Archive for the ‘Super Suppers’ Category

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.

Now, about those franchise costs …

The Schneiders allege that Defendant assured them, through a pamphlet provided by a sales representative, that the estimated start-up costs for a Super Suppers franchise was approximately $65,000.00. ld. at ¶¶ 30-31, Exh. A. Later, Plaintiffs were informed by CEO of Super Suppers, Bill Byrd, that the start-up cost would be between $60,000.00 and $80,000.00. ld. at ¶ 36. The UFOC provided to the Schneiders by Defendant estimated start-up cost at $72,200.00 — $107,700.00. CompI. [DE-I] Exh. B, p. 6. Despite the varying estimates as to cost, Plaintiffs signed the Franchise Agreement in June 2005, with plans to open their Super Suppers franchise in Raleigh, North Carolina, after paying Defendants the initial franchise fee of $20,000.00. ld. at ¶¶ 37-38. On January 27,2006, Plaintiffs assigned all their rights and obligations under the Franchise Agreement to Tuscan Downs, Inc., the couple’s corporate operating entity via a Release and Transfer Consent Agreement. ld. at ¶ 41; Mot. to Dismiss [DE-14], Exh. A.

Plaintiffs allege in their Complaint that their ultimate start-up costs were $221,000.00, an amount they allege is substantially higher than any estimate they were provided by the Franchisor. ld. at ¶ 44. Throughout their Complaint, Plaintiffs also allege other, various misrepresentations by Defendant. Plaintiffs allege that these misrepresentations led to the unavoidable closing of their Raleigh Super Suppers franchise in September 2007. ld. at ¶ 83.

 

TUSCAN DOWNS, INC. v. THE CULINARY SCHOOL OF FORT WORTH, LLC

Still think stores aren’t closing?

Just saw an article where a Super Suppers store will be closing on August 14th. The owners site "rising food costs have contributed to high expenses in a poor economy, making it difficult to continue the business." The owners will also be selling off the equipment as they head towards their final days.

Notice how it doesn’t say they’re selling the business and that’s it’s a great opportunity for someone else to come in and take over. They’re just dumping it. I keep asking, is Super Supper still a functioning franchise? Who’s running the show?

Now that the grinding months of summer are coming to a close I wouldn’t be surprised if we see more store closings. Summer is a horrible time for this industry, food costs are still going up, unemployment is still going up, people are still cutting costs and this luxury service won’t get back on the list.

So who else is looking to close a store before the end of the year?

Time to check in on store closings

Well, here we are just about half way through the year and since graduations are upon us, the long slow summer is just about to begin. So how have meal assembly stores faired since the beginning of the year? Normally I think the stats on the number of meal prep stores still around is greatly exaggerated and this time around is no different. I find it hard to believe that only 20 companies closed up shop and 53 stores total decided to close. Considering the complete lack of acknowledgement about this industry in the news and other places I find it hard to believe that only a few stores have closed down. Furthermore Dream Dinners only lost 7 stores and Super Suppers didn’t lose any. Really? Both franchises were losing 2-3 stores a month and now they aren’t losing any? Are these the last few stores actually making some sort of profit?

Quite frankly, I’m shocked. The fact that Super Suppers hasn’t shut down completely is an absolute miracle. Either the numbers are wrong or there are some really brave souls out there who are waiting for the economic tide to turn. Despite the fact that banks are closing, businesses are closing, unemployment is through the roof, things are going to change any second, right?

So here’s the question, are there really that many stores still in operation out there, or is the ASSociation that puts these numbers together, sells these stores on their site and sells products to these owner at conventions trying to paint a much rosier picture than reality?

I find it impossible to believe that Super Suppers, who has all but abandoned their franchise, makes no marketing attempts and is getting by on hopes and dreams didn’t close a single store in the last 6 months.

The end of the line for Super Suppers

Would it be considered ironic or laughable that Super Suppers will be closing down their corporate run store because they can’t make any money with it? As we’ve clearly seen, even the so called creators of this industry can’t make any money from an actual store, they can only raise capital by selling franchises to anyone who asks and then gouging them again when their store fails. Capitalism is a fine thing isn’t it?

So where does this leave Super Suppers? With an ever shrinking base of open stores it’s hard to imagine that the corporate office really serves any purpose, if there’s even a corporate office any more.

We all know Judie has abandoned the franchise for greener pastures so who’s at the helm? Is anyone actually steering this ship?

Are current owners looking to try and become independent owners or like the corporate owners themselves, just give up on the idea of meal assembly altogether?

As it stands now, Super Suppers is right on track to be dissolved well before the end of the year. Since we’re right on the cusp of Spring and then the long slow Summer, it seems like dark times ahead for this franchise and it’s remaining owners.

Seriously, if you don’t have an escape plan yet, you need to get one. This franchise is doomed, you need to protect yourself and minimize the damage. You might be able to make some headway as an independent but you need to have more than just hopes and dreams and the idea that since all the other stores are gone you can make money now. No one’s made money up to this point, why should the future be different?

From where I sit, this marks the end for Super Suppers.

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