Archive for the ‘Super Suppers’ Category

How did January work out for you?

The first month of the year has come and gone, so how did things work out for you? Did the Dream Dinners blog bring in lots of new customers for you? Did Stephanie’s riveting blog give you inspirational ideas to pass along to your customers? Did Judie’s TV show make you feel better about buying into her franchise? I’m sure it did!

And how did the rest of the country fair? Sales are up, right? Well, no. More stores are now opening, right? Well, leeches are suckering in their friends and customers to buy into this dog and pony show.

According to some new figures it should come as no surprise that Dream Dinners and Super Suppers both had more store closings. Super Suppers is just inches away from dropping below 50 stores. Through miracle of miracle, Dream Dinners is somehow managing to stay afloat with 130 stores. Perhaps those Dream Dinners owners just can’t admit defeat. But in the long run 16 more companies failed and another 55 outlets shut down (more than likely the owners went bankrupt over it).

Personally, I think the numbers are much lower. I’d be surprised if Dream Dinners still had a 100 stores actually operating. They love to play fast and loose with their numbers and in the past they had no problem listing a store that had long since gone out of business as "temporarily closed". And considering they’ve actually removed the franchise link from their sites I would venture to say they aren’t selling any more locations. Probably haven’t sold a new franchise in quite awhile.

Super Suppers is on the outs. I think by the time the summer months roll around, Super Suppers will be nothing more than a bad memory.

And what about all those other franchises we used to hear about? Exactly.

As you might expect, 2010 is starting off with more of the same for meal assembly owners.

Meal Prep Blunders of 2009

We’re not entirely sure what they did accomplish, but here’s some example of what other companies managed to pull off last year.

Top things meal prep failed to do in 2009:

And just keep in mind, this is what the franchise should have done, not ideas that should have come from the stores. This is what the royalty payments should have bought.

Give away a scholarship

Make an iPhone app

Use any of their websites to generate a few million in extra cash

Be a major sponsor for a TV show or sporting event like The Bowl

Splash their name all over a racecar

Film a commercial at Times Square during New Years

Donate toys to any worthy cause

Anything related to our troops and their families? Perhaps a discount of some sort?

Any sort of charitable donation?

Open more stores than they closed

These are just a few examples of what other food related companies are doing. I included GoDaddy because I find their advertising methods very unique and interesting. Plus, they sell domain names. People need food more than domain names right? But yet somehow they always manage to come up with money to sponsor things like SuperBowls and other extremely visible events. Now if they would only sponsor Oprah or Dr. Phil, then they would make some real money.

So what are those royalty payments going to?

Some final thoughts for the year

As the year comes to a close, a few thoughts come to mind about the meal prep industry, and those "industry leaders", Dream Dinners and Super Suppers.

Dream Dinners has been using their blogs to promote Dr. Brent, but how does that benefit owners?

Personally, I had to ask just who this Dr. Brent was. The answer? He’s a farmer, who Vanity Fair thinks is sexy.

Mind you, I see nothing wrong with Dr. Brent or his ideology, in fact they sound pretty good, but I’m just wondering how constantly promoting him promotes the meal assembly industry and helps the struggling store owner in this down economy.

If Dream Dinners can promote Dr. Brent, who doesn’t seem to have any affiliation with meal assembly, how come there isn’t a section on asking their dietician for help and guidance? It would seem a little more "grass roots" to me if they turned to someone within their own ranks. It’s certainly possible I missed it (perhaps that chef touched tips site is a gem and has all the answers), but so far, I’m not seeing it.

Why is Dream Dinners using the same marketing materials they used 3 years ago? (I think the pictures are even the same) If it didn’t work back then, what makes them think it will work now? Do they figure everyone has just forgotten? Is this what they’re spending all that marketing money on; free blogs and rehashed brochure material? Not to mention the free Twitter and Facebook accounts (that again seem to promote Dr. Brent more than anything else). Hmm, what is Dream Dinners actually paying for?

Dream Dinners is acting as though Dinners for Life is a new idea and new company, not just a menu change from their original idea. Remember how owners thought it was just a "test"? Dream Dinners couldn’t con(vince) busy mom’s to latch onto their idea but now they expect to con(vince) diabetics (who probably have even less time and stamina to stand around and make meals) that what they’re offering is a good idea? I recall Dream Dinners promoting their "heart healthy" menu, how did that work out for them? Did it bring in droves of new customers through the doors?

Where is the Dream Dinners iPhone/iPod Touch app? Considering this is the device for the person on the go (and is selling like wildfire), how come none of the meal prep companies have made a way to order while on the go? Pizza Hut managed to figure out how to do it.

