Meal Assembly – The Long Slow Grind into Oblivion

A quick check of the tote board shows, unsurprisingly, another drop in the number of Super Suppers and Dream Dinners stores that have actually remained open.

Leading us off, Super Suppers drops to just 35 stores that still remain open across the country. Let us not forget that according to some numbers, Super Suppers may have had as many as 235 stores open in their hay day. A big of a fall from grace there I’m afraid.

Dream Dinners is also in a slump and is slowly but surely working their way to having less than 100 stores open. Best guess says they have around 109 still operating. Just like Super Suppers, they used to have nearly 235 stores operating when they were in full swing. Their failure rate is certainly tipping the scales at well over 50%. Not a good investment no matter how you look at it.

And across the nation the actual number of meal prep companies and the total number of stores still continue to drop. 20 more companies sobered up and realized there is money to be somewhere else. And with them they shut down over 60 stores. Only a 1/3 of the stores (out of the 1500 that were once open) are still out there.

I’m sure the numbers are still dropping and will continue to do so throughout the year.

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24 Responses to “Meal Assembly – The Long Slow Grind into Oblivion”

  • Judie Byrd:

    I don’t know what your sources are but if you go to the Super Suppers website, there are less than 30 stores. Some of those are not open. Store count probably closer to 24 or 25.

  • The numbers I have are a few months old so I would agree you are probably right in saying in reality there are even fewer stores open. These franchises close stores but then keep the store listed just to make the numbers look bigger. We all know Dream Dinners was notorious for this using the phrase “temporarily closed” to describes dozens of their stores. Even stores that had been closed for over a year.

    I would agree, Super Suppers is probably hovering in the low 20’s with the number of stores they still have operating. I know there are none within a 100 miles of me…

  • Nancy Tepedino:

    Dream Dinners and Super Suppers are great in concept. They are only as good as the managers and the workers. I have used Dream Dinners in MD and it is great but was fearful that when I left it would close up. My children got me a gift certificate for Super Supers. I live in NY and drove 100 miles to find one that was still open-Amherst. It was listed and still is on the web site. Guess what? it was closed. Had been for quite awhile. Tried calling the phone number for days and it would only ring and ring. Heard from the store next door that the gal was given much press and told people that the summer “killed” her business. Of course she was never open on Saturdays. So I guess I am stuck unless I fly to Ohio to use the gift certificate. Any ideas?? I think the numbers are real low, like 0 in NY, 2 in Ohio. So there maybe less than 30 stores nationwide. I really think people are just plain lazy and would rather eat out than assemble a meal and cook it.

  • James C. Taylor:

    I found this place while searching for information on meal assembly places. We had a “My Girlfriend’s Kitchen” which was wonderful. Then Dinner A’Fare bought them out and the local operators didn’t like the Dinner A’Fare people so much so they went their own way for a while and now they’re gone. I understand the decline overall with the poor economy, but I thought the concept was sound and I am not sure why these meal assembly places are disappearing so quickly.

  • Guestoo:

    @James C. Taylor,
    Do yourself a HUGE favor and READ the posts here ALL OF THEM…you will see that some of tried to warn others and got reamed for it…those who defended the concept are themselves almost to the man OUT OF BUSINESS…The concept was NEVER sound…take it from an ex-owner of one of dogs…the demise of meal assembly places had nothing to do with a poor economy and everything to do with a faulty and unproven & unworkable concept/model. The only thing that kept it afloat as long as it did was a steady stream of dupes who bought the unproven concept hook line and stinker…and I do mean stinker…the lucky ones only lost a little or got in and out early (the franchisors who saw the ugly writing on the wall & made their millions on the backs of unwitting dupes), most of us lost our life savings,retirement, homes and our dignity and the most tragic of all of us were those who lost their families…DO NOT go anywhere near the concept IMHO it is a dog of a dog of a dog that will eat you up and spit you up…forwarned and all that…

  • kct:

    I wish we never purchased a Dream Dinners Franchise. They claimed the model would work, but it really never did. We drained all of our assets and now are being told we are responsible for the remainder of our franchise contract (a lot of money)! I wish I knew what rights we have to sue – but at this point, we just need to figure out how to walk away without paying the remainder of our contract. They (Dream Dinners) are blaming us for our store’s failure. Go figure. So there is one less Dream Dinners – ours.

  • Meal assembly is not working, as a whole, because it is perceived as an added expense instead of part of the meal budget. Our core customers are the ones who know the value and continue to use it and purchase it for others. I have changed my business from a “retail” kitchen to strictly delivery to reduce overhead and the onslaught of ridiculous requests and whims of fly by night customers. We now serve only the people who rely on it monthly. It has taken me a year to climb almost all the way out of the hole that the former franchise owners left me and many others in. Meal assembly is still an unusual concept and hard to explain and advertise. In our case, it was not marketed long enough or aggressively enough prior to selling franchises. It was not strong enough at the beginning of the economic downturn. Our franchise owner/creator sold to her business consultant who brought in shady silent investors. Then he left them high and dry to run a franchise they knew very little about. We all lost alot. I have reinvented the business because I believe in its core purpose and held on to that concept despite pressure from a franchise that tried every gimic affordable. It CAN work, if you hold true to its purpose.

  • anon:

    @Sandy…I owned more that one DD and walked away. They threatened to come after me and even called my employees trying to scare them on our last day. I just played hard ball with them and told them to get screwed! I lost everything so there wasn’t much else to lose. They sent me an agreement to not come after me if I promised never to sue. Didn’t sign that either. They never did a thing. I chose not to join in the law suit because I felt that we had gone through enough emotional trauma. Don’t let them bully you!! They are horrible, greedy and cowardly people.

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