Archive for February, 2010

Dream Dinners – Less stores than what you thought

According to this PR Note, Dream Dinners is actually closer to 115 stores, not the 130 we keep seeing. So yes, they are coming to the end of the line as well.

Dream Dinners®, the leading meal assembly chain with more than 115 locations in the U.S., has retained Duo PR as its agency-of-record, effective immediately. In this role, the agency will focus on supporting Dream Dinners’ major consumer marketing initiatives and new product offerings via traditional media relations and grassroots campaigns, as well as provide all corporate communications counsel.

Dream Dinners in PR News

EATS – Where are they now?

Let’s not forget about EATS, the other sale systems used by several (now defunct) Independent meal assembly stores and even one large franchise. Considering they had a large franchise contract they should be doing quite well these days, right?

Looks like EATS may be a victim of the same ills as What’s Cooking. Several of their clients are no longer in business and their site hasn’t been updated with any new clients since July 2008. It’s rather ironic that their last posts references their work with Super Suppers and getting those 140 stores moved over to the EATS system. Funny, at least 100 of those stores no longer exist.

Doesn’t look like too much is being powered by EATS these days.

Clients

Blog

What’s Cooking Software – Where are they now?

You remember What’s Cooking Software, right? They hit the scene with software to help the independent meal prep owner compete in the hot and exciting world of the meal assembly industry. They were even behind an ill fated and never quite able to get off the ground coalition idea to help independent owners work together and succeed. I guess they couldn’t work together to make their site succeed.

So where are they now?

Not only are they misleading people by listing the same company more than once (makes you look bigger than you are I guess), if you click their clients, half of them are no longer in business. (At the very least they link to dead sites). A fine example of what their software can do for you.

http://www.whatscookingsoftware.com/clients.html

And let’s not forget Jim had this to say about the meal prep industry:

"The hot concept of "meal assembly" may be over, but innovations for the next market phase are well under way.   The trick is to be capitalized enough or "fending off your debtors" long enough to make it there when the pendulum swings.   And, it will swing." – June 16, 2008

Indeed, Jim, swing like the gallows. And Jim promptly closed his own meal prep store shortly after making this bold assumption.

http://www./Forum/index.php?topic=274.0

It doesn’t look like the What’s Cooking Software site has been updated with new clients since June, 2008, right after Jim predicted the pendulum to swing. Go figure.

How did January work out for you?

The first month of the year has come and gone, so how did things work out for you? Did the Dream Dinners blog bring in lots of new customers for you? Did Stephanie’s riveting blog give you inspirational ideas to pass along to your customers? Did Judie’s TV show make you feel better about buying into her franchise? I’m sure it did!

And how did the rest of the country fair? Sales are up, right? Well, no. More stores are now opening, right? Well, leeches are suckering in their friends and customers to buy into this dog and pony show.

According to some new figures it should come as no surprise that Dream Dinners and Super Suppers both had more store closings. Super Suppers is just inches away from dropping below 50 stores. Through miracle of miracle, Dream Dinners is somehow managing to stay afloat with 130 stores. Perhaps those Dream Dinners owners just can’t admit defeat. But in the long run 16 more companies failed and another 55 outlets shut down (more than likely the owners went bankrupt over it).

Personally, I think the numbers are much lower. I’d be surprised if Dream Dinners still had a 100 stores actually operating. They love to play fast and loose with their numbers and in the past they had no problem listing a store that had long since gone out of business as "temporarily closed". And considering they’ve actually removed the franchise link from their sites I would venture to say they aren’t selling any more locations. Probably haven’t sold a new franchise in quite awhile.

Super Suppers is on the outs. I think by the time the summer months roll around, Super Suppers will be nothing more than a bad memory.

And what about all those other franchises we used to hear about? Exactly.

As you might expect, 2010 is starting off with more of the same for meal assembly owners.

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