The Meal-Delivery/Meal-Kit Business
The online meal-delivery, or meal-kit, business has exploded over the past few years, with companies popping up all over the internet. Meal kits can be found to fit just about any dietary need—from full meal planning that takes up to an hour of prep, such as blueapron.com, to fully prepped sliced-and-diced meal systems, such as TheChateauAtHome.com, to meal-shake or blender systems, such as daily-harvest.com, and many more. These meal-kit systems are ordered online and shipped to your doorstep via FedEx, UPS, or the U.S. Postal Service and will only grow in the coming years as millennials look for new technologies and meal systems to fit their lifestyles. What does this mean for grocery-store businesses? Well, perhaps they will fill their aisles with many varieties of meal-kit systems, making themselves the middlemen retailers that distribute such products to the end consumer, or perhaps grocery stores will be replaced by local farmers’ markets that cater to their micro-communities. Regardless of the many possibilities, two facts are certain: (1) many more meal kits will come, and (2) the grocery-store chain business will be disrupted, just as brick and mortar retailers were with the coming of Amazon.com and other online consumer-goods retailers.
One Size Fits All?
Currently, there is no one-stop-shop for the meal-delivery, or meal-kit, business. This market is very niche driven and will likely continue to be so for the foreseeable future. Perhaps a new term will better suit our understanding of where the meal-kit business is heading: micro food systems. These benefit the end consumer through the focus on executing specific niche-food categories with local sustainable farming and on ultimately eluding the one-size-fits-all business model of large food retailers. In fact, the number of meal-kit businesses is more than likely to increase into the thousands as local community eateries enter the space to serve their clientele both at brick-and-mortar locations and at consumers’ homes. What is the exact intent of The Chateau at Home? We wish to serve a limited customer base that frequents our restaurant and is looking for an extended experience in their own homes. Additionally, we want to serve customers who cannot frequent The Chateau due to geographic location. The Chateau At Home meal-kit system started off with a much larger, more national approach through PlatePrep.com—only to be refocused as a more local program. We extended our Chateau brand from the restaurants into the home, creating a more intimate meal system. Our clients get the benefits of fresh, local, sustainable foods. The Chateau gets to be first in our clients’ minds when it comes to healthy eating, whether at home or in our restaurant.