Archive for the ‘Independent Meal Assembly’ Category

Meal assembly store survives

This does show that the independent store is far more adaptable than the larger franchises who don’t understand the needs of customers on the whole let alone at a local level, however, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. There is a big difference between being a survivor in this mess of an industry and bringing home a salary that allows you to pay all your bills, have money for yourself and still spend time with your own family around the dinner table.

Also, it’s quotes like this that still make me wonder if people really understand this industry:

""People still need to eat," she said, adding that her meals are still cheaper and healthier than picking up fast food for a quick meal."

Hanging your hat on that mantra will lead to bankruptcy, as we’ve already seen…

Nationwide, the number of meal assembly businesses increased from four in 2002 to 1,400 in 2007, according to a recent story in The New York Times. But growth has slowed considerably. About 260 stores closed in 2007, and three times as many closed the previous year, according to the story.

Sioux Falls has experienced a similar downturn. Of the three businesses that opened, only the local player, Your Secret Kitchen, is still around.

Owner Kim Schetnan said it’s because she’s a locally owned business that she’s been able to survive. She was able to adapt more easily to the changing market.

Meal assembly store survives

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.



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.

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.


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.

Dinner prep business hopes to survive economic freeze

It would seem this is a story that many owners are familiar with.

“Eventually, it’s going to be a good thing. But I’m not sure we’re going to be here to capitalize,” Ewing said. “We’re in a last ditch effort to stay alive.”

As part of that effort, Dinner’s Ready Gastonia is another local business to drop its national franchise and declare independence, launching a new Web site Washington-based Dinners Ready at one time boasted as many as 34 locations in North America, but now the company Web site lists only eight locations in Oregon and Washington.

“Meal assembly has really suffered because of the economy,” Ewing said.

Dinner prep business hopes to survive economic freeze

Entrepreneur looks for silver lining

After hearing about meal assembly kitchens, she looked for one in Wilmington and, finding none, decided to buy a franchise and open My Girlfriend’s Kitchen.

After eight months, she said, she found out that the parent company was going to be sold. It took several months for the deal to go through, and she decided to keep the business open independently rather than joining on with the new company. She wasn’t happy with the food quality of the new franchise, and it would have restricted her freedom to offer pre-assembled meals rather than having each customer create a meal from provided ingredients.

Entrepreneur looks for silver lining

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