Archive for the ‘Meal Facilitation Franchise’ Category

Dinner by Design to expand – Continued

I have to say this article had me fuming! Now, I already posted this article a few days ago noting the expansion seemed “excessive” in light of current conditions. Again, they claim 30 stores in the Chicago area. That for a single state seems incredibly high. However, they go further to state they plan to open another 30 in the state – 15 in the suburbs and 15 in Chicago.

Holy Saturated Market Batman!!! California doesn’t even have that many stores from a single vendor and Dinner by Design thinks the city of Chicago needs 60??? I mean honestly, that just boggles my mind!

What infuriates me about this article are comments like “This industry is going through growing pains …” Really?

· Is that what you call 60 meal assembly stores going up for sale each month – growing pains?

· “Growing pains” are why store owners are scrambling to close their doors before they sink deeper into debt?

· “Growing pains” are why owners are desperately trying to figure out how to make it to the end of the month?

· “Growing pains” are why store owners aren’t paying themselves a salary and have been just breaking even for months on end?

Thank you Mr. Understatement!

I guess by this yardstick going into debt by $800,000 and declaring bankruptcy is a slight financial oversight. And no that isn’t my situation, that is based on comments made here and on other sites I have read.

I know nothing of the Dinner by Design sales (how many stores have opened/closed or customers per month), but how do you validate the rest of the statement above ” … but Dinner by Design is rocking”. What exactly constitutes a “rocking” company or industry? Is it by the sheer number of people you had pay the franchise fee? Is the industry “rocking” when most owners will agree there has been a huge drop in sales from last year? And by huge I would say a 50-70% drop in overall sales since this time last year? So how is Dinner by Design, “rocking?” What is the yard stick? What data, facts, figures support this claim? Sure, selling 60 franchises in a single state is “rocking” from a marketing an franchise standpoint, but let’s check in next year and see if the owners of those stores think it’s “rocking”.

I take this as yet another example of someone making a claim without a single piece of evidence or data to back it up.

The last thing this industry needs is expansion! It needs marketing, it needs consolidation, it needs leadership, it needs to be more owner and consumer focused. It doesn’t need comments like this.

Good luck to Dinner by Design, but I shudder to think of the wake of destruction that will follow this course of action.

(Crain’s) — Dinner by Design plans to expand its meal assembly concept in the Chicago area and the Midwest.

The company is seeking franchisees to open locations in Lake Forest, Winnetka, Palatine and Naperville in addition to Michigan, Missouri and Iowa. Those areas provide “excellent demographics for us,” said John Matthews, president and chief executive officer of Dinner by Design.

Mr. Matthews said the company has nearly 30 locations in the Chicago area and believes Dinner by Design can support another 15 more in the suburbs and an additional 15 in Chicago.

Grayslake-based Dinner by Design is one of more than two dozen chains that allow customers to come to a store and assemble multiple meals from fresh ingredients. The food can then be frozen and prepared at a later date. The company has 60 locations and agreements for another 40 in North America, which puts it in third place behind Seattle-based Dream Dinners and Super Suppers of Fort Worth, Texas, which each have more than 200 locations.

“The industry is going through growing pains, but Dinner by Design is rocking,” said Andy Potter, founder of the Meal Assembly Network, based in Evergreen, Colo. “This industry is still generally filling the niche of busy people who want to put food on the table.”

Dinner by Design has only two corporate-owned stores, with no immediate plans to open more non-franchised locations.

Franchisees pay a one-time fee of $35,000 in addition to footing the bill for store construction which Mr. Matthews said could run between $125,000 and $225,000.

Dinner by Design has only two corporate-owned stores with no immediate plans to open more non-franchise locations.

“That’s plenty for us right now,” he said.

2007 Fastest-Growing Franchises Rankings

Entrepreneur has put out a list of the top franchises for 2007. Strangely Super Suppers hits the list at #31 and Dream Dinners comes in at #58.

Of course I have to wonder about this list since Quizno’s is near the top and several Ebay drop off stores dot the list as well. Why is that an issue? Well, Quizno’s has certainly had their share of legal issues regarding their franchise owners. Multiple lawsuits have been brought up. Class action lawsuits, dozens of incredibly hostile web/blog sites, angry owners who can’t sell their stores and many more issues. Nothing against Quizno’s, but having your store shrouded in legal troubles doesn’t make for good business. I’m not sure how they were even able to get on this list considering the stores I’ve read.

And the Ebay dropoff stores are in the same boat. Stores are closing all over the country, owners are demanding legal action and lawsuits are pending all over. Many of those businesses have gone bankrupt in less than a year. There are sites which have lists of all the stores closing. Again, not sure how this business even made it onto the list with all that baggage behind it.

So, I can’t say I actually trust this list. It seems many of the franchises they believe in have one thing in common, they are growing across the country, but they have disgruntled owners who are trying to get out of the business.

2007 Fastest-Growing Franchises Rankings

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