Archive for April, 2010

It’s been a long time

I just noticed it’s been nearly a month since I wrote anything about this industry. Quite frankly there are a couple of reasons for that. First off, I’ve been busy. I work real work hours these days and can’t focus as much time as I used to to investigating all the trickery that the meal prep industry is up to these days. (And they’re still lying, cheating and deceiving, make no mistake) Secondly, from the complete lack of news and coverage coming from this industry it’s easy to surmise that it’s all but dead.

I see small articles crop up here and there, where some store is announcing its plan to try something completely new and different which happens to be the same thing another store on the other side of country tried a year or so ago and still went out of business. That may be news to that local area, but it’s the same old story in the grand scheme of things.

Perhaps there is a new "generation" of meal preppers out there ready to give this idea a try and if there is, then bully for them. If history has taught us anything it’s that they’ll jump on the treadmill for a couple of months then fall off the wagon never to be seen or heard from again.

I still see two major flaws with this industry.

First, there still isn’t a large enough pool of people consistently using the service each month to make it a viable business. Even after multiple stores in the same area close allowing one store to have the customer base to themselves, is there really enough people willing to commit each month to coming in? And I’m not talking 30 or 40 people a month. I’m talking 300 people, coming through the door each month and ordering the full array of meals. As I’ve said before if you aren’t taking home a $50k a year paycheck for yourself then running one of these businesses is utterly pointless. You could wait tables and make more money than most of these stores bring in.

The second problem is the support from HQ. Not only do you have to worry whether or not you’ll have enough customers to survive, you also have to wonder if your corporate office is going to be around from month to month. Clearly the business acumen of those at the franchisor level is non-existent. Most of them have walked away from the businesses they started and those sticking around have shown they don’t exactly have a head for running a business. I mean seriously, how hard is it to take a business of 200 stores and screw up so badly that nearly half of them close? You’d pretty much have to be asleep at the wheel to pull that off.

Some people say now that so many of the stores have dried up and disappeared HQ can now focus on rebuilding and rebranding. My response to that is, with what money? Do you really think they’re raking in royalty money? And if they are do you really think they’re going to spend it on you? After all these years they’ve now turned to informercials to sell this idea and using the same tired pitch they’ve been spouting since the beginning. And I’m sure consumers will have all the confidence in the world handing over their money to a business that has shown it can fold overnight.

I think it’s safe to say that article writers are just as bored with this industry as the rest of the public is. Maybe I’ve missed something, but it looks like just about everyone has moved on past meal assembly.

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