for December, 2008

The Dinner A’fare plans to close Tuesday in Tracy – another victim of a down economy.

Even with a new name it doesn’t sound like the business is coming together as planned.

The third store of its kind to go under in Tracy will close next week when The Dinner A’fare, a meal assembly business, shuts its doors.

Owner Leigh Anne Durant bought the franchise in April as My Girlfriend’s Kitchen, and The Dinner A’fare bought out the franchise name in June. She said she invested close to $300,000 in the franchise, at one point employed nine people and had a customer base of 750.

Dinner My Way, a similar business, closed in May, and Kitchen Angel closed sometime within the last year.

Durant said a slumping economy triggered a decrease in sales, especially in November.

Another business to close

Make & Take Gourmet, Bellso Serve Up Franchise Fraud To Go

The hits just keep on coming!!

Looks like the Bellso’s are bound and determined to make some of my predictions come true! We’ll have to keep an eye on this, we might have the winner for the first franchise to close for 2009.

Michele Bellso and her ill-fated Make and Take Gourmet meal assembly kitchen franchise chain continue to provide compelling examples of how NOT to start and run a franchise chain. Their newest lesson plan includes a special guest appearance by, pound for pound, the hardest working franchise enforcement agency: the Maryland Attorney General.

Here are some of the allegations:
* Make & Take Gourmet Sold Unregistered Franchises
* Make & Take Gourmet Violated Franchise Disclosure Laws
* Make & Take Gourmet Skirted MD Escrow Requirements
* Make & Take Gourmet Made Illegal Earnings Claims

Make & Take Gourmet, Bellso Serve Up Franchise Fraud To Go

You can read more about the allegations and how Make and Take Gourmet failed to meet the requirments by reading the article on Unhappy Franchisee:
Make & Take Gourmet, Michele Bellso Accused of Franchise Fraud

Meal Prep Franchises Are Choking

The Franchise King is not amused by the franchise idea of meal assembly.

As I predicted, the franchise business model of meal assembly is a bust. The lousy economy is certainly not a boost to this business model
that was thought out without the input of people that actually are in the franchise business.

This is also a prime example of why people who want to invest in a franchise, but have never purchased one, shouldn’t try to figure this all out on their own.

Meal Prep Franchises Are Choking

Cash-strapped consumers turning their backs on meal-prep businesses

Oh my is this validation and support of my thoughts on meal assembly?

And once again here is more backpedaling and changing stats to meet the needs of an article:

“People who opened these businesses thought it was going to be easier to explain and generate awareness than it actually was,” said Bert Vermeulen, Easy Meal Prep’s leader. “Awareness remains a challenge for the industry, and there were some franchises that were weak in terms of supporting their franchisees.”

Between 2003 and 2006, meal prep was a red-hot franchise category, with industry revenue doubling each year, Vermeulen said. Industry-wide, revenue is expected to remain flat this year at $370 million, though that will be spread over fewer stores.

I thought the industry was going to be fine and still make over $400 million for the year? From just the other day we got this from the all knowing Easy Meal Prep association.

today the meal-prep industry is a $370-million business, expected to increase to $410 million by the end of 2009, according to The Easy Meal Prep Co”.

Oh Bert, you really do just make this crap up while you’re sitting in front of the TV don’t you? Now you’ve downgraded your projections by $40 million? And I wonder who was telling them it was going to be easier than it actually was; it couldn’t possibly be those associations who were selling them recipes and store opening planners was it?

Not so long ago, time-strapped moms warmed up to meal-preparation businesses — visiting for a couple of hours to assemble several weeks’ worth of healthful dinners for their families at about $25 per entree.

But now that many people find money is more of a problem than time, and with so many franchises competing for business, the industry has struggled.

With a glut of outlets and standard prices often higher than restaurant takeout, franchisees across the country are feeling the pinch, and some are closing.

Losing their appetite

Where will the meal assembly industry be in 2009? (Part 4)

So what’s in store for 2009?

Honestly I don’t think anything is in store for meal assembly in 2009. It would appear this industry has run its course and while there might be a few owners who find a small market for themselves, I think the cards are stacked against this business gaining ground. When the economy was good meal assembly had to overcome a lot of hurdles to even get recognition. It did manage to grab the attention of many consumers for the short term, but that quickly faded with most of them returning to their previous lifestyle. Visiting a store was an idea they toyed with, but it remained in the background and was seldom acted upon.

But this was all before the bottom fell out of the entire economy. Now that hundreds of thousands of people are losing their jobs on a monthly basis all across the country and almost every day another company announces layoffs in the thousands, how will consumers view the idea and expense of meal assembly? On the whole, they won’t. It won’t be in the budget and will be outside the norm of their routine. People retreated into their own kitchens at the crippling gas prices and huge cost increases on all food items. In light of the critical financial disaster that is more than likely going to strike the nation as a whole which will cause almost everyone to think twice about any purchase, this industry faces almost insurmountable odds to try and lure customers through the door. Almost every tactic and ploy has been used on the public to get them to buy into this idea, but it has failed to take root. There is very little cause to believe that 2009 will somehow be miraculously different.

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