Companies like Dell have been able to bring in an estimated $3 million in sales using Twitter. What has Dream Dinners corporate accomplished with their account and its 380 followers?

As an aside, the SuperSuppers account on Twitter isn’t even owned by Super Suppers HQ, it’s used by a forward thinking store owner. Just another example of how technology challenged the meal prep industry is. We can’t all be hairdressers I suppose. Kind of also makes you think Super Suppers really isn’t in the game anymore, doesn’t it?

What do owners plan to do when Dream Dinners drops below 100 stores (thereby having only half the stores open they used to have, or a 50% failure rate)? Considering how things are going this should happen within the next 90 to 120 days. Escape plan anyone? Golden parachute? Bankruptcy attorney on speed dial?

What will owners do if Dream Dinners corporate loses the $30 million lawsuit? That court case has to be resolved some time.

With Super Supper barely clinging to 60 stores, do owners have a plan for the corporate office declaring bankruptcy? Since they really don’t seem to have a leader anyway, will there actually be much difference?

Besides the obvious store closings the meal assembly industry is in pretty sad shape. There are so many missed opportunities and oversights. Those in charge clearly don’t have the business savvy to turn this ship around let alone keep it on a steady course. A steady course in this case would be smashing into an iceberg. It’s questions like these that would make me cringe and keep me awake at night.

At Year’s End

If you’ve been following along for the past couple of years this is the time when I reveal my mystical insight about the meal assembly industry and foretell how the events of the New Year will unfold. But at this point in the game, what’s left for this wreck of an industry? To say more stores will close would be redundant and obvious (even though it’s going to happen, en masse). No points for that one I’m afraid. So what else is there really to say?

Super Suppers is nearly defunct, it exists in name only; there’s nothing holding this company up. Just look at the number of stores they’ve lost this year. What can you say about a 60%+ failure rate? Even the franchise creator has walked away to try something different.

The gals at Dream Dinners are relying on a new name and their brand new unique idea to bail them out of the troubles that have overshadowed them for the past year. Appealing to the busy working mom and family hasn’t worked out so now they’re going after the diabetic crowd, because clearly, they have a lot more time to come in and make meals.

Besides targeting this very niche market they’re also espousing the works of this mysterious Dr. Brent and rehashing all the same news articles from two to three years ago. It might make for good keyword indexing, but that’s about it. Endless stories of spending time around the dinner table and talking to your kids had their place. It got some interest back in the day, but you can’t keep playing the same song over and over again. It’s time for something new, or better yet, it’s time to come to terms with reality.

Even with this “new” image the leopard can’t change its spots and in the end Dinners for Life will get the same acceptance as the parent company. There might be a spike in customers, perhaps even a spike in owners who ignore the truth, but this new idea will burn out more quickly than the idea it’s based on. Dream Dinners is quickly crashing to 100 stores (down from 220, and certainly down from 180 when declarations were made that everything was fine).

Even the meal assembly experts have decided to keep quiet. Are you hearing any real news about this industry? Has anything of consequence really happened this year? Will anything of consequence happen next year? What was the last meal assembly article you read? And what was the last big ad campaign?

Meal assembly ended last year, but some people refuse to admit it. How some stores got this far is a mystery to me; there’s no money to be made in it. We certainly didn’t make 3,000 stores and a billion dollars in revenue did we?

Judie Byrd’s Kitchen – Ditching Super Suppers to be a Celebrity Chef

You may be asking yourself, “Why haven’t I heard anything about Super Suppers in the news lately?” or “Why are there so many Super Suppers stores closing?” “Does Judie still have anything to do with her former franchise?” Well, one answer could be that Judie has ditched the whole idea of the Super Suppers franchise so she can focus on becoming a celebrity chef.

To be honest I’m shocked they filmed more than a handful of these shows. After watching those first few horrible clips I figured the show was as doomed as her franchise. But I guess it goes to show you, people would rather watch a show about cooking (any show) than cook for themselves.

And FamilyNet is blasting her all over the airwaves. They are repeating her shows everyday at 5pm and 2am. It’s saturation bombing! If that wasn’t enough you get her at 12pm on Saturday. I assume that is actually the new episode which they then repeat endlessly for the next couple of weeks.

For the month of November she is digging deep and bringing out “More Supper Super Recipes”. Just because the franchise is rubbish doesn’t mean she can’t recycle all those old recipes for a new audience!

Just as surprising that this show is still on the air is the fact that the other meal prep outfits haven’t ripped it off, copied it and tried to make it their own. That’s clearly how they used to do it, right? It seems some of those other corporate leaders wouldn’t be able to stand the fact that someone is on television when they’re not.

Judie Byrd’s Kitchen

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